The (former) Bank Hotel, now The Bonnie Boat pub, Trinity House Lane, Hull. The building itself dates from at least the early seventeenth century. A kayak preserved in the "Canoe Room" of the pub bears witness to a rescue attempt by Hull seafarers in the waters of Greenland during that period. The Inuit who was picked up subsequently died, but his kayak and accoutrements were brought back to Trinity House in Hull in 1613 (Sheahan 462), probably as curiosities. The pub's current name may be derived from the little vessel: "One theory was that Queen Victoria was heard to remark: 'My, that’s a bonny boat,' when she saw the kayak" ("Old Town pub..."). However, records show that the name had been given to it well before Queen Victoria's called at Hull in 1854. There is certainly no mention of any such incident in her journal entries for that brief visit.

Left: Appropriate boating image in one of the two rectangular panels inset in the tile-work. Right: Sunflower motif repeated in the tile surround.

In fact, the name has been changed more than once. Current licensee, Linda Levantiz, is reported as saying: "We know it was the Bank Hotel in 1825 and it later became the Bonny Boatsman. But by 1841, when it was sold at auction for £100, the pub was the Bonny Boat" ("Old Town pub..."). It seems likely that the glazed tiles and feature panels were added to the front façade later in the Victorian period, when both the sunflower motif and leisurely punting were in vogue.

Photographs by Rita Wood, text and formatting by Jacqueline Banerjee. You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one. [Click on the images to enlarge them.]

Related Material


"Old Town pub poem brings back memories of maritime rescue 400 years ago" . HullBID (Hull Business Improvement District). Web. 28 December 2019.

Sheahan, James Joseph. General and Concise History and Description of the Town and Port of Kingston-upon-Hull. London: Simpkin, Marshall & Co., 1864. Internet Archive. Contributed by Universoty of California Libraries. Web. 28 December 2019.

Created 28 December 2019