Saving Clissold Park have some lovely old photos of this man but they have eschewed the normal form of potted biography and instead have provided 13 bullets points:
- Chairman of the Clissold Park Preservation Committee, which secured the Park for the public for ever.
- Optical & Microscope Manufacturer
- Chairman of the Coal, Corn and Finance Committee of the Corporation of London
- Member of the Court of Common Council
- Stoke Newington Vestryman
- Governor of St. Thomas’ Hospital
- A member of the Council of the City of Guilds Institute
- A member of the Thames Conservancy Board
- Her Majesty’s Lieutenant for the City of London
- Representatives of the Corporation on the governing bodies of the City Parochial Charities
- Representatives of the Corporation of London on the River Lea Conservancy
- Traveller & Mountaineer
- Keen Cyclist
Grace's Guide gives a business-focussed view: Born Stamford Hill, apprenticed to an optician, joined his brother's optical instrument manufacturing firm. 1857 became a partner. 1891 living at Barton House, Albion Road which is very close to Clissold Park.
These two websites agree that his date of birth was 1829 not 1828 as given on the memorials and our colleague, Andrew Behan, states that according to the Society of Friends (Quaker) Register of Births he was recorded as having been born on 2 June 1829 in Stamford Hill, Hackney. He was the fourth of the eleven children of Richard Low Beck (1792-1854) and Rachel Beck née Lucas (1802-1874).
In 1856 he married Emma Elizabeth Allen (1829-1908) and they had seven children.
Probate records confirm that he died, aged 61 years, on 18 April 1891 at 233 Albion Road, Stoke Newington. His will was proved on 12 August 1891 jointly by his widow and Conrad Beck (1864-1944) of 68 Cornhill, London, who was both a manufacturing optician and one of his sons. His personal estate totalled £17,350-19s-2d.