Bruce Hayden

1907, Glasgow - 1997, Kingston-upon-Thames

Bruce Hayden was born in at 42 Oran Street, Glasgow, Scotland on 7 April 1907. His name was registered as Henry Bruce Cobb Ellenband. His father was listed as Maurice Henry Ellenband, Advertising Contractor, and his mother was Joan Cobb, Table Dresser.

A Maurice (or Morris) Henry Ellenband, was born 1873 in Salford, married Emily Burge in 1918, at Holborn, and died 1939 in London. Searches of the British Newspaper archive show Mr Ellenband at various political meetings around the country.   

Hayden's mother is believed to be Joanna Cobb Donald, born 13 March 1876 at Rescobie in what was then Forfarshire (later Angus). Her mother was Christina Donald, but the father was not listed. She appears in the censuses for 1881 (Joanna) and 1891 (Joan) at Macgregor Street, Brechin, in the home of John Cobb and his wife Sarah (m.s. Cuthbert). She is listed as Granddaughter, which suggests that a member of the family was her father.

A Mrs Joan Ellanband (spelling variation) appears in the Glasgow Electoral Rolls for 1913 and 1914, living at 1407 Argyle Street. There are no references to Maurice Ellenband.

Cheltenham Connection
Brian Denman, who represented Scotland in the 1972 Skopje Olympiad and who now lives in Sussex, discovered that the 1911 Census for England shows a Hendry Bruce Cobb Ellinband [note spelling variations], age 3, residing as a visitor at the home of Thomas Parker, a 58 year old bricklayer, at Harborne, Moorend Crescent, Moorend Street, Cheltenham. His mother is not listed at the same address and no record of her in the 1911 census has yet been found.

At some point he became 'Bruce Hayden', but the circumstances are unknown. Several examples of Bruce Hayden’s name/games being used in the Cheltenham Chronicle 1930 have been seen. The issue for Saturday, 4 July 1931, page 4, commented: “Mr Bruce Hayden, formerly of Cheltenham, now the secretary of the Hove CC.” 

Further research by Brian Denman suggests that Hayden’s mother married (no records found), or was in a common-law relationship with, a William Scott Wilson. It is believed that they arrived in Sussex around the mid 1920s. Home addresses for Bruce Hayden in the early 1930s (Sussex), 1945 (Surrey) and 1961 show that Joan Wilson was at the same address.

Sussex Research
The 1935 Kelly's Directory for Brighton shows a Mrs Joan Wilson operating tea rooms at Lower Road, Kingston, and Wm. S. Wilson operating a motor car dealership at Old Ship Yard, Bungalow Town. William Scott Wilson died 1935 at Southlands Hospital, 2 Upper Shoreham Road. His home address was shown as 80 Old Shoreham Road, Shoreham by Sea.

Joan Wilson (shown as age 80) died 16 September 1961 at 26 Wolverton Avenue, Kingston, Surrey. In a 1939 Register she gave her date of birth as 10 March 1880, which does not match any Scottish records. (She was not required to state her place of birth.)

Hayden: Journalism and Chess
Hayden – using that name – first appeared in Sussex chess records in 1927. He edited a chess column in the West Sussex Gazette from 1929-1932. He also wrote for the Sunday Times 1953-55.

Chess Review, March 1952, p71.

Hayden played in the 1954 Scottish Championship at Stirling. He contributed an article about the championship to the September 1954 British Chess Magazine (pages 288-289).

The Scottish Chess Association Year-Book 1953-54 gave Hayden's address as 14 Bridge Rd., East Molesey, Surrey.

Mr Hayden contributed regular articles to the American chess periodical Chess Review. The following reference is given in a footnote on page 308 of the October 1956 issue of that magazine:

"For the record, Hayden's full name is Hendry Bruce Cobb Ellenband-Hayden; but he foregoes using the hyphenated surname as being cumbersome. Ed."

Hayden was the author of Cabbage Heads and Chess Kings, Arco Publications, London, 1960.

Brian Denman also found that Hayden used the initials H. B. C. E. as late as 1977-78, when he was listed as a patron of the Sussex Chess Association.

Hayden died 25 October 1997 at Kingston Hospital, Surrey. His address at the time was 30 Bracken Gardens, Barnes, London SW13.

Information has been offered suggesting that Hayden may have been involved in secret work during the 1939-45 war and may have spent some time in the USA.

Several references to Hayden mistakenly show his first given name as Hendy.

It has still not been ascertained how the name Hayden was assumed or acquired.

Further information about Mr Hayden and Joanna/Joan Cobb would be welcomed.

ScotlandsPeople web site
Brian Denman, Archivist for the Sussex Chess Association.
Edward Winter

Alan McGowan
Historian, Chess Scotland

updated 29/4/2020