‘Did you ever wonder why there is a ship’s chandler at the top of Neal St where it meets Shaftesbury Avenue in Covent Garden. It is a question that Alasdair Flint proprietor of Arthur Beale gets asked all the time. “We were here first, before the West End,” he explains with discreet pride, “and the West End wrapped itself around us.”
‘At a closer look, you will discover the phrase “Established over 400 years” on the exterior… ‘
Spitalfields Life is surely an Internet treasure. Click here to read more of this piece. Once again, my thanks go to Malcolm Woods for spotting this one!
Meanwhile, there is also some sad news in my in-box, for Arthur Beale’s long-standing proprieter, Mr Cecil Coleman, has passed away.
Mr Coleman started working for Arthur Beale’s in 1956, and remained actively involved until last year – a truly remarkable 59 years. He started as a shop assistant and rose to become general manager for many years before purchasing the company itself in 1994.
Without doubt, if it had not been for Mr Coleman the famous 400-year old shop would not still be here. As he was active in the shop until only last year, many people will remember him and he will doubtless be missed.
4 thoughts on “Arthur Beale celebrated by Spitalfields Life”
Excellent on many levels. I remember buying a folding cone from an elderly but smartly pin-stripe suited gentleman at Arthur Beale’s about 10 years ago, I suppose that was Cecil Coleman. The masthead is Trinity Almshouses, Mile End Road, there’s also a picture from 1920 in the ‘Streets Of Old London’ post. I rented No.4 for a year at about the same time. The inscription by the gates records in part ‘This Almes House wherein 28 decay’d Masters & Commanders of Ships or the Widows of such are maintain’d was built by ye Corp of Trinity House in Ano 1695 …’ The fully rigged ships by the gates are replicas apparently with the originals kept in the Museum of London. Like much else of value it has escaped demolition on a number of occasions including at the hands of the Luftwaffe. Worth a visit, the Blind Beggar is close by as is a statue of William Booth (no doubt preaching against the demon drink).
Absolutely. I love the thing about ‘decay’d Masters & Commanders of Ships’. I can’t help feeling I’ve met them all at some point…
You met one last night! The story behind the Mouseboat was fascinating and inspiring.
I didn’t notice too much decay… The Mouseboat episode certainly inspired me. I’m trying to persuade folks around the creek and the Medway to build my Ella/Sunny/Julie skiffs, as I feel they’re an obvious next step.