(1880 - 1948)

photo about 1936

Huxley St John-Brooks was the 1936 Durban champion. According to his gravestone, Frederick Huxley St John-Brooks was born in Dublin on 17th December 1880 and died in Cape Town on 26th August 1948. The Cape Town archives have an estate file in 1948 in the name of Frederick Charles Huxley BROOKS, but it appears that he was usually referred to as Huxley St John-Brooks.

Huxley travelled from London to Durban in 1933, together with his wife Evelyn Louise (nee Hewett). According to the Who's Who of 1947/48, his father was a Professor of Anatomy at Dublin University, whereas his wife's family were from Hong Kong and Shanghai. One branch of the St John-Brooks family settled in England in the 1920's, and there is also evidence of an American branch.

It was not his first visit to South Africa. As a young man he served as a Second Lieutenant in Natal Command from 1901 to 1902, and was in the Transvaal from 1902 to 1905. He was educated at Trinity College in Dublin and a Lecturer on Chemistry (metallurgical engineering) by profession.

Len Reitstein's book "A History of Chess in Southern Africa" devoted several pages to his chess career - refer to pages 78 to 81 as well as pages 135 to 136. There were two main reasons for this extensive coverage. Firstly, St John-Brooks founded the SA Correspondence Chess Association in 1934, an organisation that has continued to the present day, and is now affiliated to the ICCF (International Correspondence Chess Federation). Secondly, he founded the monthly "South African Chess Magazine" which ran from November 1934 until his death in August 1948. The magazine contained regular reports on correspondence chess, as well as local and international chess news. Today the magazine is a collectors item.


My thanks to Sarel Steel, who sent me some games from the pages of the "South African Chess Magazine" for 1937.

Home Page | Natal Champions | Durban Champions

Copyright © Keith Rust. All rights reserved.