Beale Park is cancelled

2019-01-23T15:35:28+00:00 January 23rd, 2019|News|0 Comments

The boat show for small craft, at Beale Park on the Thames near Pangbourne, has been cancelled for this year, with no further plans to revive the show next year.

The organisers, See it for real Productions, say it has been difficult to raise interest from exhibitors. The show specialist took over the show in 2015 at the behest of Richard Howard – a long term fan of the show and chairman of the Trustees of Beale Park Wildlife Park and Gardens. Richard died in 2017 which removed some of this ongoing support and enthusiasm.  Several exhibitors last year commented that they no longer made any serious sales at the show – some treating it as a holiday where they could catch up with each other.

But that is no basis for a boat show and so Beale has joined the London Boat Show in its demise.

The cancellation will feel like the end of an era for many – Beale took over from the Wooden Boat Show at Greenwich in 2000 and has been running for 18 years. “This is bad news,” Kipperman, aka Mike Smylie, told CS: “We’ll never get a show around a lake like that again. It was a great show, the first of the year, often with good weather and very safe for kids to go boating. It seems a shame that we can’t get a show like this to be successful in England.”

Roger Barnes of the Dinghy Cruising Association added his dismay: “We in the DCA are sad to see this show go. Particularly in its latter years, it was not particularly productive in gaining us new members, but it provided an attractive and convivial event at the beginning of the sailing season – a chance to catch up with old friends. It was part of giving us an enhanced public profile.

“As it happens we have been talking for a while in the association about alternative events to exhibit at, that would attract a different type of sailor, and this year we are exhibiting at the RYA dinghy show. We would have been at Beale as well, but this is now not possible.
“What would be ideal for us is something like the small boat section at Southampton – but for rather less than 10 days. Somehow Beale never realised its potential. I do not know why not. It ought to have been a winning formula. But in later years there were fewer and fewer nautical exhibitors, as various boat builders kept away. Attempts to make it into a general outdoor show were misguided, I always felt.”
Sharon Geary-Harwood, of Drascombe, agreed that sales were sometimes limited at Beale. “We did actually sell a boat last year. But we didn’t do it for that, it was about the setting, seeing old friends having a barbecue and a few drinks. It’s a shame it has gone because there is not much for smaller boats. British Marine don’t seem interested; we’re going to the Caravan and Camping Show, the Poole Boat Show, Whitstable and Falmouth Classics… I’ll probably see as many people, but I’ll miss Beale.”

See it for real Productions commented: “We have enjoyed the journey and hope that one day the show can make a comeback.”

Kipperman Mike Smylie – his cold-smoked herring will be much missed

Roger Barnes of the Dinghy Cruising Association

Sharon Geary-Harwood of Drascombe