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Forum Home > Blackcountry Factual History. > Edwin Price Beech. 1842 - 1913.

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

There's no doubt, that what makes researching interesting, is when you come across an old Photograph. It brings to life, that long gone relative, or revives memories of an old building long demolished. All across the region, there were dedicated photographers, who recorded the sights we will no longer be able to gaze on. Edwin Price Beech, born on 9th October, 1842 at 14 Chapel Street, Brierley Hill, is just one of many, who took out a camera, and snapped away. I don't know when he bought his Camera, for in the 1860s he was a Boiler Maker, and living with his grandfather, Henry Spiers, or Spires. Edwin married Sarah Drew, in 1889, although its clear that many of his children had been born long before this event , and from the records, was living in Cross Yard, Halesowen, in 1891, supporting his large family, ( they had 12 children all told ) from his photographic work. Now I can't find Edwin Price Beech, in either the 1871 or 1881 Census, which may be down to a mis-spelled surname, can anyone help?  A short time later, they moved to 191, High Street, Cradley Heath, were Edwin set up his business, calling it The Imperial Studios. One of his sons, also called Edwin, born in 1877, helped him in his endeavours, and after his father died in 1913, took over, and expanded the firm, branching out into Post Cards. Their work turns up everywhere. From views of the surrounding area, groups of workers, Soldiers posing before they went off to fight, musicians with their instruments, to grand presentations, the firm photographed them all for posterity. Theres not a lot been written about the life and times of father and son, so if you have any information, or indeed any of their pictures, do let me know.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

March 13, 2013 at 4:24 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Now it just goes to show, that not everything you may told, or read about someone, is actually correct. Edwin Price Beech, was indeed born on the date above, but his name does not appear in the BDMs for the period. He is there, in October 1842, listed as " Male, Beech ", evidently, there was some family dispute over his name. His parents, Peter Beech, and his wife, Sarah Price, who had married in September 1841, didn't seem that keen to hang on to lad either, for by 1851, he was living a short distance away in Chapel Street, with Henry and Hannah Spiers, who were listed as his grandparents. In truth, he was being looked after by Sarah Price's sister, Penelope Price. He was still living with Henry Spiers in 1861, but wasn't listed as a photographer. He must have started around 1870, although not in Brierley Hill or Cradley Heath, but in Darlaston, for thats where his first children were born. His wife Sarah, is listed  as a Picture Dealer in 1881, and again in 1891, this time in High Street, Cradley Heath. Edwin is also listed, but in Cross Yard Halesowen, as a Photographer, and its not hard to work out, that they had at least two business's going at this time. He has, living with him in Halesowen, his 8 year old son Harry ( Henry ), and a 14 year old called Edwin Beech. Although listed as his son, this is not so, for Edwin is the son of another Peter Beech, born in 1855, in Brierley Hill, and married to one Mary Ann Holt. This second Edwin Beech, was born in 1876, a good 3 years before they were married, and again, seems to have been farmed out to relatives. Nothing though seems to have put off Edwin P Beech, he continued to dash here and there, taking his pictures and selling his postcards, building up a tidy little business. This now included many groups, and in 1910 he photographed the famous Chainmakers strike. He couldn't miss it really, the march passed right outside his shop. Its impossible to tell which of the Edwins photographed what at this stage, and I assumed that when Edwin Price Beech died in 1913, the other Edwin would take over. He didn't, for around 1908, he upped sticks with his wife Alice, and went off to Barrow-in Furness. The business was of course sold, and Edwins widow died in 1921. A large proportion of his pictures bear the legend on the back, " Imperial Studio's, High Street, Cradley Heath, and I would be interested if anyone reading this has any of his work. I may already have quite a few in the Gallery, it would be nice to able to say which ones. Once again, I would be pleased to receive any further information about Edwin Price Beech.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

March 15, 2013 at 5:13 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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