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Beecham, Thomas (1820–1907), manufacturer of patent medicines, was born at Curbridge, Oxfordshire, on 3 December 1820, the eldest of three sons and four daughters of Joseph Beecham, an agricultural labourer, and his wife, Sarah, daughter of James Hunt. He received a year's schooling before becoming a shepherd's boy at the age of eight. For the next twelve years as a shepherd, he educated himself and acquired herbal lore. From 1840 onwards he undertook casual work at ...