Arthur Beale @ Shaftesbury Avenue

Beale Arthur Ltd, a ship chandler, stands quietly on the much quieter end of Shaftesbury Avenue for more than 100 years.
I have known about this shop for more than two decades but never set foot in yet…


While Covent Garden and its vicinity never cease to morph themselves into a snazzy outdoor shopping mall, this inconspicuous shop hasn’t even changed a shop sign nor a window display. Their quiet shop front perches along the street unassumingly, yet they are like a bulwark which resists and withstands the relentless breakers of commercialism which wash away any individuality and originality out of the area they assault.

Out of curiosity, I googled about the shop but never managed to unearth any useful clues, such as their background or history. And in this day and age, they don’t even have their own website. How intriguing!

I do love independent shops and want to support them in any way I can.
However, this shop is out of my comfort zone. How ropes and cables for ships can be any use for me?


Maybe flags for my wall since the World Cup is looming next year? Or how about an authentic Breton shirt? A life vest! How about that?  Just in case my car plunges into the water? Even though that scenario might be very far-fetched, I would love to buy something from them…


I am sure I can find a use for an emergency horn on the upper left.

Anyway, I shall pluck up the courage and investigate the inside of the shop next time I’m in the area. Let’s hope they are not one of those snooty shops which are only interested in serving their own kind…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

7 thoughts on “Arthur Beale @ Shaftesbury Avenue

  1. I love ships’ chandlers! Everything in the place serves some nautical purpose. Then again, I did actually use to sail, and as a kid dreamed of building my own boat and sailing it around the world…

    A ship’s chandlery in London?! Perhaps for the barge houseboat brigade?

    Perhaps a flag or pennant would make a worthy keepsake. Or how about a brass fixture? I notice a brass porthole in the window display…

    • You used to sail! Wow, that sounds great. I used to surf as a teenager but that was all I did anything with the sea & ocean (^-^;)
      No one seems to know why there is a chandler in Central London. Then again, Covent Garden used to be a full of those curious shops until the 90’s. Sadly all except Arthur Beale, disappeared.
      Yes, I shall definitely find something for myself at the shop. Those porthole windows are lovely, aren’t they? Or may be I can buy a brass oil lamp for an emergency… (^-^)

  2. Small-boat sailing, unlike surfing, was do-able on Lake Ontario. Still, the boats I sailed were too small for portholes!

    Where did you surf? Chiba? I don’t know anyone in the scene, but I’ve heard it’s quite popular year round in Japan. (I can’t imagine being in the water during a Tokyo winter, but I guess you get used to it?!?).

    • You can sail? Same as surfing, all outdoor pursuits which allow us to be with nature is wonderful. Even though I don’t surf or ski anymore, I miss that feeling very much.
      Yes, I used to surf in Chiba as well as Shonan all year around. Beaches in the winter were less crowded and the water was cleaner. However, it was bitterly cold and made me cry every time we changed the point and had to put on a very wet wetsuits! A wetsuit was very snug and not easy to put on when it was dry. It became near impossible when it was wet and gritty with sand. When it got too cold, my fingers refused to close the gaps so it became very difficult to paddle. Sounds harsh and crazy but I loved it. A very happy memory (^_^)

      • … the thought of putting on a tight, wet sandy wet suit in winter sends shivers down my spine! Glad I stuck to sailing 🙂

        Still, I know what you mean about the pleasure of misery… I used to love backcountry camping. Can’t believe I would carry all that gear on my back just to spend sleepless nights in the woods!

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