Arthur Beale celebrated by Spitalfields Life

Spitalfields Life Arthur Beale

‘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.

Celebrated artist Martyn Mackrill exhibits at London chandlers Arthur Beale

Honorary painter to the Royal Yacht Squadron and the Royal Thames Yacht Club Martyn Mackrill has an exhibition showing 27 works at central London chandlers Arthur Beale. I can’t say I’ve ever heard of an art exhibition taking place at a chandlers’ before, but Beale’s really isn’t like any other chandlers I know – except that it does sell useful stuff…

Two of the works executed in black wash are shown above, although most are in colour. See the Flipping Book presentation.

Prices for the works range from £550.00 to £7,800.00.

The show runs until the 22nd November and admission is free, and the catalogue is priced at £7.50.

For information about finding Beales’, opening times and the rest, see the Arthur Beale website.

Beale’s shows The Riddle of the Sands

Riddle of the sands DVD

London chandlers Arthur Beale’s monthly talk on the 2nd of July is a screening the film Riddle of the Sands – the film of the first real spy novel, set in the seas off Germany and the lowlands, and written by Erskine Childers.

The story of the novel and film centres around two plucky British yachtsmen sailing around the Frisian Islands in an attempt to first discover and then to thwart a German plot to invade the UK.

The talk event is not just to be a screening – for the film is to be introduced by Lloyd Shepherd and Tim Wright of the only slightly bhonkers Riddle of the Sands Adventure Club.

These chaps plan a journey by foot, cycle and sail re-enacting the events of the book by Erskine Childers from which the film takes its story, and using the book as a guide. What could possibly go wrong?

Shepherd and Wright are to discuss their plans as part of their introduction, which I gather is likely to be highly entertaining – but more than that, the aim is also to explore some of the themes of the book and film, and their historical context.

Start time is 18:45 sharp – please arrive early, at Arthur Beale’s premises at, 194 Shaftesbury Avenue, London WC2H 8JP. Booking is essential, by email at or telephone 02078369034. Entry is 5.00 fee on the door, but this is waived if you buy anything on the day amounting to more than £15.00.

Riddle of the Sands