“When you buy a boat like ‘ROCK’, you’re taking on a piece of British maritime history, a very different kind of lifestyle and possibly one of the best and most iconic views of London from the River Thames.” This is how the current owner of ROCK, a 1961 British built, steel, former wheat cargo vessel describes her own unique property. ‘ROCK’ is one of the few surviving and fully operational Medway Coasters left in the UK.
With an overall length of 28 metres and width of 6.5 metres, ‘ROCK’ provides a spacious and comfortable home flooded with light and with a unique position close to the heart of the City of London and plays a significant part in the on-going story of the River Thames.
‘ROCK’ ’ has 7 berths across 4 cabins one of which has an en-suite toilet and washbasin, an impressive wheelhouse, an upper studio office with wood burner and a large saloon with open plan galley and dining area for 8, bathroom/utility room, all with good standing headroom throughout the entire vessel. A large dry storage area and immense flat, open front deck area with sensational views of Tower Bridge and clear vistas both up and down the River Thames.
‘ROCK’ is connected to mains electricity, phone/internet, fresh water, black water pump- out facilities and a post box. In addition to the wood burning stove the boat is heated throughout by diesel-run boiler which runs all the radiators and heats the water. In the galley there is a fridge/freezer, dishwasher, double electric fan oven and a five burner propane gas hob.
Hermitage Moorings is a secure gated community with an on-site Moorings Manager, communal space for entertaining on the main pontoon, and includes the Port of London License as part of the monthly fee.
‘ROCK’ was purchased by the current owner Anne Lydiat Wainwright in 2002 and both she, and her late husband Chris Wainwright, were founder members of Hermitage, a cooperatively run and managed secure mooring for 19 live aboard vessels all of them with an historic provenance. Part of the ambition of Hermitage was to keep traditional river craft such as sailing barges, tugs and motor craft a part of the Wapping river landscape for the future.
In 2003 ‘ROCK’ was taken to MSO in Brentford for a full refit. The bottom of the vessel was re-plated; a 1 metre steel skirt was added up above the waterline and bilge keels added to give greater stability in water. All portholes, rooflights, etc were replaced and a new steel roof was put on the lower Saloon
- Original Function: Cargo Vessel
- Sub Functional Area:Coasting
- Type: Medway Coaster
- Builder: Richard Dunston of Thorne
- Build date: 1961
- Length overall: 91.9 feet (28 metres)
- Tonnage: 78.17 (Gross Tonnage)
- Depth: 9.6 feet (2.9 metres)
- Beam: 20 feet (6.00 metres)
- Primary Propulsion: Diesel Engine
- Engine: Kelvin K4
- Generator: Lister
- Galley: 5 Burner Gas Hob, Double Electric Fan Oven, Fridge Freezer, Dishwasher, Microwave, Stainless Steel Countertop.
- Lower Saloon: Open plan design including built in bespoke beech ply cupboard/drawer units. Corner sofa and dining area. 8 ft. film screen and projector. Built in plan chest. Large glass roof light access hatch.
- Wheelhouse: Large 8-seater dining table, under seating drawer storage.
- Upper Saloon: Studio/office and Library: Wood burning stove with built in storage and shelving. Broadband router: BT.
- Cabin 1: Master cabin double with drawer storage and en-suite including stainless steel wash basin & WC.
- Cabin 2: Twin Cabin with under-bunk cupboard storage
- Cabin 3: Bow single cabin with under-bunk storage
- Cabin 4: Bow double cabin with under bed storage (originally the Skippers quarters when ‘ROCK’ was a working vessel. Ladder access to hatch to the front deck area.
- Bathroom: Bath with shower unit, sink, WC and washing machine (WC on 24 volt circuit). Also contains the diesel-driven boiler (heating and hot water).
- Large dry bilge space for storage: fully floored with ply flooring, automatic bilge pump. This area houses the hot water tank, black tank. The area is shelved throughout providing excellent storage facilities.
- Engine Room: Internal and external hatches to Engine Room. Kelvin K4 engine, Lister generator. Large stainless steel water tank and water filter, an invertor to convert mains electricity for suitable on-board use, two x 500 gallon diesel fuel tanks.
- Bow deck anchor locker
- Stern deck locker containing steering chains, rudder stock and storage
- On deck external gas bottle locker (propane)
- A steel mast (steel mast replaced original wooden mast in 2018) and fitted with a davit for lifting goods and the dinghy on board.
- ‘ROCK’ has also been designed to allow the engine to be lifted and serviced or replaced if ever necessary.
- ‘ROCK was in dry dock 2018 when the hull was repainted and antifoul painted below the water line.
- ‘ROCK’ holds a valid Boat Survey Certificate (six years remaining) and a current Boat Safety Certificate (renewable every four years).
The mooring fee for ‘ROCK’ is £511 pm on this much sought after, secure mooring at Hermitage. This includes mooring rights, access to mains sewage, and water plus Port of London License, access to community room on the pontoon, on-site Moorings Manager who acts as further security and support for resident’s vessels.
General running costs are available from the current owner.
‘ROCK’ was designed by Richard Dunston Shipbuilders of Thorne, Yorkshire and shares many design features with Humber Keel vessels. She was built by the London & Rochester company at their Strood yard on the Medway in 1961.
A distinctive feature of this smaller coastal barge fleet built by the company this period, was that the vessels were given names beginning with RO, such as ROAN, ROBUST, RODENT, ROFFEN, ROHAY, ROWENA and ROCK to signify their relationship to Rochester.
‘ROCK’ was taken out of commercial service on the East Coast trading routes in 1990 and converted for charter and subsequently for residential use. Although she has undergone some external changes she still remains a rare and fully working vessel with 88 hp Kelvin K4 diesel oil engine by the Bergius Co Ltd. Glasgow. She was initially equipped with a 66 hp Kelvin K3 engine and upgraded to a K4 during her trading life. “ROCK” is one of the few surviving and fully operational Medway Coasters left in the UK.
This painting by W L Wyllie entitled “Toil, Glitter, Grime and Wealth on a Flowing Tide” is an 1863 view of the River Thames from the precise location of “ROCK’s” current mooring.
Wyllie spent much of his time painting directly from nature in the lower Thames from the boat Ladybird with his wife Marion Amy Wyllie. The painting was originally thought to have been painted at Greenwich but has recently been identified as the Pool of London below London Bridge, looking west towards the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral in the distance.
The London skyline looks very different today – much cleaner and brighter but there’s still that same constant interest along the River Thames; both on the shores and of course of the river itself.
By making ‘ROCK’ your floating home you become a part of that River Thames maritime history.