Skip to content


Your cart is empty

About Us

Arthur Beale are one of the United Kingdoms oldest chandlers, tracing our history back 500 years. We have supplied all sorts of exciting expeditions in our long history, including early Everest and Arctic Expeditions for Ernest Shackleton, Gino Watkins and many more.

We pride ourselves on our passion and dedication for high quality kit for every adventure.

We are a small independent business made up of real people passionate about sailing, adventure and sustainability. We take inspiration from our past, whilst always looking to the future to make sure we have the environment and sustainability at the forefront of our business. We use the traditional manufacturing techniques we have used for centuries to guide us, focusing on local, natural & high quality materials which will stand the test of time.
Our Story

Grace’s Guide to British Industry says that Arthur Beale was established as a rope maker called John Buckinghams circa 1500. Our Sign says “Established 400 years” but the sign is 60 years old! We have never moved from our current spot but in those days the Parish of St Giles area was surrounded by fields, possibly growing the flax we used to make our rope. The Church of St Giles in the Fields still stands across the road.

John Buckingham not only made rope and twine but sacks and mats too. The town of London gradually encroached on St Giles and the company needed more space to meet the demand so they set up other rope walks in Islington and also on the banks of the Fleet in Kentish Town.

In 1864 the Alpine Club of Great Britain being distressed by various climbing rope failures decided to set up a committee to carry out strength tests. Out of all the ropes they tested only three met their standards. All three were made by Buckingham and Sons of Broad Street, St Giles.

In 1890 the 15-year-old Arthur Beale joined the company as an office boy. Broad Street was redeveloped and renamed Shaftesbury Avenue. Arthur Beale junior was born in 1899. In 1901 the company became known as Beale and Cloves (late John Buckingham) and soon after just Arthur Beale.

The Alpine Club Rope grew in popularity and was used throughout the world. It was ordered for all the early Everest Expeditions as well as by Shackleton for his polar exploits. In fact, we also supplied Shackleton’s Ice Axes and specialist pulleys. Our archives have many letters from famous explorers together with signed order forms from Ernest Shackleton.

After the 1st World War Arthur Beale began to concentrate on yachting equipment although it also had a busy rigging shop supplying equipment for the MOD. They had a department which hired out flags and decorations for banquets and ceremonial events. They even put the flag pole on Buckingham Palace and Arthur Beale himself broke the flag for the King's Coronation. 

In 1932, Arthur Beale Senior passed away and his son Arthur took over the running of the shop. 

In the middle of the last century, the yachting part of the business boomed. Arthur Beale was one of the founder members who set up the original London Boat Show.

During the 1960's boating became a popular pastime with many middle-class families and the introduction of economical self-build boats such as the Mirror Dinghy increased participation further.

For the last fifty years, the shop was managed by Mr Coleman. He made an excellent job of it until recent times when a failure to adopt new products and practises left the company in decline.

Alasdair Flint, a keen sailor and founder of Flints Scenery Company, and his team bought the business in 2014 and brought Arthur Beale into the modern day, developing our famous Oiled Wool Pullovers alongside the rest of our traditional nautical clothing lines.

After 150 years at 194 Shaftesbury Avenue we sadly closed the shop at the end of June 2021. The impact of Covid-19 meant the company could no longer warrant paying the rents that a Central London shop demanded so we had no choice but to leave and move on to pastures new.  

In 2021, Hugh Taylor and James O'Keefe took over the running of Arthur Beale, allowing Alasdair more time for Arctic adventures. 

Hugh & James are lifelong friends and keen sailors. Hugh has a commercial background in both marketing and wine. In 2020, he sold his e-commerce wine business ( and was looking for a new challenge – bringing Arthur Beale into the e-commerce age definitely fitted the bill! 

James, after an International Finance Career in Reuters, settled in Sweden where he still lives and (when he is not sailing the Baltic) still works as a Consultant.

The pandemic only highlighted what was already rather obvious -  Arthur Beale needed to modernise. Since the closure of our shop we have managed to move from strength to strength, developing and expanding our successful clothing ranges as well as introducing our new Gin. Our warehouse in Buckinghamshire allows us the space to experiment & develop new products, as well as keep up with our increasing number of online orders. Our warehouse team are readily available for any product enquiries and our rigging master Gem is on hand for custom rope and rigging work. We are real people at the end of the phone line so please do get in touch if you have any questions.