‘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… ‘
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.