The Beauchamp Hotel
Pronounced “Beech’um”

History


The Beauchamp was built in 1867 & originally named the Ice Hotel. At the time, ice was imported from the Great Lakes in North America, carried as ballast in ships with sawdust used as insulation. Up to 60% of the load was lost on route due to thawing. Ice St in Paddington is believed to be the site of early local ice production. It took 25 years for the American industrialists to lose their grip on the ice trade & for ice importing to become obsolete. Tools whose purpose is now a mystery, exist in museums relating to the ice industry.
In 1900 the hotel was renamed The Beauchamp Hotel after an Englishman, William Lygon, 7th Earl of Beauchamp and Governor of NSW from 1899-1900 at the age of 26. He was described as a Progressive & though good at his job, he was unpopular in the colony for creating controversy. He also enjoyed the company of local writers & artists including Henry Lawson & Vitor Daley.

On returning to England, he married Lady Grosvenor, granddaughter of the 1st Duke of Westminster & had seven children. He had a string of titles including Lord Steward of the Household to King Edward VII, Privy Counselor, Liberal Leader in the House of Lords, Knight of the Garter & he carried the Sword of State at the coronation of King George V.

Lord Beauchamp was “outed” as a homosexual (a criminal offense at the time) to the King and Queen by his Tory brother-in-law, the Duke of Westminster, who had hoped to ruin the Liberal Party through Beauchamp. There was no public scandal, but Lord Beauchamp resigned all his offices except for the Wardenship of the Cinque Ports.

He went into exile on the Continent, living in Italy, Germany and France and died of cancer aged 66 at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York.