Dolphin Inn, Plymouth

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Coordinates: 50°22′1.67″N 4°8′5.48″W / 50.3671306°N 4.1348556°W / 50.3671306; -4.1348556

The Dolphin
The pub sign is artwork from the 1992 videogame Ecco the Dolphin by fantasy artist Boris Vallejo[1]

The Dolphin Hotel is a pub on the Barbican in Plymouth, England. The building, which is known as either the Dolphin Inn or Dolphin Hotel, is a Grade II listed building.[2] It notable as the setting of several of the artist Beryl Cook's paintings.[3][4]

The three storey building was constructed in the early 19th century, although it may contain fabric from an earlier structure. It has a slate mansard roof surrounded by a tall parapet with a moulded cornice. The front has white stucco with plaster reliefs of dolphins.[2] The pub is associated with the Tolpuddle Martyrs, some of whom stayed at the hotel on their return from exile in Australia in 1838, when a Mr Morgan was the landlord.[5][6][7][8]

It is a no-frills unmodernised pub [3] famous for its cask ale, draught Bass served straight from the barrel.[9] It is listed in the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA)'s Good Beer Guide[10][11] and the 2008 Good Pub Guide. The sign on the front of the building has always called the pub the 'Dolphin Hotel'. In 2010 the pub was refurbished,[12] but vandalised in 2014.[13]

The pub also provided the setting for the BBC's poorly received animated Janner comedy series Bosom Pals, which was based on some of the characters in Cook's paintings and featured the voices of Dawn French as the lead character Stella, Alison Steadman as her best friend Joan, and Timothy Spall as the Dolphin's real-life landlord Billy Holmes.[14][15] Billy Holmes has been the landlord of the pub since the 1990s when he took it over from his parents.[16]


  1. ^ Mike Diver (2017-02-11). "Waypoint: Why is 'Ecco the Dolphin' on British Pub Signs?". Vice. Retrieved 2017-03-04.
  2. ^ a b "The Dolphin Hotel". National Heritage List for England. Historic England. Retrieved 14 August 2016.
  3. ^ a b Is retail uplift putting extra fizz into city?, Western Morning News (Plymouth, England), January 2, 2007
  4. ^ "Beryl Cook: a Profile". BBC. Retrieved 14 August 2016.
  5. ^ "Plymouth's Book of Wonder" (PDF). Plymouth City Council. p. 21. Retrieved 14 August 2016.
  6. ^ "Plymouth's Waterfront Walkway" (PDF). Plymouth City Council. Retrieved 14 August 2016.
  7. ^ "Can you identify this Plymouth street from 1950s photograph?". The Herald. 3 September 2015. Retrieved 14 August 2016.
  8. ^ "The Homecoming" (PDF). The Chartists. p. 85. Retrieved 14 August 2016.
  9. ^ Football and Real Ale Guide Championship, Richard Stedman, Stedders Guides, 2006, ISBN 1-905423-06-3
  10. ^ "Dolphin Inn". Plymouth CAMRA. Retrieved 5 July 2016.
  11. ^ "Which are the 10 best real ale pubs in Plymouth?". The Herald. 13 May 2015. Retrieved 5 July 2016.
  12. ^ "Barbican pub The Dolphin reopens after revamp". st Briton. 31 March 2010. Retrieved 14 August 2016.
  13. ^ "Vandal admits smashing Plymouth Barbican pub windows with hammer". The Herald. 5 March 2014. Retrieved 14 August 2016.
  14. ^ Barbican Beryl to come home, Western Morning News, December 11, 1999
  15. ^ Beryl bursts into TV, BBC online, Entertainment, August 28, 1999
  16. ^ "As 'Plymouth' as the steps and the gin". West Briton. 29 March 2011. Retrieved 14 August 2016.