Headmaster at Aldenham School and promoter of music
Died: 6th December, 1948
Laid to rest: Crantock churchyard, nr Newquay
Aldenham School was founded in 1597 by Richard Platt, a Master Brewer from London. It is located in Hertfordshire, and is a private, co-educational school.
Mr Harvey Beck, born the third son of a wine merchant in Kent on 11 May 1868. He attended Eton, before going up to Cambridge. From 1893 he was an Assistant Master at Aldenham School, later becoming the Headmaster in 1920, until he left in 1933. During his tenure at the school, Harvey Beck established the Beck Competition for Solo performers, to promote excellence in solo musical recitation. The Award continues until this day, and Harvey Mortimer Beck's portrait still hangs in the dining room at the school.
Harvey was married twice: first to a Miss Mary Constance Thomas, then subsequently to Emmeline, who was the Matron at Aldenham School. There were no children from either marriage.
At some time after the end of his working life, he and Emmeline retired to Cornwall to live...but the story does not end there. When Harvey passed away, a headstone recognising his connection to Aldenham was erected but, subsequently, when his widow's request to have a plaque in Harvey's honour placed in the church was refused by the then-Vicar, Emmeline arranged for a new headstone to be put in place, without the reference to Aldenham on it. This request must have been enacted in the mid 1960s.
This amended headstone persisted in the churchyard for almost 40 years, during which period Emmeline passed away, aged 90, in 1972. An Old Aldenhamian, who had holidayed in the area and seen the original headstone (with reference to Aldenham on), noticed the change of headstone on a much later subsequent visit - around 2000 - and he set in train a series of enquiries, which led to permission (from a distant relative of Harvey Beck) to have the connection with the School re-introduced. The work was completed in 2007, and perhaps demonstrates that even a peaceful setting such as this can camouflage more complex histories than are at first apparent!
With thanks to the Old Aldenhamian Society for information recounted here: Aldenhamiana, no. 35 - Nov. 2007
We can deliver flowers, or another token of remembrance, to the resting place of Harvey Mortimer Beck: