G.L. Beath & Co. was actually founded by a Mr. Kirby in 1860, and Beath only joined the company in 1866. Kirby later left the business, and Beath brought in his brother-in-law, Frank Malcolm. Beath and Malcolm remained in business together until 1896, trading as G.L. Beath & Co.. Their premises were on Cashel Street, Christchurch.

Beath suffered substantial loss in 1871 when the former town hall, which he had leased after it was damaged by an earthquake, burned down while 3000 pounds worth of stock was inside. At the time he was only insured for damage up to the value of 1000 pounds.

Malcolm left the partnership in 1896 to go into business on his own account and Beath was joined by J.E. Wickenden, who had previously been a draper in London's West End. Together they expanded their store greatly, and in 1902 they transformed the business into a limited liability company. By this time Beath had retired from active involvement in the business, but he remained a director of the company until his death in 1914.

Between 1907 and 1935 the company acquired a number of properties until it occupied an entire block bounded by 'Packer's right-of-way, Cashel Street, and Colombo Street as far as, and including, Andrew's old-established pork butchery as well as the A.1 Hotel.' In 1935 a six storey store was built, including a tea-room and roof garden. 'Continued progress resulted in the purchase, in the year 1934, of Sorenson's block, thus giving access to Lichfield Street. The firm today [1950] occupies an area of about three-quarters of an acre in the heart of Christchurch. A programme of major extensions was interrupted by the outbreak of the second World War, to be resumed as soon as conditions permit.' (Canterbury, 1950)

The Museum Victoria catalogue records five varieties of tokens issued by this firm, all struck circa 1870 by Thomas Stokes of Melbourne.

The Canterbury Branch of the Royal Numismatic Society of New Zealand (1950). They Made their Own Money: The Story of Early Canterbury Traders & their Tokens, pp.37-42.

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