The Master’s Day Out - a Tour of the Beale Arboretum

On Sunday 29th October, a group of 40 liverymen and their guests met at West Lodge Park in North London. 

West Lodge is part of the Beales Hotels group, and more importantly as far as this report is concerned,  is home to the Beale Arboretum.
This was to be the Master’s Day Out.
The Beale Arboretum was established in 1963 by Assistant Andrew Beale’s grandfather Edward Beale.  It was continued by Andrew’s father – past Master Trevor Beale, and is now run today by Andrew.

It boasts  a total of 800 species of tree over its 35 acres, and has two National Collections – Hornbeam and Swamp Cypress.
Andrew’s passion for trees shone through immediately.  His knowledge is extraordinary, and his enthusiasm is infectious.

He was very clever at pitching his botanical detail at the right level.

I, for example, left with a clear idea of what ‘fastigiate’ means (branches pointing upwards, basically)…..
Highlights for me included the strawberries on the Strawberry tree…… the hornbeam that had been hybridised with an oak, but was reverting to being a hornbeam !......, and the ‘living fossil’, the Wollemi Pine – which was only discovered in 1994.
Rewind….. When we arrived at the hotel mid morning, we were greeted with coffee & pastries (compliments of Andrew).

Andrew then gave us a brief history of his family – and especially his links with the 17th century artist Mary Beale, who was the UK’s first female professional painter, and is celebrated around West Lodge.
At the end of the Tour of the Arboretum, the Master planted a tree – an Italian Maple  Acer opalus subsp.  obtusatum  which is to be found on the far side of the lake at the entrance to West Lodge.

I don’t think anyone was quite prepared for the amazing job the Master did.  He shovelled every grain of soil back into the hole !!
Lunch beckoned – but not before we had indulged in a glass of fizz. 

The 3 course Sunday lunch in West Lodge was absolutely fantastic, and had us all want to delay our journeys back home.
A huge thankyou to Assistant Andrew Beale for his generosity – both in his time and in his sponsorship of the event.
I am sure that Andrew’s passion will have inspired the planting of more trees; certainly it has in the Elvidge household!

Max Elvidge, Livery Society Chairman