Fletcher Beach was born at Bridport in Dorset and went to Dorchester Grammar School before entering King’s College, London, as a medical student. He qualified in 1868 and obtained resident appointments at King’s College Hospital, the Hospital for Sick Children and Bethlem Royal Hospital. In 1876, after a tour of United States asylums, he was made medical superintendent of the Metropolitan Asylums Board’s schools for imbecile children at Darenth, Kent. He resigned in 1893 to enter consulting practice in London, whereupon the West End Hospital for Nervous Diseases elected him physician to outpatients; he was promoted to be full physician in 1895 and made consulting physician on retiring a dozen years later. He also acted as physician to the Chalfont Colony for Epileptics. Beach was a keen promoter of the philanthropic schemes for mental defectives that led to the passing of the Mental Deficiency Act of 1913. During the 1914-1918 War, he worked on the staff of the Cane Hill Mental Hospital at Coulsdon, his place of retirement. He was the author of a treatise on the Treatment and Education of Mentally Feeble Children (1895) and articles in medical compendia. Alpine climbing and foreign travel were among his recreations, and he had a large circle of Continental and American friends. He was twice married and had one son. He died at Coulsdon.
G H Brown
[B.M.J., 1929; Presidential Address to R.C.P., 1930, 12]