|Intro||English poet, teacher and historian|
|A.K.A.||Helen Audrey Beecham|
|Was||Poet Teacher Historian Writer|
|Field||Academia Literature Social science|
|Birth||21 July 1915, Weaverham, Cheshire West and Chester, Cheshire, United Kingdom|
|Death||31 January 1989, Churchill Hospital, Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom (aged 73 years)|
Audrey Beecham or Helen Audrey Beecham (21 July 1915 – 31 January 1989) was an English poet, teacher and historian.
She was born in Weaverham in 1915. Her grandfather was Sir Joseph Beecham, 1st Baronet, eldest son of Thomas Beecham, who had created a fortune with Beecham's Pills. Her uncle was the composer Sir Thomas Beecham and her father devoted time to spending his inheritance.
Beecham took PPE at Somerville College in Oxford. She left with a second class degree and went to live in Paris in the group that included Henry Miller. She made a lasting friendship with the writers Lawrence Durrell and Anais Nin.
Beecham left Oxford and took a job at the University of Nottingham in 1950; she lectured and headed Nightingale Hall. One anecdote tells of how when faced with demonstrating students intent on occupying one of the buildings she hid the weapons but supplied them with toilet paper. She memorably noted that revolutionaries frequently forgot the loo rolls.
Sir Maurice Bowra, Warden of Wadham and Vice-Chancellor of Oxford was engaged to her. Bowra, a homosexual, explained his engagement by saying "buggers can't be choosers".
In 1957 she published her first book of poetry, The Coast of Barbary.
Beecham died in Churchill Hospital in 1989 from the asthma that she suffered from.