Paul Frecker
Fine Photographs

Richard Beamish
1 June 1861

Volume 4, page 4, sitting number 4087.

Born at Cork in Ireland in 1798, Richard Beamish was the son of William Beamish of Cork.

During the 1840s, Richard was the director of the Hydropathic Establishment, Field House, Prestbury, Cheltenham. He also lectured on ‘Mental Philosophy and Phrenology’ (Cork Examiner, 11 October 1844), amongst other subjects.

On 27 September 1831 at Quainton in Buckinghamshire he married Theodosia Mary née Heiser.

The couple appear on the 1851 census living at Newnham in Gloucestershire with two sons, two daughters and four servants. Richard gave ‘Retired Civil Engineer’ as his profession. Ten years later they were living at 2 Suffolk Square in Cheltenham. Richard now described himself as ‘late Civil Engineer and Landed Proprietor.’

A Fellow of the Royal Society, he was the author of an 1862 biography of the civil engineer Sir Marc Isambard Brunel, the father of Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

Richard Beamish died at Bournemouth on 20 November 1873. He left an estate valued at £18,000.

‘It is with very sincere regret that we record to-day the death of Mr Richard Beamish, a gentleman who resided for many years in Cheltenham, and took a lively interest in promoting its best and highest interests; always ready to take part in every movement conducing to its welfare and calculated to elevate and refine its social and intellectual status.’ He was, according to his obituary, largely responsible for the town’s Juvenile Proprietary School, its Philharmonic Society and its Literary and Philosophical Institution. ‘Originally intended for the Army, he held for a short time a commission in the Guards – but the profession of arms proving uncongenial to his taste, he quitted it for the more intellectual avocation of a Civil Engineer, and in this capacity was engaged in more than one of the elder Brunell’s [sic] great undertakings, and, notably so, in the construction of the Thames Tunnel. […] He was a Fellow of the Royal Society, and held many other honorary distinctions to which, however, through life he very rarely alluded.

‘Though Mr Beamish ceased to be a resident of Cheltenham for several years, he never actually relinquished his connection with the place, always looking forward to the time when the state of his health might enable him to return, and re-occupy the house he continued to retain throughout in Suffolk Square’ (Cheltenham Looker-On, 29 November 1873).

code: cs1641
Richard Beamish, Beamish, Camille Silvy, Silvy