George W. Cutler. (1845 - 1927)

25/08/2008 13:31




Photograph by T. Arthur Goard, son-in-law, fellow member of Exeter Chess Club and Vice-President of Exeter Camera Club.


George Cutler was born in Christchurch, Hampshire. He first learned the game about 1868 and for about 10 years was his main recreation. Then his career in banking took over and he didn't play for about 20 years. He retired as a Bankers' Accountant and moved to Exeter in 1896 and finding himself with more leisure time returned to the game, joining the Exeter Club and playing most days.

The 1901 census records that he was a widower and lived with his daughter Matilda and her husband, Thomas Arthur Goard, a 35 year old Exeter dentist living at 7, Elm Grove Road, with their 3 year old son Arthur.   Goard was also a member of Exeter Chess Club and a keen photographer (see above)

When the Devon County Association was founded in 1901, although Henry Bremridge was the hard-working figurehead, he had Cutler's full and active support. At the Association's 1905 A.G.M. Bremridge had determined to give up the posts of both Secretary and Treasurer. In the end, a compromise was reached when Cutler took over as Treasurer on condition that Bremridge remained as Secretary.

The BCM of January 1908 contained a very affectionate portrait of Henry Bremridge, written by Cutler, in which he stated that he was a regular visitor to Bremridge's  Winkleigh Vicarage. The Editor added the footnote,  "The kindly sentiments expressed here show how close is the bond of friendship is between the two leading officials of the Association".

Eventually, in 1909 Bremridge did resign as Secretary, and it wasn't long before Cutler held both key posts himself. He held these posts as late as 1924, when he was still living at his son-in-law's house in Elm Grove Road. According to the Exeter club minute books, Cutler attended their A.G.M.s but played no active role in club affairs, reserving his energies for the Devon Association. 

He was a strong correspondence player, having played 9 games for Devon by 1906, winning 7 and drawing 1. In Rhoda Bowles' postal tournaments in Womanhood, he played 25 games of which he won 17 and drew 5. He won 2nd prize in Section B of the 4th Tournament and was awarded the Brilliancy Bronze medal.

In 1927, Goard died aged 61 ("one of the club's oldest members") and Cutler, then 82, left Exeter and moved to 3, Kingsdown Road, Epsom. There is no mention of his death in the Exeter minutes nor any obituary in other contemporary chess literature. He seems to have died a forgotten man, but someone who devoted himself to the first quarter century of the D.C.C.A. must be remembered as a true Pioneer.

R. H. Jones


BCMs 1906 & 1908

Exeter club minute books.

1901 census online.