1. THE BUILDINGS
• It celebrates the opening in 2012 of 'The Beaney House
of Art & Knowledge' our refurbished & enlarged landmark
in Canterbury High Street.
• It traces the development of Canterbury's Library from
1769 to the present
• It outlines the growth of Canterbury's Museum from 1823
sharing a purpose-built Institution in Guildhall Street opened
17 October 1826.
• It explains the changing method of borrowing a book
from choosing it in a catalogue to choosing it from an open
shelf (Canterbury changed in 1927).
2. JAMES BEANEY
• It outlines the 'rags to riches life-story' of James
George Beaney (1828-1891)
• This poor lad was born in Northgate Street, Canterbury
his father was a labourer/sawyer but died when James was two.
• His older brother George became a sawyer but James went
on to achieve his burning ambition to become a doctor.
• Here in Canterbury he began as an errand boy for a chemist,
then learned to dispense medicines and served an apprenticeship
• His Master was William James Cooper, a Surgeon &
Apothecary (brother of Sidney Cooper the artist).
• Married in Wales 1849, started academic studies in Edinburgh
1852 health broke down (TB) took recuperative long voyage to
• Returned to Edinburgh 1853 resumed studies and awarded
Licentiate Royal College of Surgeons 1855.
• Served as a surgeon in the Crimean War and with peace
in 1856 acted as ship's surgeon on migrant voyages to New York.
• Migrated with wife to Melbourne November 1857 and worked
his way up to a successful practice and gradually earned his
• Made return trips to UK in 1878 (when sadly his wife
died) and 1885; banquets given in his honour, both times, here
• Died in Melbourne 1891 left many 'munificent' bequests
including £2,200 from repairs & memorial in Canterbury
Cathedral and £10,000 for building an Institute for Working
To KCC Libraries for enrolling
me as a Time2Give volunteer and inviting me to research the
story of Canterbury's Beaney Institute, its predecessors and
To the Bridge and District History
Society who invited me to talk about my project; for which I
created a PowerPoint presentation and it forms the basis for
To the Canterbury City Council
for printing the book which has enabled it to have a retail
price of £5.00.