| James Beeching came from a Bexhill family noted for its smuggling|
exploits. In 1809 he married 20-year old Martha Thwaites at St
Clement's Church in Hastings. Her father was Thomas Thwaites, a
prominent Hastings businessman who was also a shipowner. In the
following years James and a partner ran a shipbuilding yard on the
beach in front of the Castle.
But then in 1816 this went bust and was sold up - to James's
father-in-law. The Tom Thwaites shipyard then built many large com-
mercial sailing vessels up to the early 1840s, but the expansion of
the Old Town westwards made it more profitable for the Thwaites's
to sell the land for what today would be called 'regeneration'.
James, meanwhile, had emigrated in 1817 to Flushing in Holland,
where he also built many craft, including a considerable number
involved in the English smuggling trade, something he was not
unfamiliar with. Later he and Martha briefly returned to Hastings,
but then moved to Yarmouth, where James set up a respected
boatbuilding yard. He introduced a type of fishing vessel which
remained in use at that port until the development of steam.
The above is quoted from: The history of the first lifeboats at
Hastings, by Steve Peak, In: Hastings & St Leonards Observer,
5 April 2008, (no sources given for this information)