William Hadden Beeby was the only son of William John and Elizabeth Beeby, and was born 9th June, 1849. He left school at an early age and worked for some years for his uncle, then Union Discount (London) and finally The Bank of Tarapaca and London. He married Florence Hardcastle in 1892, and they had a son.
He played the flute well, according to Edward Marshall, but he injured his hand on some barbed wire so stopped. Marshall also notes in his obituary (J of Botany, 1910, vol 48) that Beeby preferred to go off on his expeditions alone and that he was a man “impatient of vagueness, or slipshod statements” with an acute mind. He was involved in the preparation of a Flora of Surrey and systematically visited the “less known and more unpromising parts of the county”. However, he did not have enough leisure time to undertake the editorial work associated with this task so he handed that over to C E Salmon. He spent many of his summers in Shetland, which he first visited in 1886.
Beeby was a Fellow of the Royal Microscopical Society, and was an Associate (1887) and Fellow of the Linnean Society (1890)
He retired from the Bank in 1909; sadly ill health characterised his retirement. He suffered from angina (there is the suggestion that he over-strained his heart whilst botanising in Shetland) and died due to the rupture of an aneurysm.
Information from his obituary, written by E S Marshall, Journal of Botany, 1910. Photo by Maull & Fox.