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Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 2, page 131, November 1, 1851 [newspaper clipping]

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Identifier: DX01032190

Title: Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 2, page 131, November 1, 1851 [newspaper clipping]

Description: Newspaper clipping of Samuel Beazley's obituary.



The death of Mr. Beazley, which occurred on the 12th of October will be regretted by all who knew him. He was an extraordinary man, and has had an eventful life: the story of it fully written would form a singular volume. Mr. Beazley was born in Parliament-street, in 1786, and was in his 66th year when he died. On the day previously he had attended a meeting of the Committee of Renters at Drury-lane Theatre, apparently in the enjoyment of good health and spirits. After the meeting he went to his country residence, Tonbridge Castle, Kent, and on the following morning was seized with an apoplectic fit, from which he never recovered. He was interred in the burial-ground attached to the Old Church at Bermondsey. From his childhood his tastes were dramatic and artistic. When only twelve years old, we are told, at school at Acton, he wrote a farce, and put together the theatre in which it was acted. Since then he has written or arranged more than 100 dramatic pieces, two novels — “The Oxonians” and “The Roue” — and a large number of detached articles. Amongst the former may be mentioned “Is he Jealous” (for the introduction of the late Mr. Wrench), “Gretna Green,” “The Boarding-House,” “The Steward,” “Old Customs,” “Five Hours at Brighton” (the first of his pieces that was played), “The Lottery Ticket,” “My Uncle,” “Batchelors’ Wives,” “Hints to Husbands,” “Fire and Water,” and “The Bull’s Head,” also the English words for the operas of “Robert the Devil,” “Queen of Cyprus,” and “Somnambula.” The latter opera, by the way, was written mostly by the bedside of Madame Malibran, in the mornings, to adapt the words to her pronunciation.

As an architect, also, Mr Beazley’s practice has been great in connection with the stage, having built more theatres probably than any other modern practitioner. Amongst them are the St. James’s Theatre, the Lyceum, the City of London, the Birmingham, and two in Dublin. He gave drawings also for one in the Brazils (similar to St. James’s), and one in Belgium—thirteen or fourteen in all. The interior of Drury-lane Theatre, the external colonnade there, and the Strand front of the Adelphi Theatre are also by him. His other works were numerous and include Studley Castle, the seat of Sir Francis Goodricke; a castle in Inverness, some additions to the University of Bonn, the works on the South-Eastern Railway, especially at London-bridge, the Warden’s Hotel, and the Pilot House, Dover (of which we gave a view some time ago), the stations on the North Kent line, and the new town at Ashford.

In the early part of his life, the subject of this notice served as a volunteer in the Peninsula, where his adventures were of a very singular character. On one occasion, for example, he awoke and found himself in the dead-house at Lisbon, laid out for burial. To facilitate the escape of the Duchess d’Angoulкme, he was sixty hours in the saddle, and crossed the Pyranees at the head of her horses, with sometimes a bayonet at his breast. He had never visited Italy.

In conversation, Mr. Beazley was singularly sparkling and amusing: his wit was both refined and ready. We cannot attempt to justify this character by examples, for such matters are seldom chronicled, and when they are, usually lose much of the point which the moment and the manner give them. A friend once took him into his wine cellar, and pointed out amongst its contents, some brandy as having been his poor father’s. “Spirit of my sainted sire,” breathed Beazley. A new staircase at Sir Henry Meux’s (pronounced Muse), he would call Gradus ad Parnassum—stairs to the muses. And when, walking in a client’s park, the lady of the domain expressed her wonder that the rooks. . . .

Rights: NoC-US


Dates: 1851-11-01

Type(s): Clipping, Newspaper

Maker/Creator: Gunn, Thomas Butler, 1826-1903

Subjects: London Bridge (London, England)
Books and reading
Public architecture


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