The Beales family have thrived as entrepreneurial businessmen for nearly 250 years; in 1769 John Beale opened a baking shop at 75 Oxford Street in London, and his brother soon followed suit. William Beale also opened up his own premises, and used the ovens to cook dinners and send them out; it was here that the family undertook their first involvement in the business of catering.
In 1889 he opened Beale's Restaurant, a huge enterprise comprising five storeys. The subsequent generation, Thomas, William and Archibald, continued the business after their father's death, and it became the largest independent bakers in North London.
Edward Beale (John Beale II's nephew) bought West Lodge Park hotel in Hadley Wood - then an unlicensed hotel - and adapted it in 1958. Beale's Hotel, then named Hatfield Lodge, was acquired in 1964, and improvements were made to bedrooms and the banqueting area. The hotel has grown from there - it reopened as Beales Hotel Hatfield in 2004, as a 4* hotel with 53 bedrooms. Andrew Beale is the current manager of their company; he is one of the eighth generation of Beales who have run the business.