The site of the Black Boy (but not the pub itself) can be found in early Hull rentals and the first property was known as Gastryk House. In 1336 Richard Taverner came into possession of a tenement, a gift of William de Gastryk to Richard’s father, Hugh. The tenement had a frontage of 34 ft. in 1347. The Black Boy only occupies part of the Gastryk House site.
The first reference to licensed premises on the site is in 1729 when William Smith, victualler, and his wife Mary, purchased a garden at the rear of their house. The garden was 28 ft. 3 in. east to west and 28 ft. 6 in. north to south and Smith had recently built a dividing wall on the north side and erected a brewhouse on the site (the garden was to the rear of 149 High Street.) A baker, William Hayton, had owned the garden and the property to the north; unfortunately the licensed premises are not named. However, the house fronting High Street had probably not been used as a pub for long, as Smith had only bought it in 1724 when he was described as a gentleman, not a victualler. The previous owner had been Hannah Fletcher and her executor, Jonathan Grainger, a house carpenter, sold the house to Smith; the dimensions of the house were 42 ft. 10 in. long and 18 ft. 4 in. wide, which is roughly the same as the present Black Boy, although it has been rebuilt since then.
The name of the pub first appears in 1748 when a deed involving William Hayton, baker, mentions the Black Boy to the south of his land, which was the property of the heirs of William Smith, deceased.
The property changed hands in 1752 when it was occupied by William Sergeant, victualler; Rebecca Hill, presumably a devisee of Smith, conveyed the Black Boy to Sergeant. The property of William Hayton was to the north; to the south was Corporation property in occupation of widow Cooke and Thomas Huntsman. Sergeant sold/mortgaged the Black Boy to Richard Davis of Gloucester in January 1755. Unfortunately it has not been possible to trace the ownership again until 1878 when John Tamplin of Bristol, gentleman, sold/mortgaged the Black Boy to Thomas Henry Morgan in occupation of Warwick & Ward; Morgan sold it a year later.
An indenture dated 1st January 1879 between Thomas Morgan of Chepstow of the first part, George Tamplin of Tavistock Hill of the second, G Tamplin and Hunter Tamplin of the third, and C L Warwick and J B Ward of the fourth, described the property as “formerly known as the Black Boy”; the previous deed, of 1878, still referred to it as the Black Boy.
The 1879 deed also stated that it was formerly in the tenure or occupation of William Smith and then of Elizabeth Stephenson, widow, afterwards of John H Lupton and William Holden and now of Warwick & Ward. These people would be the main tenants with victuallers as their sub-tenants. Another deed, dated 3rd March 1879 describes the property as “150 High Street and also two cottages adjoining in rear of 149 High Street, formerly called the Black Boy”. (The two cottages were in the garden referred to in the 1729 deed.) On this date Warwick & Ward sold/mortgaged the property to Joseph Gardham, victualler, which seems to imply 150 High Street still had some kind of drinks license in 1879.
The first trade directory reference to the Black Boy in use as a licensed premises is in 1792 when James Hayes was the victualler. A year later there was an auction held at the Black Boy, High Street, to sell a brewer’s dray. Brewers bought or leased the pub around the turn of the eighteenth/nineteenth century, as the following appeared in the Hull Advertiser in June 1808:
“Lupton, Holden & Dewitt offer for sale the Black Boy, High Street, together with the tenement, pipemakers shop and premises adjoining”.
Lupton & Holden were brewers at 56 High Street and James Dewitt was a ship-owner and liquor merchant, North End, in 1810 to 1811. By 1842 the Black Boy was advertised as being a free house, which probably only meant that it had passed from brewers to a wine and spirit merchant.
Eastern Counties Herald, 17th March 1842:
Black Boy, High Street, Hull, free House.
Apply Mr. Brown, Grimsby”
By 1861 the Black Boy had strangely disappeared from the directories. In 1851 Scaife, Kelsey & Co., corn and seed merchants, occupy 150 High Street. Thomas Smithson, shoeing and jobbing smith, 150½ High Street. John C. Young, cooper and Augustus Frengel, corn factor, 151 High Street. There is no further entry in trade directories under licensed victuallers or beer retailers until 1929. In the 1861, 1871 and 1881 census, 150 High Street was occupied by Francis Williamson, a wine and spirit merchant’s labourer. In 1851 and 1891 it was uninhabited on census night.
However, the Black Boy quickly resumed its alcoholic connections as by 1855 Joseph Samual Ouston, wine and spirit merchant and commission agent, occupied 150 High Street. It is difficult to say if the bar re-opened but it is probable that the public could buy drinks for a few hours during the day. Licensing Magistrate documents for 1854 to 1869 still refer to the property as the Black Boy. Joseph Ouston and Sons were grocers and wine merchants, 42 Prospect Street, in 1838 and by 1848 they had moved to 25 Market Place; J S Ouston, wine, spirit and corn merchant lived in Barton. In 1851 Ouston operated from 28 High Street. In 1857 Stephen Woodley, corn, seed and cake broker, also occupied 150 High Street. By 1859 Robert Carter Ouston, wine and spirit merchant, 150 High Street and patent flooring manufacturer, Humber Bank, had taken over from J S Ouston.
By 1861 C L Warwick & Co., wine and spirit merchants, had taken over the Black Boy from R C Ouston. By 1863 the firm was styled Warwick, Ward & Co., the principals of the firm were Charles Leedham Warwick and John Brown Ward. There is no mention of C L Warwick in the 1872 directory but by 1889 C L Warwick & Co. were still trading at 150 High Street with Walter James Warwick and Co., also wine and spirit merchants, at 10 Royal Chambers, Wellington Street.
Warwick’s must in turn have been taken over as by 1890 Samuel Burnett Mason was trading as Warwick and Co. from 150 High Street. In that year some minor alterations to the drain down the former Black Boy Entry took place. The room at the back, marked as a cellar on a later 1926 plan, was a bottle washing room in 1890. Mason must have only rented the property at the time as in 1894 Edward Locking and William Charles Lupton, wine and spirit merchant of Bradford, conveyed 150 High Street, “a messuage or tenement formerly known by the sign of the Black Boy”, to Benjamin William Mason trading as Warwick & Co. Samuel Burnett Mason was a wine merchant (trading under his own name) and ship-owner at 76 Lowgate (now Hull City Record Office).
In 1899 a list of licensed houses in the Old Town was published and contained the Black Boy, High Street, as a free house, with full license, occupied by Benjamin William Mason (Warwick & Co.) and owned by S B Mason’s executors. Its rateable value (£120 in 1899) was considerable for High St. pubs, most were around £30 to £50.
A promotional leaflet printed for Warwick & Co. (Hull) Ltd. between 1923 and 1925 gives this description of the premises:
“This house in bygone days was a regular meeting house for merchants and others. Messrs. Warwick & Ward (Hull) Ltd., wish to intimate to those concerned, that facilities for meeting there still exist. The bar downstairs retains its old characteristics, and one can sit there at ease in cheerful comfort surrounded by highly polished hogsheads and glistening bottles. Two rooms upstairs are available for small business meetings. The rooms are fully equipped for these purposes, and whilst they are part of the old inn, they have a separate entrance, and it is not necessary to pass through the bar to gain admittance to them. Situated in the heart of Hull’s business community, they form an ideal place of meeting. Anyone desirous of arranging small meetings is invited to make application to the Manager for the use of these rooms. Liquid refreshments can be served in them during licensed hours.”
The Old Black Boy was open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for wholesale business and licensed for consumption on the premises 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, excepting Sundays.
In 1926 the fully licensed messuage known by the sign of the Black Boy (Mason must have revived the name, if it ever went at away, at some point) was conveyed to T Linsley & Co.; the Burnett Co. Ltd. owned the property to the north and west. Linsley’s converted the front office into a smoke room and added a serving bar to the rear room, previously there were only serving hatches. These alterations were completed in October 1926 and the premises opened as Ye Olde Black Boy. The inter-war layout of separate ground floor rooms and corridor with separate upstairs rooms is worthy of preservation.
T. Linsley & Co., Ltd. were taken over by Duncan Gilmour & Co., Ltd., brewers of Sheffield, in about 1952. Gilmour’s had been a subsidiary company of J Tetley & Sons since 1909 and Tetley took over Gilmour’s subsidiary companies, including Linsley’s, in 1954.
The Black Boy was designated a Tetley Heritage Inn in April 1981. However, Pubmaster, a new company set up as a response to the larger breweries having to shed licensed houses, bought the Black Boy in 1992. The pub was refurbished in April 1994 and re-opened a month later. It became part of the Century Inns chain, who were then acquired by Enterprise Inns, who still own the pub (Aug 2009).
The ground floor wooden front of the Black Boy dates from 1926 when Linsley’s took over. The panelling in the lounge is also likely to date from 1926 and the panelling in the bar is much more recent. The ‘beams’ are not really beams but merely machine cut floor joists exposed by removing the ceiling. The panels in the upstairs rooms are also 20th century (‘knotty’ pine or spruce was not used for panelling until the late 1930s) but in the style of the first half of the 18th century, i.e. panelling and arched niches flanking the fireplace. Early 18th century panels project slightly from the frames. The plasterwork on the overmantles is late 18th century in style but of an odd design; plaster dolphins of the 1790s in other Hull buildings look more like sea serpents and birds would be a more usual motif for a heart shape. It seems that the fire places are genuine but the decoration added at a later date. The large bay window upstairs is not shown on Goads insurance plan of 1886 but is on an amendment of 1910 when the premises were described as wine & spirits warehouse and public house. As the plasterwork over the window is the same as that over the fireplace it seems likely they were added after Mason took over and converted the rooms into business meeting places.
It is difficult to date the Black Boy, as its shape has probably not altered from when Gastryk House was demolished and the plot divided-up. There are re-used medieval bricks over the passage, now part of the upstairs private kitchen, and 18th or 17th century bricks in the walls. The building has probably been extensively repaired at various times rather then demolished and totally rebuilt.
When it was to-let in 1808, a pipemaker’s shop was also included. There are no pipemakers in High Street listed in the 1803 directory although there are in the 1791 and 1792 directories. The Indian Chief sign, of a tobacco seller, has long been associated with 150 High Street. Interestingly, the Indian Chief also appears on the coat of arms of the Distillers Company. The roof at the front is still pan-tiled but the rear is slate and in general the front looks older than the rear.
1724 to after 1730 William Smith. The poor rate assessment increased from 2d to 3d when Smith converted the premises into a pub
Pre 1752 to 1763 William Sergeant
1764 to 1771 Mrs Sergeant
1772 to after 1778 Mr Farthing
1792 James Hayes
1803 J Hayes and Elizabeth Hayes
1806 to 1807 James Stringer
1810 to 1811 John Stringer
1822 Jeremiah Stringer
1823 to 1838 George North
1839 Martha North
1842 William Rea
1846 George Trolley
1848 Hannah Wrigglesworth
1855 Robert Carter Ouston
1857 Joseph Samuel Ouston
1858 to 1861 Charles Leedham Warwick and John Brown Ward
No licensing information between 1861 and 1888
1889 Ann Victoria Warwick
1889 (June) Benjamin William Bennison
1889 (Sep)to 1900 Benjamin William Mason. Listed in police alehouse register
1929 Hugh Pearce
1930 Grace Pearce
1936 Charles Henry Malam
1947 Albert and Mary Knowles
1948 Mary Knowles
1954 Edward and Nellie King
1956 George H Thompson MBE
1962 Edward and Nellie King
1964 Bernard and Ellen Nicholson
1966 Robert and Peggy Gillanders
1967 James and Christina Coulson
1968 Kenneth and Patricia Atkinson (Pat’s mother, Marion Needler, was the manageress). A fire in August in the derelict property behind a disused smithy spread to the rear of the Black Boy. The pub’s dog, Sooty (ironically), raised the alarm and prevented serious damage
1969 Ralph and Eileen Harvey
1970 Thomas and Edith Johnson
1971 Bill Mannion
1972 Joseph and Lucy Sexton
1976 William and Blanche Leighton
1986 to 1987 Michael Sellars
1987 to 1989 Charles Orr
1991 to 1997 Barry Fenn and Keith Oakley
1997 to 1998 Simon Marshall
Up to Dec 1998 Samantha Jane Franks
1998 to 2000 Philip Asquith
2000 to 2001 Lee Kirman and Jeannie Macadam
2001 to 2004 Richard and Jeanette Gant
2004 to 2007 Alan Murphy
2007 to 2008 Steve Elliott
2008 to 2009 Dean Kirk
2009 Adam and Helen Scruton