Allan Fergusson Kidney

Club President from 1938-1947.

A F Kidney

By Brian Denman

He was born Allan Fergusson Kidney in 1866 at Manchester being of Scottish parentage. He learnt how to play chess at the age of 13 and as a young man he helped to establish the North Manchester CC. He held office therein until going abroad in 1894. For nearly 30 years he was away in India and Africa with little opportunity for chess.

In 1900 he became manager of the African Lakes Corporation Ltd and this organisation played a large part in opening up Africa for trade. From 1908 to 1913 he was a member of the Legislative Council of Nyasaland and was also president of the Nyasaland Chamber of Agriculture and Commerce in 1907-8, 1913-14, 1920-21, and 1922-23. He served in the East African campaign and held the African General Service medal. He was a keen Freemason and founded and consecrated two lodges in Africa. He was an elder of the Church of Scotland in Nyasaland for nearly 30 years.

In the 1920s following his retirement he joined the Hastings CC and in 1925 was elected as secretary. He occupied this post on his own for most of the time until 1938. However, he made at least two extended visits to Africa during this period and it appears that he may not have held the position continuously for those 13 years. He also benefited at times from the appointment of a joint secretary. At the 1934 AGM he stated that he felt sometimes that it was time for a younger man to be appointed, but he continued to be elected to the post.

He was appointed to the president’s position after the death of H E Dobell in 1938 and, when the war started, he had to guide the club through a difficult period. He was well supported by A A Rider and they made it clear that the club was going to keep going through the difficulties. Indeed it is documented that the club did not shut at all through the war years. Kidney also had a very positive approach to the efforts that the club was making in the community and the club encouraged the participation in the game of members of the Forces and evacuated children.

Early in 1945 he suffered a nasty fall in the snow and after lying in the cold for a while he managed to crawl back to his home. He was in hospital for a time with a fractured thigh. A subsequent mishap left him facing problems of lameness and he was unable to enter a car to visit the club. As a result of this handicap he decided to stand down from the president’s post in 1947 and he was appointed an Hon. Life President. He died on 25.4.1948 at the age of 82.

He had had other hobbies and interests besides chess and he was an expert shot with the rifle. He won many trophies for this at Wimbledon and Bisley and was twice included in the England Twenty. He took up bowls on his retirement and it was not long before he was playing county bowls.

Post by simon on Mar 22, 2005 at 5:20pm
A F Kidney won the East Sussex Queen tournament in 1931.


Est. 1882