Thomas Beecham (chemist)

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Thomas Beecham (3 December 1820 – 6 April 1907) was the founder of Beechams, a large pharmaceutical business.


Beecham's Clock Tower built in 1877 in St Helens, Merseyside today serving as the College Administrative centre.

Born in Curbridge in Oxfordshire, Beecham became a shepherd's boy at the age of 8 and it is in this role that he learnt about herbal medicine.[1]

For a while he worked as the village postman in Kidlington but in 1847 he moved to Wigan where he started selling Beecham's Pills which were a laxative.[1] By 1859 he was based in St Helens where he started advertising as well as selling his pills.[1] He created a network of agents throughout Lancashire and Yorkshire and by 1880 he had expanded his business so much that he was able to open his first factory.[1]

In 1893 he moved to Southport where he fully retired within three years.[1] He died in Southport in 1907 and is buried in St Helens.[1]


In 1847 he married Jane Evans and together they went on to have two sons and two daughters.[1] He subsequently married Sarah Pemberton in 1873 and Mary Sawell in 1879.[1]

His elder son was Sir Joseph Beecham, 1st Baronet, and his grandson was the noted conductor Sir Thomas Beecham. His younger son was William Eardley Beecham.[2] Another great grandchild was the poet Audrey Beecham.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Corley, T. A. B. "Beecham, Thomas (1820–1907)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/30669.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. ^ Maclean, Charles Donald (1912). "Beecham, Thomas" . Dictionary of National Biography (2nd supplement). London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  3. ^ Rachel Trickett, ‘Beecham, (Helen) Audrey (1915–1989)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2012 accessed 13 March 2017