From Preston, Lancashire, England


 St John Parish Church, Preston




The earliest known member of the THOMAS ARTHUR BECK family line is his great-great-grandparents, WILLIAM and AGNES BECK, from the picturesque town of Cark (now Cark-in-Cartmel), in the South Lakes Peninsula of England. William was most likely born around 1750, but his date of death is unknown. Agnes died on 28 April 1793 in Cark-in-Cartmel, Lancashire, England.

Persons with the Beck surname were mentioned for the first time in the early 17th century in the Cark Parish Church registers. There were two men, Richard and Henry, presumably brothers, and their offspring.  The first recording was in 1607 with the christening of Thomas, son of Richard.  Richard had the one son and two daughters Anne and Agnes. Henry had seven children, Robert (died as a baby), James, Mabel, Henry, Thomas, Dorothy, Jenet. The family line could have run through either of these two men as the names Henry, Thomas, Agnes and James were repeated through the following generations. Thomas Arthur’s line would then have been in the area for 200 years up till his great-grandfather JAMES BECK, left for Preston in Lancashire.

cark cottages

Terraced cottages in Cark. The river ‘Eea’ flows in front of the terrace. Source: (The word eea is a viking word for eal)

The family most probably originated from Kirby-Kendal, Westmorland (now just Kendal), prior to their arrival in Cark. The Becks in this area went by all the favoured family names, Thomas, John, William, Henry, Agnes, Anne, Mary, Elizabeth, etc. According to records of the ‘Barony of Kendale’ the Beck family worked or grazed some land, but after enclosure it would have been difficult to make a living, with the result that some of the younger men left for greener pastures.


Kendal with a view of the castle ruins on the hill. Photo by Matthew Emmott

During the Tudor period in England, between 1485 and 1603, ordinary people suffered through famine, poverty, and religious changes. Life was hard, dangerous and the future uncertain. Small, local riots were common, and usually involved a shortage of food or the hated enclosure policies. Enclosure was the process by which noblemen, with the power of the king, seized public land for themselves. Hedges were built around the land to keep out the people that previously had the tenure. But peasants needed the land to graze their animals and would often tear the hedges down, resulting in a tense atmosphere between the landowners and the local population.

Excerpts from: ‘Records relating to the Barony of Kendale: volume 1’: Author – William Farrer & John F. Curwen (editor):

‘1548 By letters patent of 2 December, 2nd year (1548) Edward VI. granted to William Warde, gent., and Richard Venables, esq., among other property, certain messuages and 4 gardens in the town of Kirkby Kendal with the appurtenances, late in the tenure of Thomas Birkett, George Braken, Elizabeth Brathwaite, Henry Gerse, Robert Becke, Stephen Sadler, Nicholas Cayrus, John Andrewe, Robert Browne and Miles Chambre, which late belonged to the chantries there; Reg. of D. at Levens.’ ‘1560 By letters patent dated 3 February, 2nd year, (1560) queen Elizabeth granted to Richard Baker, esq., and Richard Sackevile, knt., inter alia all those messuages, burgages, lands and tenements in the town of Kirkeby Kendall otherwise in Kirkland in Kendall, late in the occupation of Mary Bellingham, Henry Wilson, the heir of Robert Philipson, Walter Strickland, Anthony Duckett, Walter Chamber, Richard Edmondson, Gilbert Wilson, Miles Garnet, William Shepperd, Alan Bellingham, Mary Warriner, Anne Warriner, Robert Becke, James Williamson, the Lord Parr, the relict of Edward Dockerey, Adam Badwenson, Richard Readman, the heirs of Thomas Preston, Brian Edmondson, John Wilson, William Dixon, John Martindale, Arthur Bethome and Stephen Wilson, which were formerly parcel of the possessions of the late monastery of St. Mary by the walls of the city of York, now dissolved, to hold the same of the manor of Est Greenwich in co. Kent, by fealty only in free socage.’


Early in the 17th century, the same time as the Becks appeared in Cark,  two brothers, John and Adam Beck, left Kirby-Kendal for Ireland. They went as soldiers as part of the ‘Plantation of Ulster’ that began in 1606 century when English and Scottish Protestants settled on land confiscated from the Irish. King James I believed that by colonising Ulster he would quell the Irish rebellion, civilize  the ‘rude and barbarous Irish’ and convert them to Protestantism. The defeat at Kinsale marked the final defeat of the Irish chieftains and in 1603 capitulated. The two Beck brothers arrived after the humiliated Irish chieftains left Ireland in September 1607. As the brothers came from Kirby-Kendal, and gave their Irish-born children the same family names as the Beck family in Cark-in-Cartmel, it is more than likely that they were brothers or cousins of our Beck ancestor.

A transcript from a document contained the 1821 Irish Census Return:

These traditions took various forms but in general they were to the effect that two or three brothers, one of whom was killed or died shortly after arrival in Ulster, came as soldiers with English troops top Ireland towards the end of the sixteenth or early seventeenth centuries, and eventually settled in County Down, later some of their descendants settled in County Antrim and County Armagh.’

An excerpt from a document contained in the Beck family Archive in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland that consists of Genealogical Notes, Abstracts and Pedigrees of Beck families from County Down and County Armagh:

There is a Beck family Archive in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland that consists of Genealogical Notes, Abstracts and Pedigrees of Beck families from County Down and County Armagh. At a later point in his writings the author of the Beck Family History states: That the Beck family of Greyabbey are direct descendants of Adam Beck, the second of two brothers who settled in Ulster, some of the Becks of Greyabbey were engaged in the Linen trade and moved to Lisburn, County Antrim, and established a large Linen firm in that town.’

map migration

The migration routes from Kendal to Cark and the County of Ulster (Northern Ireland)

The Viking connection:  

The families from northern England originate from an assortment of blood lines. The Romans were first to come to the Lake District and the adjoining Westmorland between 100 and 400 AD. They were followed by Anglo-Saxons and later the Norse (Norwegian) Viking invaders. The Vikings first came in the 8th century as raiders, but by the 9th century, they began to settle in the area.

  •  The origin of the Beck surname: beck = a stream, a brook = from the old Norse word “bekkr”. Source: ‘Vikings and Surnames’ by K.H. Rogers (1991)

 The Cumbrian dialect is a local English dialect spoken in Cumbria, previously the historic Cumberland and Westmorland. A strong influence on the dialect was Old Norse, spoken by Norwegian settlers (Vikings) and the  majority of Cumbrian place names are of Norse origin.

Westmorland dialect: Weshen/n. Sheep were formerly washed before shearing, “the’ used ta demm t’ beck up ta mek a girt dub ta wesh t’ sheep in.

English: At one time they made a dam in the river to form a large pool in which they washed the sheep

 viking longship

Viking longships under sail.  A watercolour by Albert Sebille (1874-1953)

Some of the South African descendants of  THOMAS ARTHUR BECK suffer from a genetic blood disease called ‘hemochromatosis’, or are carriers of the disease.  People with hemochromatosis absorb too much iron from their food, and too much iron damages the brain, heart, liver, and other organs.  There is no cure but the disease can be controlled by having blood drawn periodically.

An excerpt from ‘Lack of Awareness of Hemochromatosis in the Healthcare Community and the Detrimental Effect of Late Diagnosis’ –  by Anne Meyer, Washington State University:

‘Medical historians believe that HH can be traced to Vikings who lived in early medieval Scandinavia, where it evolved as a method to minimize iron deficiency in a poorly nourished   population with harsh living conditions.’

According to Professor Stephen Harding is one of the leading figures in genetic studies into Viking ancestry in the UK:

‘Besides genetics, place names and archaeology, people’s surnames also provide a clue to Viking presence, Professor Harding added, “Although traditional surnames did not come into common use until about 400 years after the Vikings, modern-day surnames also provide a surface indicator of Viking presence. People with names incorporating Viking elements such as ‘beck‘, ‘thwaite’, ‘howe’, ‘hough’,’thorpe, ‘carr’, ‘gill’ or ‘holm’ in them e.g. Becksthwaite could possibly be the descendants of Vikings.’

 vikings england

A map showing the principal routes of the Norwegian Viking invasion of northern England. The red arrow marks where they landed in the Lake District (from Ireland), spreading further to Westmorland and other areas.

A collaborative DNA study was done by The University of Nottingham, the University of Leicester and University College London to determine if the blood of the Vikings is still coursing through the veins of people originating from northwest England.  It was revealed that the population in parts of northwest England carries up to 50 per cent male Norse origins.The surname Beck was one of the finalists of volunteers used in the tests. Source: University of Nottingham.

Westmorland (/ˈwɛstmərlənd/; formerly also spelt Westmoreland; even older spellings are Westmerland and Westmereland) is an area of North West England. Source: Wikipedia. ‘It is not until the tenth century that we again find physical evidence for people in the landscape. Norse people (Vikings) who had originally settled in Ireland came to the Lake District to escape political turmoil.’ Source: Lake District GovernmentExtensively settled by Vikings, the peninsular abounds in ancient settlements and villages’ (the Lake District Peninsula).

 beck dna

 The following chart is a time-ordered phylogram of DNA participants with at least 25 markers who are estimated to be in haplogroup I1a and with DYS19=16. This chart was compiled by L. David Roper with modifications made by Phillip G. Goff.

‘The chart is produced by computer software that attempts to find the simplest connections between DNA signatures. It is akin to a family tree. As expected, the England/Scotland surnames are generally clustered together in recent times, reflecting a separation from Scandinavia dating to perhaps ca. 1000 AD. However, there are several England/Scotland clusters, hinting that multiple founders migrated from Scandinavia to England/Scotland. As more participants have 25 or markers tested, the precision of the tree can be improved. The below families, compiled from various public databases containing nearly 100,000 records, belong to haplogroup I1a through their paternal lineage, as proven by a P40+ result on a SNP test. The rarity of this haplotype and its tight geographic concentration lead to the theory that these families share a common ancestor who was born with the DYS19=16 mutation. ‘ Source: Phillip G. Goff.

It is thought that that the Vikings brought Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling to England: ‘Cumberland and Westmorland is a British style of wrestling which has derived its name from two English counties located just south of the Scottish border. The style is by no means limited to these counties and probably did not originate there. It appears that Cumberland and Westmorland style is directly related to the ‘Hryggspena’ style of the Viking conquerors. Source: History of Wrestling by Milt Sherman.’





19th Century Preston: 

A transcript from: A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 7- Author William Farrer & J. Brownbill (editors) Year published 1912

‘Approached from the south, Preston, in spite of its factory chimneys, has a pleasing appearance, as across the broad stream of the Ribble, which forms the foreground, two well-planted public parks occupy the ascending bank at the other side… The whole township, which has an area of 2,127 acres, is covered with a network of streets of dwelling houses and shops, among which rise the numerous great cotton-spinning factories and other works which produce the town’s wealth. There was a population of 101,297 in 1901. Fairs are held annually in the first week of each year for horses, on 27 March, 25 August and 7 November for cattle and earthenware, and on the last Friday of March, June and November for cheese. Though the town has a pleasant aspect and a long history, its buildings are all modern. The ancient crosses and wells have gone. In addition to public buildings there are banks, clubs and theatres. The earliest theatre of which there is any record was near Fishergate, and described as ‘old’ in 1762. The present Theatre Royal in Fishergate was built in 1802 and the Gaiety or Prince’s Theatre in Tithebarn Street in 1882. The old sports of cockfighting, bull-baiting, &c., have been suppressed. The old-time punishments of cuckstool, pillory and stocks have likewise ceased. For more than a century the cotton manufacture has been the staple industry of Preston. There are, however, a number of minor ones: breweries, iron and brass foundries and engineering works, soap manufactories, and others, including one of the few in England of gold and silver laces and embroideries.’ More from Tim LambertBritish History Online: ‘During the 19th century there were some improvements in the amenities in Preston. From 1800 Preston had night watchmen that patrolled the streets at night. The first modern police force in the town was formed in 1836. Meanwhile in 1809 a dispensary where the poor could obtain free medicines opened. The Royal Infirmary opened in 1870. After 1816 the streets of Preston were lit by gas and a corn market, where grain could be bought and sold was built in 1824. From 1832 there was a piped water supply. At first it was provided by a private company but in 1853 the corporation bought the waterworks. Then in 1838 the railway reached Preston. Life in 19th century Preston gradually improved. The first museum in Preston opened in 1841. Then in 1855 a cemetery was opened. Also in 1855 St Johns Church was built. A new Town Hall was built in Preston in 1867. Also in 1867 a cattle market was built in the town. In the late 19th century Preston council opened public parks. Miller Park was laid out in 1864. Moor Park opened in 1867. Farington Park was opened in 1885. From 1879 horse drawn trams ran in Preston. Also in 1879 a free library opened in the town hall. The first telephone exchange in Preston opened in 1881. In 1893 the Harris Museum and Art Gallery opened. A training school for deaf and dumb children opened in 1894 and Victoria Jubilee Technical School opened in 1897. During the 19th century industry in Preston was dominated by cotton. By 1835 there were 40 cotton mills. There was industrial unrest in the early 19th century with demonstrations in 1808 and 1818 and a strike in 1836. In 1853-54 the employers locked out the employees. The docks in Preston also flourished during the 19th century. Albert Edward Dock was built in 1892. As well as export and imports to other countries there was a considerable coastal trade in the 19th century. Grain was ‘imported’ from other parts of the country and coal from the Wigan coalfield was ‘exported’ to other parts of Britain.’

Pick & Flower Book Image

Market Square and obelisk in Preston – 19th century.

James, William, and John Beck (and their children) are the first Becks found in church records in Preston. There were also a Robert and a Richard Beck but both came from Chorley and our James from Cark. In the 1841 census a William Beck, aged 75 (birth about 1766) was recorded in Preston.  He is most probably our James’ father and the same William that married Ann Lofthouse on 30 Sep 1815 in Preston – they had one child, Elizabeth born 1817.  William’s first wife Agnes died in 1793. At the time of Elizabeth’s birth her father would have been 51 if he was the same man recorded in the census. Both our James and the William in the census were weavers.

JAMES BECK, son of WILLIAM and AGNES, was born in Cark-in-Cartmel on 17 July 1789. He later moved to Preston in Lancashire where he married ALICE THOMPSON on 19 November 1810 in the Parish Church of St John. Alice was the daughter of Henry Thompson and Ellen Haliworth and was born on 4 October 1794 in Preston. The couple had six children; William, Jane, John (died as a baby,) a second John, Thomas and Agnes. At the time of the 1841 Census the family lived in Salmon Street, Fishwick, Preston.

salmon st

Salmon Street, Fishwick, Preston – the family’s address in 1841.

For generations most of the family lived in Preston, attending the St. John or St. Luke churches and worked in the cotton industry – for which Preston is famous. In the christening records of his children James’  occupation is given as ‘weaver’.


The Minster Church of Saint John the Evangelist (formerly St John’s Parish Church), Church Street, in the centre of Preston  James died in 1855 and Alice in 1847.

After Alice’s death James lived for a few years with the Allen family, the in-laws of his son Thomas, together with Thomas, his wife Eleanor and daughter Margaret Ann.

deaths james alice

Source: UKBMD Births, Marriages and Deaths Indexes Online




JAMES and ALICE had the following children: (William, Jane, John, a second John, Thomas and Agnes)

1.   WILLIAM Beck was baptised on 31 May 1812 in the St John Parish Church, Preston.

2.  Jane Beck was born on 10 December 1813 in Preston and was baptised on 6 February 1814 by W. Towne in the St John Parish Church, Preston. She was married to John Carroll on 9 February 1833 in the St John Parish Church by the curate Thomas Clark.  The witnesses were her brother William and his future bride Isabella Hodgson. Jane and John had five children; Margaret, Lucy, James, Alice and Emma.

3.   John Beck was baptised on 10 May 1818 by Edward Law in the St John Parish Church, Preston. He died as a baby.

4.   John Beck was baptised on 24 August 1821 by the curate M. Mark in the St John Parish Church, Preston. He married Mary Sandham in 1842 in St John, Preston.

5.   Thomas Beck was baptised on 29 October 1819 by the curate M. Mark in the St John Parish Church, Preston.

6.   Agnes Beck was baptised on 18 May 1828 by the curate P. Fraser in the St John Parish Church, Preston.

WILLIAM Beck, son of JAMES and ALICE was baptised on 31 May 1812 in St John Parish Church and died in 1881 at the age of 68.  He married ISABELLA HODGSON (also known as Bella), daughter of William and Alice on 1 September 1833 in St Mary, Penwortham, Lancashire.  The minister was Robert Atherton Rawstorne and witnesses; Joseph Hodson and Ann Potter . Isabella was baptised on 16 July 1813 in the St John Parish Church, Preston by J. Harrison.  Her father was a labourer. At the time of the 1851 Census the family lived in 7 Peel Street East, Preston and William’s occupation is given as ‘overlooker in cotton spinning’. His wife’s as ‘cotton weaver’. They had eight children; Alice, Mary, Anne, Agnes, Alice, James, Thomas and John.

 7 peel st

7 Peel Street East, Preston -– the family’s address in 1851.

At the time of the 1861 Census their address was 5 Ashton Terrace (Street), in the composite township of Lea, Ashton, Ingol and Cottam, west of Preston. The family seemed to be more prosperous as his occupation is given as ‘manager in cotton mill’.


Ashton Street after the demolitions in 1984. Source: Preston Digital Archive

At the time of the 1871 Census William, Anne and one daughter lived in 79 Victoria Road, Preston. His occupation is given as ‘cotton mill manager’. Isabella died in 1874 and William seven years later in 1881 at the age of 69.

79 victoria

79 Victoria Road, Walton-le-Dale, Preston– the family’s address in 1871.                    




WILLIAM and ISABELLA had the following children: (Alice, Mary, Ann, Agnes, Alice, James, Thomas and John)

1.   Alice Beck was baptised on 16 May 1834 by J. Rigg in the St John Parish Church.  She was the twin sister of Mary and supposedly died as a baby as another sister called Alice was born in 1839.

2.   Mary Beck was baptised on 16 May 1834 by J. Rigg in the St John Parish Church. The family’s address is given as Newton Street and the father’s occupation ‘spinner’.

3.   Ann Beck was baptised on 19 Julie 1835 by the curate Thomas Clark in the St John Parish Church. The family’s address is given as Newton Street and the father’s occupation ‘spinner’.

4.   Agnes Beck was baptised on 24 December 1837 by Curate Charles Wagstaff in the St John Parish Church, Preston. She married William Coulthard in 1860 in the Preston Register Office. They had one known son, William, born on 2 December 1860 in Preston. His mother’s brother Thomas remembered him in his will and left him twenty five pounds. Thomas left Agnes twelve shillings and six per week for the rest of her life.

5.   Alice Beck was baptised on 14 September 1839 by James Parker in the St John Parish Church. The family’s address is given as Salmon Street. She married the 22-year old Laurence Watson Tomlinson, a small-ware dealer from Oxford Street, on 31 Jan 1865 St John Parish Church. They had two sons William and John who inherited twenty five pounds each from their uncle Thomas.

6.   James Beck was baptised by C. Rickson on 12 June 1842 in the St John Parish Church. The family’s address is given as Sleddon Street and the father’s occupation ‘overlooker’.  He married Jane Ann Harrison in 1877 and they had a son Thomas, born abt. 1879, who married Maud Pierce Gordon on Christmas Day 1899.

7.   THOMAS Beck was baptised on 2 June 1844 by the curate E. Walker in the St John Parish Church, Preston. The family’s address is given as Sleddon Street and the father’s occupation ‘overlooker’.

8.   John Beck was baptised by W P Jones on 26 July 1846 in the St John Parish Church, Preston. The family’s address is given as Sleddon Street and the father’s occupation ‘overlooker’.

THOMAS Beck, son of WILLIAM and ISABELLA was baptised by the curate E. Walker on 2 June 1844 in the St John Parish Church, Preston. He married ANNE ARNETT (also known as Annie) on 12 October 1869 in the same church. Annie was the daughter of Robert Arnett and his wife Eliza May. She was born in Preston and baptised in the St John Parish Church on 20 April 1851.  Her father was a ‘warehouseman’ and her family lived at West View, Ribbleton Lane, Preston. At the time of Thomas’ christening his family was living in Sleddon Street, Preston and his father’s occupation an ‘overlooker’. Unfortunately many old buildings and even whole streets and blocks were demolished in the name of development. Sleddon Street was one of these and was demolished in the 1940’s, but can be seen on the following old map of Preston.


Sleddon Street marked with a red star on an old map of Preston.

sleddon now

A map of present-day Preston. The red star marks where Sleddon Street turned right out of North Road (A6) between Southgate and Frank Street.

Thomas and Anne had eight children of which the three youngest are presumed to have died as babies. James, born the year before the 1881 census  wasn’t mentioned in the census return or in any of the following census returns. A new-born baby called Henry was counted during the 1881 census, but there is no trace of his christening or burial or any other record pointing to him, except the one note of his name in the 1881 Census return. It can be assumed that he must be the baby named ‘Harry’ who according to the register of the All Saints church, Preston, was born on 7 March 1881, baptised on 7 March 1881 and died during the same year. Their youngest little girl, Emily Louisa, was born on 1 January 1882 and baptised on 2 January 1882 but also died as a baby. They had five surviving children; Isabella Arnett (also known as Jabel or Bella), Thomas Arthur, Annie, Charles and Eliza (also known as Lillie).

el and harry death

At the time of eldest child, Isabella’s christening, and the 1871 census, they were living at 2 Regent Street, Preston. Thomas’ occupation was noted as ‘hosier’ with the business situated at 178 Friargate, Preston.  The site is now occupied by Simon Dun chocolatier and coffee lounge. This was the start of Thomas’ wholesale draper business.

2 regent st

2 Regent Street, Preston – the family’s address in 1871.

178 friargate

178 Friargate, Preston – the hosier business’ address in 1871.

The 1881 Census return found Thomas in the drapery business and living at 33 Ribblesdale Place, Preston, with his wife and six young children. His occupation is given as ‘wholesale draper employing 6 assistants’, with his 18 year old son, Thomas Arthur, working for him as a ‘drapers assistant’.

33 ribblesdale

Carol Anne du Plessis, daughter of Frank Sidney Beck and great-granddaughter of Thomas in front of the house where Thomas and his family lived for many years – 33 Ribblesdale Place, Preston .

34 ribblesdale

In front of  the neighbouring house, 34 Ribblesdale Place. According to records Thomas’ wife Annie lived here at the time of her death in 1906. annie death            Thomas died in 1894 in Preston and according to his will he owned a wholesale drapery business in 199 Lancaster Road, which he left to his son Thomas Arthur. Anne (Annie died in 1906 at home, 34 Ribblesdale Place. At the time of the 1091 census she was still living at 33  Ribblesdale Place with two of her daughters Annie (aged 26) and Eliza (aged 22). All three “living on own means”.

old post office2

Preston’s first Post office at the end of The Shambles, (Lancaster Road) Preston. Thomas’ wholesale draper business was situated at 199 Lancaster Road.

An extract from the Preston Gudian of 11 March 1893:

old post office





THOMAS and ANNE had the following children: (Isabella Arnett, Thomas Arthur, Annie, Charles, Eliza, James, Harry and Emily Louisa)

1.   Isabella Arnett  Beck (also known as Jabel or Bell) was baptised on 18 October 1870 by Edward Henville in the All Saints Church, Preston. She married William Hammond Robinson in 1896 in the St James Church, Preston. William was a schoolmaster and they had a daughter named Beatrice Sibyl born in 1898. At the time of the 1901 census they lived at ‘The Pines’ Cheltenham, Gloucestershire with a servant called Edith Ayers.

isabel robinson

2.   THOMAS ARTHUR Beck was born on 6 July 1872. He died on 10 June 1933.  

3.   Annie Beck was born on 29 May 1874 and baptised on 5 July 1874 by George Beardsell in the All Saints Church, Preston. She died on 23 May 1937. She married Joseph Devey in 1902 in the Holy Trinity Church, Preston. They had five children; Joseph Herbert, born 1904, Eric George, born 1907, Joyce Phoebe, born 1914 and Richard Kenneth, born 1916. At the time of the 1901 census she was still living with her mother and sister Eliza at 33 Ribblesdale Place, Preston.

annie 1901             4.   Charles Beck was born in 1876 and baptised on 2 February 1877 by H. Burnside in the All Saints Church, Preston. He was a witness at his brother Thomas’ marriage in 1895, but no further records mentioning him could be found.

5.   Eliza Beck (also known as Lillie) was baptised on 1 May 1879 by the curate Thomas James in the All Saints Church, Preston. She married William Bailey, a solicitor’s clerk.They had a son, William Cedric, who was baptised on 8 Aug 1907 in the St John Church, Preston. According to the baptism register they were living in Ribblesdale Place.

wiliam bailey            6.   James Beck was born on 13 May 1880 and baptised on 14 May 1880 by the curate Thomas James in the All Saints Church. He died as a baby. j beck death      7.   Harry (also known as Henry) was born on 7 March 1881 and baptised on 7 March 1881 by the curate Thomas James in the All Saints Church, Preston. He died as a baby.harry death         8.  Emily Louisa Beck was born on 1 January 1882 and baptised on 2 January 1882 by the curate Thomas James in the All Saints Church, Preston. She died as a baby in 1882. emily

THOMAS ARTHUR Beck (known as Arthur as his father was called Thomas), son of  THOMAS and ANNE was born on 6 July 1872 and baptised on 20 August 1872 in the St John Parish Church, Preston. He married ANNIE WARD RAINFORD on 6 August 1895 in the Parish Church, Kirkham, Lancashire.He died 10 June 1933 on Plot 3, 2nd Ave, Estoire, a smallholding adjacent to Bloemfontein, Free State, South Africa, and is buried in the Memorial Cemetery, Bloemfontein.



The Parish Church of St Michael in Church Street, Kirkhaman ancient town about 10km south-west from Preston.

ta marraige 1

ta marraige 2 

A scan of Thomas Arthur and Annie Ward Rainford’s original marriage certificate. Thomas Arthur’s occupation is noted as ‘Draper’and Annie’s as ‘Dressmaker’

Annie Ward Rainford, daughter of Richard Rainford and Jane Webster, spent her childhood in Lytham, Lancashire.  Her father was a plumber and her uncles Robert and Alfred (according to census returns) were ‘professors in music’. She had seven sisters and three brothers: Annie was baptised on 2 August 1874 in the St John the Devine Church, Lytham and died on 10 December 1916 on the Farm ‘Umzi’, Bloemfontein  and is buried in the Memorial Cemetery, Bloemfontein. Annie Ward Rainford had 3 brothers and 7 sisters;  Ellen, Alice, Isabel, Mary Adelaide, John, Ruby Maude, Kate, Joseph, Richard Webster and Amy Constance. At the time of the 1881 census the six-year old Annie and her family lived at 20 Market Square, Lytham.

lytham map

20 Market Square Lytham St Anne’s. The family later moved to 24 Clifton Street, Lytham.

Clifton Street lytham

Clifton Square at the junction of Church Road, Park Street, Clifton Street and Dicconson Terrace at the  east side of Market Square, Lytham. The buildings have been re-built and changed their functions a number of times over the last two hundred years. The Square was pedestrianised in 1997. 

Poor Annie, how she must have missed her family. The picture painted from baptism registers shows a close family with her parents travelling to South Africa for her children’s baptisms.  She visited them in 1905 and while there one of her sons, Kenneth Percy was born and baptised in Lytham. She gave birth to twelve children over a timespan of twenty years and died three weeks after the birth of her youngest, at the age of forty-two.

Thomas Arthur inherited his father’s wholesale drapery business in February 1895 which he sold before immigrating to South Africa:

‘I give and bequeath to my son Thomas Arthur Beck the business of a Wholesale Draper now carried on by me at 199 Lancaster Road, Preston aforesaid and all the Goodwill and Stock in trade fixtures and effects which at the time of my death…’

ta will         At the time of the 1901 census Thomas Arthur, Annie and three children, William, Rosalind and Herbert, were living at 21 Addison Road, Preston. Most of the old houses in Addison Road were demolished between 1950 and 1970.

ta 1901 Transcript of the of the 1901 census


Looking east from Garstang Road. This stretch of the road between Brook Street and Garstang Road was known as Addison Road before being re-named Blackpool Road.

Thomas Arthur and Annie left England from Liverpool on 19 July 1902 on the ship  ‘Suevic’ for a new life in South Africa.  With them were two children Rosalind and William.

landingstage liverpool

A ship at the landing stage in Liverpool.


The White Star Line ship ‘Suevic’

Passenger Transcript:

Name: Arthur BECK 

Date of departure:19 July 1902   

Port of departure:Liverpool  

Passenger destination port:Cape, South Africa  

Passenger destination:Cape, South Africa  

Date of Birth:1872 (calculated from age) 

Age:30  Marital status:Married

Sex:Male  Occupation:Draper 

The following people with the same last name traveled on this voyage: –  Annie BECK Rosaline BECK William BECK


Master’s name:J B Ranson

Where bound:Sydney, Australia

Square feet:9360

Registered tonnage:8108

Passengers on voyage:453


A transcript from: Was It All Cricket? by Sir Pelham F. Warner, describing life aboard the ‘Suevic’:

‘This White Star liner was a one-class ship, the only difference in the fare being the location of one’s cabin; on deck, from stem to stern, everyone fared the same; it was a sort of glorified ‘second cabin’ class. Meals were frugal and there was no morning or afternoon tea, but most of the women knew of this in advance and had stocks of cake and biscuits. It was in this way that twice a day we split up into merry groups.’

After arriving in the Cape the family settled in Bloemfontein. Their first home address was 8 Gordon Street. The original house was demolished many years ago and the site is now part of the  inner city of Bloemfontein.

 to gordon st

A view of Gordon Street (top part of West Burger Street), over Bloemspruit towards the Anglican Cathedral of St Andrew & St Michael in St. Georges Street

According to documents in the Free State archives Thomas Arthur acquired a number of farms and a dairy during his lifetime in Bloemfontein:

  • The farm ‘Umzi’ – part of the present suburb Noordhoek in Bloemfontein.
  • The farm ‘Ribblesdale’ named after his childhood home Ribblesdale Place in Preston. He bought the farm in 1915 – 400 morgen for 2,200 pounds from JW Roderick.
  • The farm ‘Avenham no. 2187’, 669 morgen, reg. 10/06/1922, which he named after the Avenham Park in Preston, one block from his childhood home. When he died the farm was sold to Mr Hugh Framer.
  • The farm ‘Lombardsdrift’, near Soutpan 50km west from Bloemfontein.
  • The farm ‘Rusthoff no 20’, 444 morgen, reg. 27/04/1920. When he died the farm was sold to Mr MA Prinsloo jnr.
  • Three dairies: The first two in Ambulance Road and Fountain Street, and later Beck’s Dairy situated at 60 Lombard Street.


 A transcript from an article in the ‘Friend’ newspaper – published two weeks before his death:

tabeck friend (2)

The original article in the ‘Friend’ newspaper, with photos of Thomas Arthur Beck, his son Kenneth and the town depot of Beck’s Dairy, at 60 Lombard Street Bloemfontein.


The old Beck’s Dairy building in 2013.

This dairy was one of the oldest in the Free State, distributing milk from 1908. Thomas Arthur’s son, Frank Sidney, inherited the dairy and managed it up to November 1951 when he sold it to a Mr PJ du Plessis.


Most first generation migrants to a new country often get homesick for ‘the old country’, as with Thomas Arthur and Annie. Two of their farms were named after well-known places from his childhood.  The farm Ribblesdale was named after Ribblesdale Place, the street of his childhood home and the farm Avenham was named after Avenham Park, a park through which the River Ribble flows, 70 metres from his home.

 ta home

A  =  33 Ribblesdale Place and B = Avenham Park.

map bfn

 The farm ‘Umzi’ where the family was living when Annie died in 1916 was the site of the present day Bloemfontein suburb, Noordhoek. The previous owner was Dr. Stollreither, a well-known practitioner of Bloemfontein. Waverley Road forms the boundary between the suburbs Noordhoek, Bayswater and Waverley. According to Arthur Beck (grandson of Thomas Arthur) the gate of the farm ‘Umzi’ opened onto Waverley Road (at the time a dirt road). Thomas Arthur and Annie’s descendants moved out across South Africa and into Zimbabwe, with one daughter and a number of grandchildren returning to England. His eldest son William’s son Arthur immigrated to Australia with his wife and adult children. Only two of his sons stayed on in Bloemfontein until their death, Frank Sidney and his brother Kenneth Percy.


The capital of the Orange Free State is laid out over low-lying, flat open veld and encircled by typical low Free State koppies. The British occupied Bloemfontein during the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902 with the result that when Thomas Arthur and his family arrived in town most of the whites were of British origin and English speaking. At the time Bloemfontein was emerging as thriving business centre with a population of approximately 30,000 souls. The town was named after the spring (spruit), ‘fontein’ in Afrikaans, that runs through its centre, combined with the name of Jan Bloem, one of the original owners of the farm on which the town developed.

During the family’s first years in Bloemfontein some major events occurred:

 In 1903 the Ramblers Sports Club was nearly destroyed. A newer addition was added to to the building in 1903 but was gutted by fire later in the same year. On 17 January 1904 a reservoir burst after heavy rains, releasing tons of water into Bloemspruit which runs through the centre of Bloemfontein. This resulted in catastrophic floods with 60 lives lost and 300 persons displaced. Among the 176 buildings that perished was the Royal Hotel which was swept away with its owners, the Smith family.  A Detective Macdonald saved the lives of several women but was drowned in the process. In October 1908 the Government Building was destroyed in a fire caused by a fusing of an electric wire. It was rebuilt by Herbert Baker in its present form.

maitland st 1910

Maitland Street, Bloemfontein in 1910 (the main street).


Church Street (Kerkstraat), Bloemfontein about 1900-1902.


The 1904 flood.

The following is a transcript from the will of Thomas Arthur Beck in holding at the Free State Archives Repository – transcribed by Mandy de Klerk, a great-granddaughter:

ta will

ta graves

The graves of Thomas Arthur Beck and his wife Annie Ward (nee Rainford) in the Memorial Cemetery, near the Women’s Memorial in Memorial Road, Bloemfontein.

 annie grave

Carol du Plessis (a granddaughter of Thomas Arthur and Annie) at Annie’s grave – 2014.




THOMAS ARTHUR and ANNIE had the following children: (William, Rosalind, Herbert, Ruby, Kenneth Percy, Florence Cassie, Frank Sidney, Reginald Roland, Edith May, Constance, Norman and Arthur Lawrence)

1.  William Beck was born on 22 April 1896 in England.

William had the following children: (Margery, Cynthia, Arthur William and Charles)

 1.  Margery

2.  Cynthia

3.  Arthur William was born in 1926 and died on 15 September 2014 in Toowooba, Australia. He married Dawn Estelle Vlotman in Durban on 15 April 1950.

Arthur was well-known in racing pigeon circles: “From when I can remember my dad had pigeons – he was mentored by the great Arthur Beck in Welkom… recalls John. Thu, 07 July 2011, Famers Weekly.

Arthur William and Dawn had the following children:  (Bruce William, Cheryl Lynne and Sharon)

1.  Bruce William

2.  Cheryl Lynne

3.  Sharon

4.  Charles

2.  Rosalind Beck was born on 15 February 1898 in Preston, and baptised on 24 April 1898 in Christ Church, Fulwood, Preston. The family’s address is given as Queen’s Road, Fulwood and father’s occupation ‘wholesale draper’. Baptised by Vicar John Palmour. She married Algernon Frank Daniel Smith.

  1. Herbert Beck was born about January 1901 in Preston. He was counted as a three-month old baby in the 1901 census conducted on 31 March 1901 but sadly died later the same year.

 ta 1901 census

hebert death

4.   Ruby Beck was born on 7 March 1903 in Bloemfontein and baptised on 17 May 1903 in the Anglican Cathedral, Bloemfontein. She married Walter Daris Boulden.

 ruby baptism

5.   Kenneth Percy Beck was born on 9 January 1905 in Lytham, Lancashire, England where his parents were visiting his mother’s family and died on 11 December 1965 in Bloemfontein. He married Thelma Turner who was born on 11 April 1909.

The family lived on the farm ‘Clearwater’ in the Bloemfontein district: ‘Hubert Hugh Harvey sold his portion of Mimosa Glen, namely Clearwater, to Mr Kenneth Beck. Source:



  Kenneth Percy had the following children: (Talma Joan, Beryl, Graham, Geoffrey and Jennifer).

1.  Talma Joan Beck was born on 18 April 1932 in Bloemfontein.  She married Adam Johannes Reyneke in 1952 in Bloemfontein. He was a coach builder on the Railways.They moved to Bulawayo in Rhodesia in January 1955 where he died on 1 January 2011. After his death Talma moved to an old age home in Bellville, Cape Town.

 Talma Joan and Adam Johannes had the following children: ( André Johan, Audrey Joan and Kevin John)

 1.  André Johan Reyneke was born in Bloemfontein in February 1954. He married  Shirley Radford, from Durban, in 1993. No children.

 2.  Audrey Joan Reyneke was born on 8 August 1955 in Bulawayo, Rhodesia, where she married Michael George (Mike) Alexander on 16 July 1977.

 Audrey Joan had Mike the following children: (Sharon, Leslie and Matthew)

1.  Sharon Loren Alexander was born on 19 January 1986 in Harare.

2.  Leslie Mary Alexander was born on 27 September 1987 Harare.

3.  Matthew George Alexander was born on 27 September 1987 Harare.

 3.  Kevin John Reyneke was born in August 1958 in Bulawayo, Rhodesia and married Patricia (Patti) Cloete, of Gatoomba, Rhodesia in the early 1980’s.

 Kevin John and Patti had the following children: ( Adeline and Yvette)

 1.  Adeline Reyneke

2.  Yvette Reyneke married and had a son Haydn in 2008.

2.  Beryl Beck was born on 15 August 1936 in Bloemfontein and died in Johannesburg on 3 May 2011. She married Steve Venter on 25 May 1957. He was born on 4 February 1934. The family lived most of the time between Johannesburg and Bloemfontein. When Beryl was diagnosed with cancer during October 2010, Steve arranged with her two sisters and two brothers to visit her in hospital, and that was the first time in 40 years ( and the last) that the 5 of them were together under one roof.

Beryl and Steve had the following children: ( Steve and Dennis)

1. Steve Venter was born on 19 May 1960 and married Lulu Guldenphennig, born 8 March 1960.

Steve and Lulu had the following children: ( Steve and Dean)

1.  Steve Venter was born on 7 January 1988.

2.  Dean Venter was born on 6 July 1990.

 2.  Dennis Venter was born on 30 April 1962 and married Charlotte Fisher, born 8 January 1965.

Dennis and Charlotte had the following children: ( David  and Mark)

1.  David Venter was born on 12 June 1991.

2.  Mark Venter was born on 7 July 1994.

3.  Graham was born on 26 April 1940 in Bloemfontein where he died on 8 April 2013. He married  Yvonne McKay, born 12 April 1943 in Bloemfontein and died on 10 March 2015. His second marriage was to Martie. Yvonne’s second marriage was to Andries Beetge.

 Graham and Yvonne had the following children: ( Kenneth Graham John and Cynthia Doreen Thelma)

1. Kenneth Graham John (Kenny) Beck was born on 11 September 1967 in Bloemfontein and married Marie Ryan. His second marriage was to Suzette van Niekerk.

Kenny and Marie had the following child: ( Kevin)

1.  Kevin Anderson Beck was born on 6 June 1993.

Kenny also had an adopted daughter: ( Hettelien)

1.  Hettelien Beck is married and had 2 daughters.

2. Cynthia Doreen Thelma (Cindy) Beck was born on 23 January 1966 in Bloemfontein and married Franco Strauss.

Cindy and Franco had the following children: ( Franco and Ruanco)

1.  Franco Strauss was born on 29 October 1991.

2.  Ruanco Strauss was born on 8 November 1992.

4. Geoffrey Beck was born on 12 February 1944 in Bloemfontein where he died on 12 October 2013.  He married Christine.

Geoffrey and Christine had the following child: ( Michele)

1. Michelle Beck

5. Jennifer Ann (Jenny) Beck was born on 1 April 1949 in Bloemfontein and died on 23 June 2011 in Johannesburg. She married Anthony du Toit.

 Jennifer Ann and Anthony had the following children: (Toni-Ann, Sharon)

1.  Toni-ann du Toit was born 7 March 1967 in Bloemfontein. She married Glen Stephan Sinden on 13 August 1983 in Johannesburg.  Glenn Stephan Sinden born 13 July 1962 in Johannesburg.

Toni-ann and Glen Stephan had the following children: (Tasha-ann, Byron Stephan)

 1. Tasha-ann Sinden was born on 26 April 1984 in Johannesburg. She married Leon Welthagen on 30 November 2013. He was born on 11 June 1980 in Johannesburg.

            Tasha-ann and Leon had the following child:  (Jordan Dominic)

1. Jordan Dominic Welthagen was born on 3 December 2006 in  Johannesburg.

2.   Byron Stephan Sinden was born 21 February 1987 in Johannesburg. He married Tarryn Louise Houston on 11 January 2014.  She was born on 14 February 1989 in Johannesburg.

Byron Stephan and Tarryn Louise Houston had the following child:

1.    Harper Louise Sinden was born on 7 December 2017.

 2.  Sharon Louise du Toit was born on 10 May 1969 in   Bloemfontein.

Sharon Louise and John Glenn Mapstone had the following child:

1. Tiffany Leigh Mapstone born on 7 March 2001 in Johannesburg.

Jennifer Ann’s second marriage was to Jose de Campos.

Jennifer Ann and Jose de Campos had the following child:

              1. Jo-Ann de Campos was born on 9 April 1987 and married Wynand van Tonder on 16 October 200?.

Jo-Ann and Wynand van Tonder had the following child:

              1. Kadey De Campos van Tonder was born on 23 April 2009.

6. Florence Cassie (Cassie) Beck was born on 28 January 1906 in Bloemfontein. She was baptised on 29 April 1906 in Anglican Cathedral, Bloemfontein and married Harry Herman. The family lived in Durban.

Cassie and Harry had at least one child: (Ashley)

1.  Ashley married Jenny and had three children:

1. Sandra

2. David

3. Richard married Alex and had at least 2 children..

cassie baptism

A scan of the baptism register of the Anglican Cathedral, Bloemfontein. Her grandmother Jane Rainford from Lytham was a sponsor at her baptism.

7.   Frank Sidney Beck was born on 26 November 1907 in Bloemfontein and was baptised on 29 December 1907 in the Anglican Cathedral Church, Bloemfontein. He died on 25 May 1978 in the National Hospital, Bloemfontein and was buried on 26 May 1978 in the Bainsvlei Cemetery, Bloemfontein. Frank married Magdalena Josina Fourie (also known as Jossie) on 20 May 1941. She was born on 2 September 1922 at the Border Pass, New Castle, Natal and baptised on 27 January 1923 in the Methodist Church, New Castle. She died on 14 August 1990 in Rose Park Hospital, Bloemfontein and was buried on 16 August 1990 in the Bainsvlei Cemetery, Bloemfontein.

8.   Reginald Roland Beck was born on 6 August 1909 in Bloemfontein. He was baptised on 19 September 1909 in Anglican Cathedral, Bloemfontein.

9.   Edith May Beck was born on 21 March 1911 in Bloemfontein.

10. Constance Beck was born on 29 April 1913 in Bloemfontein and died about 1998 in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. She married Kenneth James Stevenson, born 30 Jun 1911 in Bloemfontein and died about 1988 in Ladysmith, KwaZulu-Natal.

 Constance and Kenneth had the following child: (Shirley Ann)

1.   Shirley Ann Stevenson was born on 25 Dec 1944 in Port Elizabeth and died on 13 July 2013 in Pennington, KwaZulu-Natal.  She married a Stewart.

1.   Vivienne Stevenson was born in about 1969 in Zimbabwe and married Jean Scorer.

Shirley Ann and Stewart had the following children: (Christophe and Melissa Jade)

1.  Christopher Scorer was born in South Africa.

2.  Melissa Jade Scorer was born in South Africa.

Her second marriage was to Gordon “Buzz” Cumming, born on 10 April 1949 in Zimbabwe and died on 24 May 2012 in KwaZulu-Natal.

Constance and Gordon had the following children: (Rosalind, Emma, James, Joan Alice and Peter Arthur)

1.   Rosalind Cumming was born on 14 April in Zimbabwe and married Gert Kruger, born in South Africa.

Rosalind and Gert had the following children: (Emma and James)

1.   Emma Kruger was born in 2012.

2.   James Kruger was born in 2010 in England.

2.   Joan Alice Stevenson was born on 2 December 1937 in Bloemfontein.  She married Alan Lorne Lowe, born 28 November 1929 in Durban, on 22 March 1957 in Bulawayo.

Joan Alice and Alan had the following children: (Christophe and Melissa Jade)

1.   Peter Arthur Lowe was born on 26 January 1959 in Bulawayo and married Lori Deane Johnstone, born on 16 June 1963 in Bulawayo.

Peter and Lori had the following children: (Matthew James, Adam Niall and Benjamin Peter)

1.   Matthew James Lowe was born on 18 September 1992 in Johannesburg.

2.   Adam Niall Lowe was born on 4 November 1987 in Harare.

3.   Benjamin Peter Lowe was born on 28 March 1989 in Johannesburg.

2.   Malcolm Kenneth Lowe was born on 13 November 1961 in Bulawayo, and married Tracy Stocks on 14 January 1984 in the Our Lady of the Wayside Church, Mt Pleasant Harare.  She was born on 13 July 1962 in Mutare, Zimbabwe.

Malcolm Kenneth and Tracy had the following children: (Amy Cara and Richard Kenneth Cary)

1.  Amy Cara Lowe was born on 7 Jul 1989 in Harare and married  Richard Robert Evans 22 March 2014 in Johannesburg. He was born on  27 March 1987 in Johannesburg.

2.   Richard Kenneth Cary Lowe was born on  21 September 1987 in Harare and married  Tatum Leigh Willis on 7 June 2014 in Ballitoville, KwaZulu-Natal.  She was born on 27 October 1987 in Johannesburg.

3.   Bruce Alan Lowe was born on 27 January 1968 in Bulawayo and married Desiree Bussac, born on 10 June 1968 in Johannesburg.

Bruce Allan and Desiree had the following children: (Roxanne and Josua)

1.   Roxanne Lowe was born on 8 August 1997.

2.   Joshua Lowe was born on 30 May 1995 in Johannesburg.

4.   Jennifer Ann Lowe was born on 10 September 1957 in Bulawayo.

3.   Pamela Stevenson was born on 20 Nov 1939 in Bloemfontein and died about 2009 in Harare. She married Michael Anthony Mason born 3 November 1935 in Chigwell, Essex, England and died about  2000 in Bulawayo.

Pamela and Michael had the following children: (Sharon, Shane and Gary)

1.   Sharon Mason was born in 1961 in Zimbabwe and married Steven Donald Barton, born 25 February 1955 in Harare.  He died on 20 August 2007 in Nelspruit.

Sharon and Steven had the following children: (Christophe and Melissa Jade)

1.   Stephanie Barton was born about 1997 in Zimbabwe.

2.   Danielle Barton was born on 9 August 1994 in Zimbabwe.

2.   Shane Mason was born in 1960 in Zimbabwe and married Diana, born on 17 June 1962 in Zimbabwe.

Shane and Diana had the following children: (Brett and Brooke)

1.   Brett Mason was born on 20 December 1993 in Harare.

2.   Brooke Mason was born about 1996 in Harare.

3.   Gary Mason was born on 28 November 1962 in Zimbabwe and married Liane, born 5 September 1964 in Zimbabwe.

Gary and Liane had the following children: (Kerry, Dane and Robyn)

1.   Kerry Mason was born about 1991 in Zimbabwe.

2.   Dane Mason was born on 8 October 1989 in Zimbabwe.

3.   Robyn Mason was born about 1994 in Zimbabwe.

 11.  Norman Beck was born on 9 July 1914 in Bloemfontein.

12.  Arthur Lawrence Beck was born on 16 November 1916 in Bloemfontein. He adopted a son named David and died in Durban.




FRANK SIDNEY BECK was born on 26 November 1907 in Bloemfontein and was baptised on 29 December 1907 in the Anglican Cathedral Church, Bloemfontein. He died on 25 May 1978 in the National Hospital, Bloemfontein and was buried on 26 May 1978 in the Bainsvlei Cemetery, Bloemfontein. Frank married MAGDALENA JOSINA FOURIE (also known as Jossie), daughter of Philippus Jacobus Fourie and Anna Elizabeth Schoultz, on 20 May 1941. She was born on 2 September 1922 at the Border Pass, New Castle, Natal and baptised on 27 January 1923 in the Methodist Church, New Castle. She died on 14 August 1990 in Rose Park Hospital, Bloemfontein and was buried on 16 August 1990 in the Bainsvlei Cemetery, Bloemfontein.

fs and jossie

 Frank Sidney Beck and his wife Jossie

 fs birth

Birth certificate – Frank Sidney Beck

fs baptism

Baptism Frank Sidney Beck. An extract from the baptism register of the Anglican Cathedral, Bloemfontein. His grandfather Richard Rainford from Lytham was a sponsor at his baptism.

mj baptism

Baptism Magdalena Josina (Jossie) Beck – An extract from the baptism register  of the Methodist Church, New Castle, Natal

Frank Sidney went to St. Andrew’s School, a public school for boys established in 1863, but only opened in January 1916 on the present site in General Dan Pienaar Drive.

 st amdrews

 The entrance to St. Andrew’s School

After leaving school he enrolled as a carpenter’s apprentice at  Central Joinery in Bloemfontein.  Frank joined the South African Union Defense Forces (UDF) during World War 2 and was sent to North Africa as part of the British Eighth Army. There he took part in different battles including the Battle of Tobruk (1941) and the Battle of El Alamein (1942). Some of his memories of the Battle at El Alamein were of the terrible noise when over 800 artillery guns fired simultaneously at the German lines and of the young son of a Bloemfontein doctor who went mad from fear, jumped onto a moving tank in a desperate attempt to escape, and was shot to pieces. Legend has it that the noise was so great that the ears of the gunners bled.

8th armyA scan of Frank’s Epaulet Slider with                              British Eighth Army Insignia the British Eighth Army Insignia                       Source: Wikipedia

Dad in Cairo

Frank in uniform, on the left – ca 1941.   

spitfir voor

 A postcard photo sent to his wife Jossie from Egypt with a message: ‘Taken in the Spitfire Club Cairo To Jossie with Love From Frank’

 medal letter


Examples of the three medal he received.

After his return from North Africa Frank managed Beck’s Dairy at 60 Lombard Street, Bloemfontein and lived with his family at 70 Lombard Street.  After he sold the dairy in 1956, he bought ‘Happylands’, a plant nursery situated in Wilgelaan, Bainsvlei. The family lived at ‘Happylands’ until after his death in 1978,  but as the nursery was slowly dying due to a lack of water Frank had look for alternative employment.  He started work at the Post Office Savings Bank as a bookkeeper in 1957 up till his retirement. After his death, ‘Happylands’ was sold and Jossie lived for a while in Bloemfontein and later moved to Ladybrand to live with her eldest daughter until her death in 1990.

 fs grave

Frank and Jossie are buried in the Bainsvlei Cemetery. Frank and Jossie had the following children: (Frank Sidney, Eugene Rainford, Carol Anne and Lorraine Vivien)

1.  Frank Sidney (also known as Sonny) Beck was born on 27 October 1941. He died on 4 June 2006 in Welkom and was buried in 6 June 2006 in the Kroonstad Cemetery. His first marriage was in 1964 to Sarah-Ann van Lingen ( also known as Sarah), daughter of Albert and Hester van Lingen. Sarah was born on 1 August 1945 in Potchefstroom, died in Kroonstad and was buried in the Kroonstad Cemetery.

Sonny and Sarah-Ann had the following children: (Frank Sidney, Penelope-Ann and Candice (step-daughter)

1.  Frank Sidney (Frankie) Beck was born on 17 March 1968 in Walvis Bay, Namibia. He died on 26 February 1988 in Welkom and was buried in the Kroonstad (20 years old).

2. Penelope-Ann (Penny) Beck was born on 2 March 1969 in Bloemfontein. Penny married Desmond O’Connor on 24 March 2018 in Kroonstad.

 Penny had the following children: (Amor Bradley and Simone Jandri)

1.  Amor Bradley Beck was born on 19 March 1991 in Kroonstad and died on 12 September 2015 in a car crash near Witbank (24 years old).

2.  Simone Jandri Beck was born on 20 January 1994 in Kroonstad.

3.  Candice Beck (step-daughter) was born on 21 April 1982 in Kroonstad.

sonnyen sarah

Sonny and Sarah

His second marriage was to Adriana Josiena Steyn on 4 April 2003. She was born on 11 May 1974. No children.

2.  Eugene Rainford (Gene) Beck was born on 22 Februarie 1947 in Bloemfontein and died on 19 May 2015 in Parys. His first marriage was in 1973 in Heilbron with Hendrina Aletta (Rina) Stapelberg, daughter of Koot and Annetjie Stapelberg. She was born on 28 March 1990 and died on 24 March 1990 in a car accident with her second husband, Johannes Hannes Gerhardus Wilhelmus Van Der Merwe. They were buried on her birthday on 24 March 1990 in Bethal.

gene rina

Gene and Rina had the following children: (Jacques and Mervin)

1.  Jacques Beck (now Van der Merwe) was born on 29 January 1974 in Bloemfontein. He married Nadiya Prokhorova, daughter of Pavlik Prokhorov and Valintina Prokhorova.  She was born on 19 July 1976 in Mariupol, Ukraine.

 Jacques and Nadiya had the following child: (Milana)

1.  Milana Prokhorova was born on 21 Oktober 2013 in Trichardt.

2.  Mervin Beck was born on 19 June 1975 in Bloemfontein.

His second marriage was on 19 February 1981 to Johanna Elizabeth (Bets) Woods. She was born on 19 July 1948 and died on 28 May 2019.

gene en bets

 Gene and Bets had the following child: (Bonita)

 1.  Bonita Beck was born on 22 February 1984 and married Floris Andreas Johannes (Johan) Coetsee on 3 April 2004. He was born 9 April 1981.

 Bonita and Johan had the following children: (Jody and Emma)

1.  Jody Coetsee was born on 5 January 2009 in Klerksdorp (living in Parys).

2.  Emma Coetsee was born on 18 January 2014 in Klerksdorp (living in Parys).

 Bets have 3 children from a previous marriage with Brian Woods; Louise, Eddie and Shane.

3.  Carol Anne Beck was born on 15 Augustus 1954 in Bloemfontein. She married Andries Barend Frederik (André) du Plessis, son of Willem Gerhardus du Plessis en Johanna Augusta Hendrika Steyn on 22 January 1972 in the NG Church, Bainsvlei He was born on 15 May 1950 in Sabie, Northern-Transvaal.

Carol and André had the following children: (Cindy, Mandy, Andree and Karen)

1.  Cindy du Plessis was born on 19 July 1972 in Bloemfontein. She married Christiaan (Chris), Bam son of Gustav Bam en Johanna Catharina (Rinie) van Zyl in the Grote Kerk, Cape Town 28 September 2002. He was born on 21 November 1966 in Cape Town.

2.  Mandy du Plessis was born on 1 October 1975. She married Pieter Cornelius (Neil) de Klerk, son of Johannes Cornelius (Johan) de Klerk and Elizabeth Margaret (Lu) Warnick on 18 October 1997 in the Klipkerk, Bloemfontein. He was born on 6 April 1975 in Cradock.

Mandy and Neil had the following children: (Natascha and Juandré)

1.  Natascha de Klerk was born on 12 January 2000 in Bethlehem.

2.  Johan Andre (Juandré) de Klerk was born on 25 March 2002 in Bloemfontein.

3.  Andree du Plessis was born on 14 April 1980. She married Vincent Bender, son of Jan George Frederik Bender and Dorothy Le Hardy on 6 August 1999 in the Klipkerk, Bloemfontein. Vincent was born on 6 July 1975 in Bloemfontein.

Andree and Vincent had the following children: (Damien Vincent, Lucan and Nevieke Andree)

1.  Damien Vincent Bender was born on 13 November 1999 in Bloemfontein.

2.  Lucan André Bender was born on 5 August 2006 in Klerksdorp, (lived in Ventersdorp).

3.  Nevieke Andree Bender was born on 12 October 2011 in Klerksdorp, (lived in Ventersdorp).

4.  Karen du Plessis was born on 26 November 1987 in Ladybrand.

4.  Lorraine Vivien (Lolly) Beck was born on 29 January 1961 in Bloemfontein. Her first marriage was to Daniel (Dana) Venter in 1982 in Bloemfontein. He was born in 1959.

 Lorraine and  Dana had the following child:

1.  Jacques Dana Venter was born on 1 Augustus 1983 in Bloemfontein.

 Her second marriage was to Andries Petrus Gerbrand (André) Venter in 1987/1988 at  Van Reenen Pass.  He was born 1 September 1959.




Nigel Miles, a gentleman connected to the Cartmel Priory in Cartmel

1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901 and 1911 UK census for Preston

Free State Archives: Death Notice – Annie Ward Beck

Free State Archives: Will – Thomas Arthur Beck

Free State Archives: Marriage Certificate Annie Ward and Thomas Arthur Beck

Probate Court, Holborne, London: Will – Thomas Beck

Old Memorial Cemetery, Bloemfontein: Grave stones of Annie & TA Beck

Bainsvlei Cemetery: Grave stones of Frank and Jossie

Lancashire Birth, Marriage and Death indexes

OnLine Parish Clerks project for the County of Lancashire

Church registers: FamilySearch

Passenger Transcript Details: