What a lovely surprise to find such a shining review of our Pelmo jumper by Cat Holman in Watercraft magazine.
You can read the full review below or find it in the September/October issue of Watercraft Magazine
Arthur Beale Pelmo Jumper Review by Cat Holman
I once glibly said that I didn’t ever want a job where I couldn’t wear my jeans. As it turns out, I’ve stuck to that – thanks Pete – but this was the closest I’d ever come to combining work with fashion. Until the chance came to try out Arthur Beale’s new Pelmo jumper. The company’s story had piqued my interest and I was intrigued to find out whether their traditional wool sailors’ jumpers were the real deal, so I said yes.
Marketed as a summer alternative to Arthur Beale’s heavy knit Erebus and Beerenburg pullovers, the Pelmo has recently been added to their oiled wool jumper range. Named after Monte Pelmo – one of the highest peaks in the Dolomites – it’s a softer, lighter knit version designed for milder weather but with the same hearty styling and natural materials.
The Pelmo’s Alpine name is a nod to Arthur Beale’s distinguished history. Started in the 1500s by a ropemaker called John Buckingham, Arthur Beale himself didn’t join the traditional chandlers until 1890, by which time the company had already made a name for itself selling its famous manila hemp ‘Alpine Club Rope’ – one of only three ropes (all made by Buckingham’s company) to pass the Alpine Club of Great Britain’s rigorous market-wide strength tests. It was this product which attracted Ernest Shackleton through the doors of Arthur Beale’s shop on Shaftesbury Avenue in London, where he equipped himself for his expedition to Antarctica on Endurance – you’ll find a quote of his on the back of Arthur Beale price tags. Sadly, the Shaftesbury Avenue shop finally closed its doors in June 2021, marking the end of an era but the start of Arthur Beale’s thriving e-commerce incarnation; a charming mix of small brand, old-fashioned values and efficient modern technology.
I put the Pelmo to the test one bright summer morning on board our boat Planet, early enough for the sun to be up but without much heat in it. I noticed the immediate warmth as I put it on; instantly toasty without being heavy or cumbersome and comfortable too – just what you need when you’re waking up on the water. The reinforced thumb holes are a nice little feature, allowing you to pull the sleeves down over your hands for extra warmth. This is a British summer jumper; not a light knit by flimsy high street standards, but just what you need to string out shorts season on a blustery August day.
I tried a medium size in Black Welsh Mountain, a dark brown colour wool. I usually wear a size 12 and a medium was great for me, but if you’re unsure I would suggest – as Arthur Beale do – going up a size rather than down. Made of 100% pure Welsh wool specially spun for Arthur Beale, it’s an entirely natural product – no plastic microfibres here. It’s oiled wool, so not dyed, bleached or overly processed, all of which means it retains the natural lanolin of the original fleece which gives the jumper a wonderful ‘sheepy’ smell – what Arthur Beale rather more eloquently refer to as ‘fresh wool’. It’s hand wash only, but ideally as little as possible and with the wool’s naturally breathable and showerproof properties you shouldn’t need to clean it all that often. If you want to protect it from dirt you can always be a traditionalist and put a canvas smock over the top. Arthur Beale sell those too, as well as t-shirts, shorts, handmade rope products, their own range of rum and gin and other suitably nautical gifts alongside the traditional chandlery offering.
The verdict? My children – and photoshoot ‘helpers’ – approved, as did I. It’s a proper Swallows and Amazonsjumper; hearty enough to cope with the worst of Northern Hemisphere summer sailing conditions and most of a Cornish winter’s ones too, with an aesthetic and quality that made me feel fully qualified to hop in the nearest wooden boat and row for a ginger beer. More prosaically, it looks set to withstand the toddler test of being used as everything from a towel for small hands to an impromptu beach blanket, while still looking good enough to wear in public by the end of the day. The Arthur Beale tagline ‘For every adventure’ sounds about right to me.