BECK, John (1814-1894) — Leamington Spa
Bookseller, printer, publisher, stationer & lithographer; bookbinder; account-book manufacturer; circulating library and newspaper proprietor. Produced a plan of Royal Leamington Spa advertised at 1s.6d. in 1844; Beck’s new map of 14 miles round Leamington advertised at 1s. in 1844, also used in his “Beck’s Leamington guide”; a plan of Kenilworth Castle for his own “Beck’s guide to Kenilworth Castle” 1846, etc.
Beck was baptised at St. Stephen, Bristol, 30 Nov 1814, the son of William and Sarah Beck. He was apprenticed to his predecessor in Leamington, John Fairfax, but may also have worked in London as he married Jane Mary Jackson (1816-1889), daughter of a London watchmaker, 3 Dec 1839, at St. John Clerkenwell. He was already established in Leamington by then, having announced the opening of his “Brunswick Circulating Library” in the Leamington Spa Courier 6 Aug 1836. He was later to become the owner of the rival Leamington Advertiser. In 1847 he opened a “Commercial News Room”, expanding into larger premises. His lease on the Regent Street premises is in Warwickshire County Record Office, while a property assignment involving his wife’s family is in the London Metropolitan Archives. By 1881 he was employing nine men and ten boys, while a brother James and a son Joseph were also described as bookseller and printer respectively. He died 12 Jul 1894, leaving an estate valued at £7,105.16s.10d. Probate was granted to a daughter, Kate Fenn Beck, 28 Nov 1894. He was buried at Leamington Cemetery, the local press reporting that many of the businesses in the town drew their blinds as the cortege passed through the streets.
29 Regent Street, Leamington — 1836-1846
28 & 29 Regent Street, Leamington — 1847
8 Upper Parade, Leamington — 1849-1876
76 Parade, Leamington — 1877-1885
60 Clarendon Avenue, Leamington — 1891-1894
BNA. Census 1851-1891. COPAC. NA.