grid reference TM 281 329

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CAMRA Ipswich & East Suffolk branch.

last updated 30/12/2019

Felixstowe Little Ships

also traded as as: Pier Hotel, Beehive

historical closure era: late 20th century

opened about 1883

closed 1990


Overview | Historical info | Public transport | Map

The Little Ships burnt down one night.

When the Pier Hotel became the Little Ships isn't certain, but it's clear from the 1910 Felixstowe Rate Book that it was the Pier Hotel in 1910 and changed some time during the duration of the book (early or mid 1930s).

Originally the Pier Hotel. This was built by Colonel George Tomline in 1883, whilst he was engaged in developing the then much smaller dock that opened in the Summer of 1886. By 1969 the Little Ships formed just a part of the large building - comprising a large public bar, a smaller room, and a cocktail bar - the remainder of the building was then used for offices.Inns of the Suffolk Coast, Leonard P Thompson, 1969

The dock basin was dug out by hand between 1882-86 and the hotel was built adjacent to it at that time.

HMS Beehive (a Royal Naval Coastal Force with MTBs) was headquartered at Boomer Hall in Felixstowe docks during the Second World War (from 1940-45), which was located close to the Little Ships Hotel. The hotel itself was requisitioned by the military for use as a hospital on August 5th 1914, for the duration of the war.

The site is now part of the modern port redevelopments. In 2009 the Victorian dock basin was filled in as part of a new 21st cent dock expansion plan. No buildings from the earlier site now exist, including all of the military structures from the Second World War and earlier.

The 1904 Woodbridge licensing records show that the Pier Hotel's license was issued in 1877. Whether this was when it was first licensed or when it got a full (ie not just beer) license isn't clear, though the latter seems more probable.

The Pier Hotel can be seen on this old OS map from about 1902 (larger map)

old OS map

(Most pub, location & historic details collated by Nigel, Tony or Keith - original sources are credited)

(** historic newspaper information from Stuart Ansell)

(*** historic book information from Bob Mitchell)

Old OS map reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.