SWANSEA Council has added another pub to its collection, but you won’t find councillors pulling pints or calling time.
The authority now owns The Black Boy, Killay, along with the nearby Railway Inn and, in the Maritime Quarter, the Queen’s Hotel.
Its £383,000 acquisition of The Black Boy appeared on an appendix of a council finance report. The pub itself is run by brewing and pub company Marston’s.
A council spokesman said it had owned the land at The Black Boy for many years prior to the purchase of the building, which brings in revenue for the authority.
“We lease the land and building to the pub business and use the income wisely,” he said. “The tenant is responsible for maintenance repairs and insurance.”
The council also owns land occupied by other pubs in Swansea but does not run any of them or make decisions including on matters such as naming arrangements.
The spokesman added: “Prudent property acquisitions and expert management of our current property assets provide important income which is invested in public services that we deliver every day to tens of thousands of people across Swansea.”
Decades ago The Black Boy used to have a smiling black boy wearing a bejewelled turban on its sign, but the precise origins of the name appear unclear. The current sign features a rather sombre white boy, most of his face in shadow.
The appendix citing the purchase of the pub was part of a quarterly report about revenue and capital spending by the council up to September 30, 2023. It said the council was making good progress on its £21.9 million savings target for 2023-24 but that care sector and school transport pressures were a concern.
The report added that capital expenditure was lower than forecast. Projects where spending was greater than £250,000, apart from The Black Boy purchase, included £6.9 million on the new Kingsway office block, called 71/72 The Kingsway, £2 million on the redevelopment of the Palace Theatre, High Street, £1.9 million on road resurfacing, and £900,000 on an all-weather sports pitch at Olchfa School, Sketty.
The acquisition of The Black Boy, which used to be run by SA Brain & Co, was news to Dunvant and Killay councillor Mary Jones and her husband Jeff, who also represents the ward.
“We knew the council owned the land,” she said. “They could have sent us an email about it.”