Tired of London, Tired of Life - A website about things to do in London



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25 October 2010

Stock up on nautical supplies at Arthur Beale Ltd

Serving nautical visitors to Shaftesbury Avenue for probably around 120 years, Arthur Beale is a traditional chandlers selling rope, fittings, flags and other bits and bobs for boats.

It's an odd find in an area where you wouldn't really expect to find such things, but when you think about it this is a hotbed for these sorts of historic independent businesses. James Smith Umbrellas is in the same area, as is the Punjab restaurant.

Your author has no idea why this is, but it may be a legacy of the Metropolitan Street Improvements Act of 1877, under which Shaftesbury Avenue had been built, which allowed freehold interests to be bought after a period of time. Unlike in other areas, where billionaire aristocratic families raise rents as high as possible, and often price independent traders out of business in hard times, here many premises can be owned outright by their occupants, reducing overheads and allowing businesses to last in the face of rent rises elsewhere.

Arthur Beale is at 194 Shaftesbury Avenue and is open Monday - Saturday. It has no website, but for more, you could try this interview.

1 comment:

  1. Earlier this week I was discussing with a friend how this wonderful shop, and the ones either side, must actually own their freeholds in order to still be there fro so long. Thanks for this.
    And, whilst I am on the thanks theme, I am still talking about Of Alley...