Thomas and Joseph Beecham


Thomas Beecham (1820-1907) and Joseph Beecham (1848-1916) patent medicine vendors.

Thomas Beecham was born at Witney in Oxfordshire on the 3rd December 1820, the son of Joseph and Mary Beecham. By religion he was a congregationalist and well known as an eccentric public benefactor. In the mid 1840's he opened a chemists shop in Wigan and there invented a formula for pills which he patented in Liverpool on 8th May 1847. He married in 1846.

In 1859 he moved his business to the new township of St. Helens where he made the phrase worth a guinea a box his advertising motto. In 1866 his elder son Joseph joined the business and was responsible for its expansion with a factory and office in Westfield Street, St. Helens, being built in 1885. A factory was then opened in New York and this was followed by factories and agencies in several other countries.

In 1887, Thomas bought an estate Mursley Hall near Winslow, Buckinghamshire, where he farmed until 1893. He retired from active work in 1895 to allow his son Joseph to continue the expansion and development of the company.

Thomas moved to Southport where he died on the 6th April 1907 leaving a large personal fortune and an immense business.

Joseph Beecham was born in 1848 and played a major part in the growth of the business. He married Josephine (HU264) in 1873. He was the proprieter of the Alwych Theatre in London and Mayor of St. Helens between 1889-99 and again in 1910-12. He was Knighted in 1912 and died on 23rd October 1916.

Joseph's younger brother William Eardley Beecham was born in 1855 and was a doctor working in London.

The home of the Beecham family from 1885 was Ewanville (HU273) one of the fine villa mansions, built in the 1840's, situated in the 'orchards' area of Huyton. The estate encompassed today's Blacklow Brow, The Rooley and the edge of Tarbock Road.

(figures in brackets are reference numbers of photos in the main site)




Please send comments or information requests to <webmaster@history.knowsley.gov.uk>
All pages copyright © Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council 1998