The elder son of Sir Joseph Beecham, he was born on 29th April 1879 at St. Helens. The home of the Beecham family from 1885 was Ewanville 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 part of Tarbock Road.
He started playing the piano at the age of six, but also excelled at sports at Rossall School in Lancashire. In 1900 he moved to London when he studied musical composition with Charles Wood. In 1903 he married Utica Celestia, the daughter of Charles Stuart Welles an American diplomat. They had two sons, but the marriage quickly fell apart and the two were divorced in 1943 after a lengthy separation.