Alasdair's blog

The Tom Bowling Lamp?

In our Arthur Beale archive we have a few old Beale catalogues. Actually we still have the printing blocks! Many of the products in this 1959 catalogue are still stocked. We still sell this lovely and very practical lamp but nowadays we just call it a Globe Lamp. I was intrigued by the Tom Bowling reference so I did a bit of research. I discovered that this lamp was the very first product made by the car parts giant Lucas! It was made in a factory called The Tom Bowling Lamp Works and patented...
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The Sea Chart by John Blake

Wednesday 4th May 1845. Entrance Free! We have a great talk coming up this Wednesday 4th May! I find sea charts completely fascinating and so I am really looking forward this talk. John Blake served in the Royal Navy and in the Reserve for nearly 16 years as an executive and navigating officer, attaining the rank of Lieutenant Commander. During his naval time he served extensively in sea-going ships and qualified as a navy underwater diver and a naval air defence specialist. On leaving the...
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Upstairs at Arthur Beale for the Famous Breton Tops

Arthur Beale has been selling the classic Breton tops for many years. The history of these striped shirts is very interesting. The blue and white tops with 21 stripes were introduced following the Act of France on 27 th March 1858 as the standard uniform for Brittany Navy Seamen. They were known as matelot or marinière. Apparently the 21 stripes represented each of the Napoleon victories. The tops were made in the small Normandy village of Saint James which was established by William the...

​The Ashley Book of Knots – by Clifford W Ashley

It is back! It amazes me that it ever goes out of print but I think it has happened a few times. I reckon it is a cunning ploy to get people like us to put “It is back!” on our blogs. After all I don’t suppose “It is still here” is very newsworthy. I suppose everyone knows the book, but just in case someone has actually managed to get through life without stumbling across the epic then - This is the Bible of Knots. First published in 1944 and reprinted many times. This new edition has been...
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Vote for Tilman!

The Government are launching a new Polar Research ship in 2019 and is asking for name suggestions. Our friend Richard Wynne who is the publisher of Lodestar Books has suggested H W Tilman and we think it is a brilliant idea. There can be no one more fitting than H W Tilman, the most accomplished High Latitude sailor and explorer of the twentieth century. To vote for the name just click on the link below, then click on the heart. It will only take a few seconds...

Lost Rivers Of London

This evening some of us lucky ones are off to the launch of Nicholas Barton and Stephen Myers new edition of The Lost Rivers of London. A lot of painstaking new work has gone into this publication making it completely up to date and with a greater coverage of the lost rivers south of the Thames. It is lavishly illustrated and includes 44 maps. Stephen treated many of Arthur Beale's clients to a fascinating talk on the subject. We have the book in stock at Arthur Beale at a special price of just...
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Getting Technical

The snow has melted away from Arthur Beale's shop window display and it has got all serious. No more nick-nacks and games. The window is now stuffed full of gear which is unbelievably boring. This is the time of year when we simply have to get on with sorting out the boat ready for the new season. There is a smidgen of warmth in the sun so there is no reason why the primer shouldn't be sploshed over those bare patches below the waterline and the varnish sanded ready for a fresh coat. We have...

New Website Forums

After our highly successful Arctic Forum we decided to open up a website forum. Orginally it was just going to be a web based Arctic Forum but we got a bit carried away so we now have an Arctic Forum, a Classic and Wooden Boat Forum, a Ropes and Rigging Forum and a General Forum! Please feel free to use them for any enquiry that you feel might be of interest to a wider public. The forum can be found on the toolbar above. If you missed the Arctic Forum that we held on 3rd February then not too...

Shoplifting and poetry

It is always a great shame when something gets stolen from the shop but sadly it does sometimes happen. As a small trader trying to make ends meet is quite a struggle with the cost of West End rates so when gear goes missing it hits us hard. We don't lose too much from the shop but we suffered from a lot of pilfering at the London Boat Show. Steve, our expert at ropework of all kinds, hasn't been too well recently. Unknown to most people is the fact that Steve is a gifted poet, not in the...

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