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Former historic Balliol Oxford College barge is now a converted houseboat for sale for £135,000

A former historic Balliol Oxford College barge that was also used as a viewing platform at Henley Regatta is now a converted houseboat that is up for grabs for £135,000.

The stylish houseboat dates back to the early 1800s and retains many original features after being beautifully renovated.

The houseboat is being sold by Absolute Homes, which described it as an ‘amazing home’ and a ‘piece of history’.

The former historic Balliol Oxford College barge is on the market with a price tag of £135,000 The former historic Balliol Oxford College barge is on the market with a price tag of £135,000

The former historic Balliol Oxford College barge is on the market with a price tag of £135,000

The stylish houseboat dates back to the early 1800s and retains many original features after being beautifully renovated The stylish houseboat dates back to the early 1800s and retains many original features after being beautifully renovated

The stylish houseboat dates back to the early 1800s and retains many original features after being beautifully renovated

The agent explained: ‘Not only were these barges very agreeable meeting places and viewing platforms during Eights Week, they were commonly towed down to Henley to serve the same purpose during the Royal Regatta.

‘The final abandonment of barges between the mid-1950s and the late 1970s were all in favour of land-based boathouses, making the remaining vessels rare items. 

‘Balliol College Oxford, purchased this barge in 1837 from the City of London Livery Skinners’ Company to use as changing rooms, common room and viewing stand.

‘It is only one of six known to still be in existence and was the last barge to be built.’

During the past five years, the vessel has been fully refurbished and includes a 31 foot entertaining space During the past five years, the vessel has been fully refurbished and includes a 31 foot entertaining space

During the past five years, the vessel has been fully refurbished and includes a 31 foot entertaining space

The open-plan living room boasts sash windows on both sides as well as a barrelled and vaulted oak ceiling The open-plan living room boasts sash windows on both sides as well as a barrelled and vaulted oak ceiling

The open-plan living room boasts sash windows on both sides as well as a barrelled and vaulted oak ceiling

During the past five years, the vessel has been fully refurbished and includes a 31 foot entertaining space.

This area includes an open-plan kitchen and sash windows on both sides as well as a barrelled and vaulted oak ceiling.

The luxury fitted kitchen has white wall and base cabinets and a contrasting dark worktop – and there are two double bedrooms, both with en-suites.

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The boat is currently moored in Thames Ditton and its asking price is significantly cheaper than the average house price.

Its £135,000 price tag is almost a third of the average price of a property sold in Britain during the past year – which is £353,507, according to property website Zoopla.

However, the houseboat’s new buyer will need somewhere to moor the boat and mooring costs can soon add up – sometimes running into tens of thousands of pounds a year.

This vessel is currently at Barge Walk in Thames Ditton’s Ferry Lane and is available to buy as a ‘boat only’ to be moved away to another mooring or on a mooring at Barge Walk by separate agreement.

That agreement would be with the area’s marina and would be for an annually renewable and payable mooring fee of £12,600, plus VAT.

The sale is for the boat only and the mooring is available by a separate agreement The sale is for the boat only and the mooring is available by a separate agreement

The sale is for the boat only and the mooring is available by a separate agreement

There are two double bedrooms, both with en-suites with modern fixtures and fittings There are two double bedrooms, both with en-suites with modern fixtures and fittings

There are two double bedrooms, both with en-suites with modern fixtures and fittings

This bright double bedroom includes plenty of windows that allow the light to flood in This bright double bedroom includes plenty of windows that allow the light to flood in

This bright double bedroom includes plenty of windows that allow the light to flood in

It comes as figures show a significant number of people continue to choose to live on boats.

The Canal and River Trust found that the number of people using their boat as a home to live on stood at 21 per cent in 2022, falling from a peak of 28 per cent in 2019.

The trust’s Matthew Symonds warned that living on a boat is not for everyone.

He said: ‘Boat living can be a fantastic way of life and remains a popular choice among boaters, particularly in our cities. 

‘It comes with its own challenges – having to fill up with water, empty your toilets, and do lots of hands-on maintenance. 

Sometimes people can get a bit of a shock when they realise it’s not just a floating house, their toilet tank is full, their engine is broken, and they are moored far away from the nearest facilities 

‘There’s also a significant time cost involved if you don’t have a home mooring as you have to move your boat every 14 days to somewhere new and, in busier areas, may find yourself struggling to find a convenient spot. This can almost be like a part-time job.

‘Sometimes people can get a bit of a shock when they realise it’s not just a floating house, their toilet tank is full, their engine is broken, and they are moored far away from the nearest facilities. 

‘So we advise that you should only move aboard if you really love the lifestyle.’

Those living on a boat can opt for a permanent mooring, which is somewhere they can keep their boat all the time. But this can be expensive.

Alternatively, they must keep moving to a new spot every fortnight.

Mr Symonds added: ‘If they are not tied to an area they can do what’s known as continuously cruise – being on a genuine journey, moving at least every 14 days. 

‘Legally you can’t go back and forth between two spots, and we recommend that your range should be at least 20 miles a year.

‘Obviously this type of roaming lifestyle isn’t for everyone and can take a lot of planning if you have to get to a place regularly for work.’

Best mortgages Read more: www.zoopla.co.uk…

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