Home to Simon and Jane , their daughter Ellen and Stanley the cat, Longfellow is a 126ft (37.8m) Luxemotor Dutch barge moored at Putney on the River Thames in London. The family have lived onboard for over eight years.
Longfellow was built in Rotterdam to carry grain on the rivers and canals of Europe. She was brought over from the Netherlands during the 1980s. Simon and Jane bought her in a partially converted state and spent several years fitting out the cargo hold to the beautiful condition you see here.
She retains her original skipper’s quarters in the stern of the ship, now used as an office and spare bedroom. The main living area is an impressive open-plan space with lots of natural light and a log-burning stove for cosy winter nights. The galley flows through to an open air deck space with shower. A glass roof slides open to keep the garden watered and let the sun shine through.
A diesel-fired range in the galley provides ample heat for cooking and drives radiators throughout the barge for heating. Diesel also powers the main engine; fuel is delivered directly to the barge by river. Simon is keen to use river-based suppliers to help keep commercial traffic alive on the Thames.
Simon and Jane’s friends are often picked up from the tube station by ship’s tender and travel up-river to Longfellow for dinner.
Simon has recently completed the necessary qualifications to handle a barge this size on the Continent, and in the next few years they plan to slip their mooring, head down the Thames and spend a summer or two cruising the European waterways.