Colonel Alexander McBean V.D., D.L., J.P., of Tyninghame, Tettenhall (born: 19 Apr 1854, died: 16 Feb 1937) was a leading businessman, soldier, Conservative politician and Freemason in Staffordshire.
He was the second son of Captain Thomas Hamilton McBean, Scots Greys, a veteran of the Crimean War, and his wife Roseanna Taylor, daughter of Reverend Thomas Taylor M.A. of Ballynure, County Wicklow and Kingston, Ontario. The family came from Haddingtonshire, where a forebear had migrated to from Inverness-shire after the battle of Culloden. Quite a few MacBeans fought at Culloden, most famously Gillies MacBean, Major in Lady Anne Macintosh’s Clan Chattan Regiment.
His father having died in Birmingham before settling back home in Scotland, whilst Alexander was still young, the family remained in the area but he was sent to be educated privately in Edinburgh and later at King Edward’s School, Birmingham. He entered the offices of a leading Iron Merchant firm, where he was taken into partnership. He soon founded his own business as an Iron and Steel Merchant and became one of the leading men in his trade and one of the best known men on the Birmingham Iron Exchange.
President of the Wolverhampton Chamber of Commerce, 1895-96.
President of the Burns’ Club 1895-96.
Justice of the Peace from 1896. Appointed as Chief Magistrate for the Borough of Wolverhampton in 1898 and County Magistrate in April 1903.
Nominated as a Conservative Councillor for St. Mark’s Ward in 1890 and became an active member of the Public Works, Water and Lighting Committees. After the division of the wards he became councillor for Dunstall. He became Mayor of Wolverhampton, 1897/8 and then one of the Borough’s Alderman.
Lieutenant Colonel Commandant (Honorary Colonel 1903) of he 3rd Battalion, South Staffordshire Regiment., 1901-1906. He served on the District Command of the National Reserve, South Staffordshire, 1911-1914 and was on the War office Committee framing regulations for National Reserve, helped raising new Battalions, 1914; later in command of Districts and Depots. He served as Lt. Colonel of 6th Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment 1915-1917. Alexander took active interest before and during South African Campaign period and after, and in Europe War in all associations for sailors and soldiers and their families and also for Royal Patriotic Fund.
He was appointed as Deputy Lieutenant of Staffordshire.
He was an active Freemason and became Worshipful Master of two Masonic Lodges in Wolverhampton -the Lodge of Honour (initiated 9 March 1883) or the Tudor Lodge of Rifle Volunteers (initiated 1883); he was also a past officer of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Staffordshire.
He married Eliza Ward (‘Lisa’) Amatt, the daughter of Henry Alfred Amatt, an Iron Founder, on 31 October 1876 at Birchfield, Staffordshire.
They had two sons, Captain Alexander Hamilton McBean, Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders and Archibald Darby-Griffith McBean, and four daughters. The elder son, Alexander was his father’s heir. Having initially joined the volunteer battalion of the South Staffordshire regiment, after the start of the 1st World War, he joined the 4th Battalion, Cameron Highlanders (Commanding the battalion at Etaples in 1916), then served in the 1st Battalion and finally the 5th Battalion. He was gassed twice, once severely, wounded twice, once very severely. He was mentioned in dispatches and awarded the Croix de Guerre.
Archibald gained his middle name from General Henry Darby-Griffith, who was his grandfather Thomas Hamilton McBean’s Colonel and had commanded the Scots Greys in the Crimea and led them (including Thomas) at the successful Charge of the Heavy Brigade during the Battle of Balaclava. Both he and his brother died unmarried and without children, Archibald on 23 September 1945, and Alexander Hamilton on 30 December 1950.
Their eldest sister Esmé Lisa McBean married another well known figure from Staffordshire, Colonel William John Beddows MC, TD, JP; they lived at Ardgowan, a home adjoining Tyninghame in Tettenhall, and then Ackleton House near Bridgnorth, Shropshire.
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