James Arthur Beeching (1788-1858)

From Historical Hastings

James Beeching came from a Bexhill family noted for its smuggling exploits. In 1809 he married 20-year old Martha Thwaites at St Clements Church in Hastings.[1]

Her father was Thomas Thwaites (1765-1844), a Hastings businessman who was a shipowner. Following the marriage, James opened a ship​building​ yard in front of Hastings Castle with a partner, that went bust and was sold to Thomas.[1]

James emigrated in 1817 to Flushing in Holland, where he continued ship​building​, including a considerable number of vessels involved in the trade, something he was not unfamiliar with.


Children of: James Beeching and Martha Thwaites (1789-c1831)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Mary Anne Beeching (1825-1904)


Later he and Martha briefly returned to Hastings, having a daughter (Mary Ann) who was born in Hastings[2] during 1825, but then moved to Yarmouth, where James set up a respected boat​building​ yard. He introduced a type of fishing vessel which remained in use at that port until the development of steam.

During October 1850, the Duke of Northumberland offered a prize of 100 guineas for the best model. This competition was advertised in the national and local press, and resulted in 280 entries, including 11 from abroad. Many of the models were displayed at the 1851 Great Exhibition. The winning entry was James' design, which, after incorporating some of the features from other entries, became known as the 'Self Righting Pulling and Sailing Lifeboat', became the mainstay of the RNLI's fleet until the introduction of inboard motors in 1919. Hundreds of were built at T&W Forrestt shipyard in Limehouse Basin from 1852 to 1890.

References & Notes

  1. a b James Beeching: James Beeching, accessdate: 4 November 2019
  2. James Arthur Beeching (abt.1788-1858) | WikiTree FREE Family Tree, accessdate: 1 February 2020