Does this mean British chess has always been confined to a social elite? [Malcolm] Pein suggests not. Talking about the match held by radio between Great Britain and the Soviet Union in 1946, he says: "Yes, the British team were all Oxbridge types – probably because everyone else was too busy earning a living. But if you look at photographs of the audience, they don't look particularly middle class."
My own experience as a member of the feared Market Harborough team of the 1980s bears this out. When we won a trophy, it would be engraved with the names of all its previous holders. Until the 1960s these were overwhelmingly works or company teams: after that they barely featured. Looking at those trophies was like discovering a lost culture.