Viola trawler campaign to benefit from calendar showing some of Hull’s most famous ships

Larry Malkin, the artist from Welwick, East Yorkshire, who initiated the project and has painted all the pictures featured in the calendar. Photo: Robert Bentley.

Trustees behind a campaign to bring the world’s oldest remaining steam trawler back to its home in Hull have launched their ‘Homeward Bound’ calendar to raise funds and to increase awareness of the project.

Artist Larry Malkin, who works from his studio at home in Welwick, was inspired to create the Homeward Bound calendar after being commissioned to paint a picture of the Norland for the cover of a book. He had already decided to paint the Viola and offer the work to the Viola Trust for auction, and he was planning another work showing the visit to Hull by the Royal Yacht Britannia in 1977.

He said: “I realised that by having three separate paintings we had the start of a calendar, so I contacted the Trust and offered to put one together.”

Larry also brought in Steve Hillyard, a skilled designer, who laid out the pages, and he worked with the Viola Trust to secure sponsorship from businesses across Hull and East Yorkshire, ensuring that all profits from the sale of the 500 copies of the calendar will go to support the campaign.

The Trust will also receive the proceeds from an auction of the original paintings, which will take place early in 2020, with the precise date and venue to be confirmed.

The Viola features on the cover of the calendar and for the month of April.

The Viola

The Viola trawler laid up in Grytviken.

The Viola, built in Beverley in 1906, operated from Humber Dock – now Hull Marina – as part of the Hellyer fleet of boxing trawlers. She was requisitioned to defend the UK in the Great War and left Hull for the last time in 1918 on a career which took her to Norway, Africa and Argentina, catching fish, hunting whales and elephant seals and supporting expeditions in the South Atlantic.

Her stories are of Hull men sailing to the most distant areas of the North Sea and working in perilous conditions for weeks on end, transferring their catches by rowing boat to fast steam cutters which fed the nation’s growing appetite for fish and chips.

When the First World War broke out, Viola and her Hull crew were on the front line of the maritime conflict, steaming thousands of miles on patrol across seas infested with mines and U-boats. Viola had numerous encounters with the enemy, being involved in the sinking of two submarines. More than 3,000 fishing vessels and their crews saw active service during the Great War and today Viola is almost the only survivor.

In the 1970s, Viola was mothballed after the closure of the whaling station at Grytviken, South Georgia. Sitting on the beach, where she remains, the old trawler was the target in 1982 of scrap metal merchants from Argentina. But when they landed they ran up the Argentine flag, an action which led to the Falklands War.

Other vessels featured on the Homeward Bound calendar are the Kirkella, Humber Barges, Norland, HMS Bounty, Lincoln Castle, HMS Britannia with HMS Yarmouth, Manxman, Sea Challenger, Arctic Corsair, Rialto and Diana.

Many businesses have already ordered copies of the calendar as corporate gifts and further enquiries are welcome. Anyone interested in placing an order should contact the Trust by email at

Individuals can order calendars by email or by visiting 1884 Wine & Tapas Bar, Wellington Street West, Hull, or Hotham’s Distillery in Hepworth’s Arcade, Hull. The Viola Trust is in the process of contacting retailers to stock the calendar. The retail price is £9.95, with postage and packaging payable on email orders.

To find out more about the Viola campaign please visit

To find out more about Larry Malkin please visit

[Phil Ascough – Ascough Associates]


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