The wooden sculpture of Bonzo the Seal situated on the Coble Landing has been a Filey landmark for decades. The weather, and countless thousands of children sitting on the seals back, was beginning to take its toll on the poor old seal and so Filey Town Council made the decision to commission a new Bonzo! In late September the new Bonzo was unveiled and he looks magnificent.
The original sculpture was placed on the Coble Landing to remember Bonzo the seal, who was rescued and brought up by Filey fishermen, “Jossy Buggins” (George Jenkinson) and his sons, Jim and Frank, in the mid-1920s. Bonzo was a tiny pup, probably a mere 12 pounds and would have probably died had he not been taken in by the fishermen. A zinc bath was filled with sea water up in one of the bait shed on ‘Jenk’s Alley’ and the seal lived happily in there. However, he quickly outgrew his bath and by the new visitor season he had a new home in a wooden hut, with a concrete pool, near the Coble Landing. Visitors were charged to see the seal and Bonzo became a firm favourite. Bonzo was said to be ‘the size of the Loch Ness Monster’, so clearly life was good to the once tiny seal!
Bonzo was a tourist attraction for two decades before he finally departed for the fish-filled sea in the sky in 1940. Despite wartime reporting restrictions, his death was headline news in the Filey Post! The full story of Bonzo can be found on the Scarborough Maritime Heritage Centre’s fabulous website.