Wandsworth

Photo: Adrian Evans

Wandsworth Riverside Quarter, Prospect Quay 

In 1946 the riverside at Wandsworth to the east of Wandsworth Park was dominated by wharves, a waterworks, a coal depot and a distillery. This was an industrial riverside for much of the twentieth century and like many other riverside areas has undergone a dramatic transformation in the past twenty-five years. Although the outlook remains the same, with Hurlingham Park dominating the view north across the river, the buildings and path on the Wandsworth bank have completely changed.

Prospect Quay sits just east of Wandsworth Park, on what was once a coal depot. It later became a derelict industrial site and a largely unused section of riverbank [1]. The mooring, initially Christened Prospect Quay Ltd. was set up in 1997 by Peter Banks, who was responsible for the wider Prospect Quay landside housing development. The moorings were extended under new ownership, and the new pontoons were installed by MSO Marine in 2014. It is currently owned and managed by Prospect Moorings 2013. There are four directors: Vikki Nelson, Charles Nicholson, Kate Robinson and Joeske van Walsum, all of whom are Prospect Quay residents [2].

Residents of the mooring have described a close community where everyone knows one another. There are a variety of vessels moored here, some navigable and others stationary purpose-built houseboats.

In August 2016, the most expensive houseboat on the tidal Thames was for sale at Prospect Quay, the asking price on River Homes was £1,795,000. This floating home was built in 2015. The estate agent's details reveal that: 'the views of the river from this exceptional boat are simply stunning. She is entered across a decked area and through a CCTV monitored door and from there straight into the lounge in which one is immediately struck by the quality of the bespoke decor and spacious feel of the home. Walnut wood floors are used throughout and a gas wood burning stove in the reception further adds to the home's rich character. The open-plan living/ dining area is perfect for entertaining and opens out on to a stunning deck, allowing light and views of the river to drench the whole living space. A rustic iron staircase from the reception leads to the expansive roof terrace through an electric sliding roof. This space is ideal for al fresco dining and entertaining guests while enjoying the benefit of the undisturbed panoramic views. The lower cabin comprises a reception space leading into the three bedrooms and a further study. Large solid wooden doors of exceptional craftsmanship open onto the master suite comprising a dressing room and a luxurious, well-appointed en-suite bathroom. The suite is an oasis of calm with wonderful river views which help to create a glorious, otherworldly ambience. Unadulterated luxury. Prospect Quay is conveniently situated a short walk from the eateries and shopping delights of Wandsworth Old Town and Putney High Street. There is easy access to Central London via the Thames Clipper riverboat and by over ground and underground train. Residents of the mooring benefit from the on-site leisure facilities of Prospect Quay including a gymnasium, swimming pool, sauna, steam room and secure car park. One of the finest floating homes upon the Thames. The mooring and maintenance levy is approximately £5,000 per annum.' [3]

Wandsworth Riverside Quarter is one of the newer moorings on the tidal Thames, having opened in 2005. It sits on the site previously marked as a slip, which would have allowed for river access to and from the riverside wharves and works. Like Prospect Quay, the moorings were installed as part a wider housing development, the Riverside Quarter Development, which included luxury apartments, leisure facilities, restaurants and shops.

The mooring has space for twelve residential vessels. Each have sixty year leases which started around 2005. Under the terms of the licence, owners of craft have to maintain their vessel/houseboat to a high standard and conduct a regular river worthiness test. Originally they were sold for around £80,000 each but their value has rocketed since then for the remaining portion of the lease.

The moorings are arranged parallel to the riverside walkway with berths from 50ft available. Each berth is provided with mains water, electricity, and pumped drainage. Mains gas is also available (if required at additional premium for connection from shore) as well as two telephone lines per berth and satellite TV connection.

All of the vesselson the mooring are purpose-built houseboats rather than going craft. This gives the mooring a rather more uniform appearance than other communities along the Thames, as most of the craft are of a similar size and appearance. These are certainly some of the most luxurious houseboats on the Thames, which is reflected in the initial claim that 'the developer seeks to create a waterside community with the best quality modern houseboat design to compliment the land based development.' [4]

In August 2016, River Homes, specialist estate agents in the sale of river and riverside property, had a converted oil tanker on its books at

£850,000 which 'had been designed with art collectors in mind and benefits from ample full-height wall space for new or established collections'. Boats moored at Wandsworth Riverside Quarter are currently offered a 50-year residential licence. Residents of this secure, gated mooring with enjoy the added benefit of use of the development's facilities including 24 hour concierge/security, restaurants, residents' gym, steam room, hot tub and swimming pool. The maintenance and mooring rental are £24,000 a year [5].

Interviews & research by Anna Coombes

Notes

  1. http://www.capstudios.co.uk/documents/ProspectQuay.pdf
  2. Notes from Joeske Van Walsum
  3. http://www.riverhomes.co.uk/
  4. http://www.humberts-leisure.com/uploads/media/rq_moorings.pdf
  5. http://www.riverhomes.co.uk/

Residents living afloat

Mike and Mel Skjott, Riverside Quarter Residents

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Our life on the river began in 2013 when our daughter was just starting school, but the idea to move into a houseboat began when she was only a tiny baby. Friends and family thought we were slightly mad, but everyone now loves coming on board as our moorings have such a holiday feel. For us, there are so many things that make it special - the tide, changing views, serenity, birdlife, being in the middle of London with no traffic and very little noise, and the light and space we've managed to achieve within our home. We can't imagine living back on land now!

Rachel, Hans and Joeske van Walsum, Prospect Quay Residents

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With Maggie the ship's cat, in our wonderful country house style kitchen with even a Rayburn. We bought this boat when we returned in 2011 from our boat trip from Putney to Istanbul, via the inland waterways of Europe, an eight month adventure (in a boat just 10 meters long when our boy was just two and a half). Living on Longfellow we feel like we are still on the same journey, an everlasting romance (and yes, hard work)!