Alasdair's blog

Relax with us at the Beale Park Boat Show 3rd - 5th June

The Beale Park Boat Show is the antedote to the Scottish Islands Peaks Race. There will be no running, just strolling, mooching or ambling about. I'm even going to take a fold up chair! Tomorrow I'll go to Decathlon and buy a really naff tent with a porch and a stand up bedroom area and I'll get a pinic table too. It will be the kind of tent that I'd rather not be seen dead in but I'm going to chill out eating nice food and supping beers in the evenings. I'll be so laid back that I'll be...

Scottish Islands Peaks Race

The Scottish Islands Peaks Race starts this Friday at noon. I entered my yacht Sumara in 2012 and came outstandingly last. We were so late the officials had gone home and we had to clock in to a surprised harbour master. Nevertheless we did finish and a lot of the fleet had to retire so we were pretty pleased with ourselves. This time I am entering with my friend John on his Twister called Brimble. Each yacht has a team of five and we have a cunning plan! Our revolutionary idea which we didn't...

Happy Norway Day from Arthur Beale!

Nothing beats sailing in Norway whether on the south coast as in the picture or way up North in Svalbard. The Norwegians in London tend to celebrate the Norway Day in Rotherhithe where there is a lovely Norwegian Church. Southwark Park is the centre of the celebrations and I expect there will be a lot of aquavit ordered in the riverside Mayflower Pub tonight. Enjoy the day!

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...

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...

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...

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...