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Arthur Beale has been situated on Shaftesbury Avenue for over 120 years. Prior to that it was established on the banks of the Fleet river. It was originally named John Buckingham and was a manufacturer of ropes for the ships on the then bustling river. We are still investigating the full history of the company but it is at least 400 years old. The company was owned by the Beale family until shortly after the death of the second Arthur Beale in 1954. We are delighted that we have made contact with the descendants of Arthur Beale and we are all keen to find out as much as possible about the man and the company. We’ll be posting more history here when we discover it.
The company was bought in 2014 by Alasdair Flint and Gerry Jeatt when it became apparent it was on the point of closing. They bring with them significant experience of both the sailing and the entertainments industries. The location of Arthur Beale in the heart of theatreland has long made it a popular destination for the crew of West End theatre.
Alasdair has recently joined the team at Beales. He is a keen yachtsman who has owned and maintained a varnished wooden yacht for the last twenty two years. During that time he has sailed single handed across the Atlantic and made several Arctic voyages including meeting polar bears in Spitzbergen and more recently climbing the world’s most northerly volcano for which he, and fellow skipper Tim Loftus, were awarded the prestigious Tilman Medal by the Royal Cruising Club. As you can imagine Alasdair is keen to stock not only excellent quality products for the maintenance of wooden yachts but also equipment and clothing that will withstand the rigours of tough ocean voyages.
New to the Beales team is Gerry who has a whole range of skills to bring the company right up to date. Gerry is the first to admit he is no ocean sailor although he is a bit of a fan of narrowboating holidays. Gerry is an expert on all those things that businesses completely depend on nowadays. Arthur Beale had no website and the accounts were all hand written. Carbon paper and typewriters were to hand. All rather wonderful but sadly not very practical in this modern IT dominated world. Gerry has already computerised the accounts, opened up email addresses and generally made things happen a lot faster! He will be introducing an online buying website, although it will take a while to load up all of the thousands of items that we have in stock. Gerry is as keen as all of us to keep the idiosyncratic charm of Arthur Beale but a few high tech systems buzzing away in the background will help keep the ship afloat!
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