Chester Beatty

Sir (Alfred) Chester Beatty was an American mining engineer, who founded Selection Trust Ltd in 1913. This remained a small company until after World War One, when Beatty embarked on the development, finance and administration of mining businesses throughout the world, notably in Siberia, the west coast of Africa, Serbia and Northern Rhodesia.

Beatty built an expert team of geologists and mining engineers whom he sent abroad with specific instructions on the areas to explore: he never travelled to these places himself. Though many of these mining enterprises were later nationalised, Selection Trust had by then acquired valuable interests in other mines around the world.

Beatty retired in 1950, and handed over control of Selection Trust to his son, Alfred Chester Beatty, who retired in 1968, the same year as his father’s death. Beatty Senior was also well known for his philanthropic interests in cancer research, and his fascination with collecting oriental manuscripts and impressionist art.

The Selection Trust Ltd was taken over by BP, and was known as, successively, BP Minerals International Ltd and BP Minerals Development Ltd. It was acquired from BP by the Rio Tinto Zinc Corporation Plc in 1989.


(The Selection Trust papers have been deposited with the LSE, and this page is taken from the summary of the Selection Trust on the LSE library website)

On to Colwood


March 2014