Beach Family History
The following information is a slightly edited version of information kindly provided to me by Anthony Falkner. I am most grateful to him for permission to include it on my website. Anthony is the son of Victor Montague Falkner (1897 – 1965) who obtained information from his own parents and by his own research.
The Beach Family moves to London and branches out to Chelmsford
William Beach (1784 – 1855) worked under Fisher of the Old Kent Road. The London Directory of 1797 shows Nicholas Fisher, Leather Seller, 44 Bermondsey Street and up to 1822 - then Tooley Street (5 Maze Road). Fisher then had his sons in the business and William left to found his own firm in 1832. A possible scenario is that William came to London in 1804 with Joseph (aged 20 and 2), he was a gardener at Shepherd’s Bush. In 1808 he married in Westminster. He is recorded as a linen draper from 1809-1829 and then moved to Bermondsey. William set up the leather business and when he became an invalid his sons William and John succeeded him. In the 1850s with John being about 35 and having considerable energy, profits were increasing. He put the profits into the business, acquired machinery and in the 1860s must have acquired the Willow Walk premises. In time William worked Writtle Mill and John worked Bermondsey (each with their sons, the latter with John Henry, William, Thomas and Joseph). The partnership (William and John) was dissolved in about 1876.
William George Beach (1866 – 1957) was able to supply information in many letters from Australia when he was himself getting quite old. Generally the information seemed accurate and certainly very interesting. He was first married to Elizabeth Falkner (1865 – 1891) and he worked for J. Beach and Sons from 1883-85. In about 1876-7 he lived at 39 Willow Walk. Elizabeth died, and he married Bessie (Elizabeth Edwards in 1900 and, in time, they emigrated to Australia, where they settled at Wellington Point about 30 miles from Brisbane. Elizabeth’s sister was Emily who married F. W. Morris (the solicitor family) and who died suddenly in 1912.
W. G. Beach remembered his father, William, telling him about going on a coach with his parents (John and Elizabeth) to what we now know was Evesham. He was inside and they were outside. He thought they had forgotten him but eventually his father handed him an orange through the communicating hole.
W. G. Beach remembers that when he was 6 - 8 yrs old (1872-4) the mother of William and John (W.G.’s grandmother – Elizabeth nee Ierson) used to cut off the outside crusts of a loaf and butter them. They were a reward for the boy first home from school.
When his father (William) married, he moved to Harvell Terrace where William George and Edith were born. Probably in early 1868 John Beach and his family moved from 39 Willow Walk to Neptune Villa, Grange Road and William moved to 39 Willow Walk, the warehouse and office after hours. He left there in 1878. In January 1879 Hephzibah married and lived at 39 Willow Walk. After they left there a watchman guarded the buildings at night until Walter (son of John Henry) married Ada Carr and lived at 39.
When all the family were married except Hepsie, John moved to Sandown Villa, Bexley Heath. In about 1880 he moved back to London, to 545 Old Kent Road, then to Essex Cottage, Ossory Road, where he died in 1884. His widow Elizabeth went to live with John William Falkner and Emma, her eldest daughter, and died there in June 1893.
William (William George’s father) was ill and moved to Southampton Street, Peckham in 1877 or 1878. He moved to Sevenoaks in 1881/2 and then to Bromley after about two years.
In about 1907 the J. Beach and Sons partnership was dissolved (after some legal case), and the firm liquidated. The stock was sold by tender and a new firm of John Beach and Sons bought the goodwill. This firm comprised Walter Thomas Beach and Walter Crisp and was possibly going to manufacture at Carshalton but was certainly operating at Hackbridge. Walter Beach lived at Beddington Corner, Mitcham and carried on the business of J. Beach and Sons, Hackbridge from there.
Bertie Beach in Chelmsford supplied information about the busineess at Writtle. William Beach (born 7 April 1812 in Bermondsey; died 9 December 1901 in Chelmsford) bought the land and mill. Nathaniel Benjamin Beach married Rhoda Allen of Birmingham. They had several children including William Allen Beach (who married Clare Harrington Metson) and Albert John Beach (who married Eva Metson) and they worked Writtle Mill on the Can (two water wheels). Another son was Isaiah Beach (1840 – 1880). His horse slipped and he died as a result. The business did very well in the Crimean War and William gave each of 3 sons (George (?), Isaiah and Nathaniel) £3000 to start in Norwich, Manchester and Birmingham. All failed. Nathaniel was at Birmingham and, after the other sons had died, returned to Chelmsford to help. Frank Beach (the son of Isaiah Beach) was discharged by Nathaniel on William’s death. He had no other skills except chamois leather dressing. Before WWI the leather business had faded out and the firm used the clay on the site to make bricks. These brickfields at Chelmsford were sold after WWII to Sankey’s for £30,000.