The Random Thoughts of a Geek heading for Banbury
The Random Thoughts of a Geek heading for Banbury

Narrowboat Empress is for sale

This boat is on our old morring, she is a Beautiful, spacious, unusual 45′ narrowboat for sale in Manchester city centre:

Moored at New Islington Marina, Ancoats (10 minutes from Northern Quarter). The waiting list for this city-centre marina is currently two years. This is a great opportunity to own an your own home and live affordably in the city centre.

  • Spacious and modern with an open-plan layout
  • A large roof light pours light into the living area
  • A sturdy, strong boat with a good sound hull
  • Lovingly renovated from scratch 2012-16

£35,000 (no offers)
Contact Emma on 01471 833 225
or email [email protected]


  • Bedroom with double bed and two built-in wardrobes
  • Bathroom with shower and cassette toilet
  • Efficient multi-fuel stove (really warm in winter!)
  • Open plan living space with fitted kitchen, dining and sofa area
  • Hot & cold running water
  • Gas cooker with hob, grill and oven
  • Loads of electric sockets throughout the boat
  • Beautiful big skylight pours light into the boat and creates a light, airy atmosphere
  • Hand-made solid oak doors
  • Deck areas at front and back for plants/seating
  • Wider than most narrowboats – has an extra 2′ which makes a big difference
  • Part furnished: Double bed, sofa, Ikea kitchen, fridge, cooker
  • Length 45′ | Beam (width) 8″
  • All-steel construction | Complete exterior re-paint July 2015
  • Steel hull completely replated to 10mm. Blacked in March 2014
  • Recent boat safety examination – certificate valid til Sept 2018
  • Engine: Perkins diesel 5107 – starts and runs great

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is Empress?

She is on the Rochdale Canal at New Islington Marina in Ancoats, ten minutes’ walk from Manchester’s Northern Quarter and 20 minutes from the city centre.

What are the costs of mooring etc?

Around £100 per month for a secure, serviced marina mooring (‘serviced’ meaning a mains electricity hook-up, a water point for filling the tank, and an Elsan point where you empty your toilet.)

Canal & River Trust licence fee is around £100 per month.

Other costs?

A 13kg gas bottle (for cooking and hot water) costs around £25.

No heating costs in summer, a little on wood/coal on chillier days in spring/autumn. In winter I spend around £20 per week on coal (including delivery).

If you’re going out cruising, you’ll need diesel too, (around £1 per litre last time I cruised).

Coal, wood, gas and diesel are delivered to the marina every two weeks. There is a full gas bottle, a bag of coal and several boxes of firewood on board, sold with the boat.

Do you feel safe and secure?

Yes. Obviously living in the city centre you need to take sensible precautions, but I’ve never felt unsafe.

The marina forms part of a public park. Empress’ mooring is in the secure part of the marina, which is locked and private at night. The marina is friendly and boaters look out for each other.

Can you work from home? What about internet?

Yes. I get 4G internet via a dongle and by tethering my mobile phone – it works fine. My partner is a web designer and has often worked from home on the boat.

How do you do laundry?

There are shared laundry facilities in the boatman’s hut – two washing machines and space to hang out and dry your clothes. Some boaters prefer to use a local launderette.

Aren’t you cold in winter?

Not at all – the multi-fuel stove is more than adequate for a boat this size and keeps Empress so toasty that I’m usually warmer in winter than summer!

It can be chilly first thing in the morning if the fire goes out overnight, but there is a knack to keeping it in so you have a gentle glow in the morning. There is also an electric heater if you want extra heat.

Do you have a hull survey for the boat?

No. A professional surveyor checked the hull in 2012 and gave verbal advice. Though the hull was sound (mostly 4mm at that point), I had the hull completely replated to 10mm thickness (far thicker than most narrowboat hulls). There was then no point in paying for a written survey as I knew that the hull is sound.

The hull was last blacked in March 2014 so it is advisable to do this again in 2017.

What about the engine? Any quirks?

The engine is a Perkins diesel 5107 – a good, sturdy engine. It starts fine and cruises all day. It was fully serviced in March 2016.

What about ‘continuous cruising’?

Continuous cruising is a travelling way of life where you keep your boat moving on a slow, steady journey. You can stay in most spots for up to two weeks. You can fill your water tank/empty your loo at regular boat stations or marinas along the way. Here’s some info from the Canal & River Trust about ‘CCing’.

What work / DIY would you do next if you were keeping her?

More decorating and finishing touches, such as trim and skirting. Tiles along the back of the kitchen sink and at the back of the surface in the bathroom.

Painting the engine compartment. I always imagined it to be bright white and gleaming but I never got around to it.

A sink in the bathroom. All the plumbing is there for hot and cold water but I have never connected a sink.

12v lighting and sockets. I had the leisure batteries installed and these are connected to a service box inside the boat. Essentially this is all ready to go for someone who wants to do it. I tended to use candles when I cruised and much of the time I have been in a serviced marina.

Is it a hard life?

I won’t pretend that living on a boat is luxurious. Life is fairly basic, and hard work. You spend plenty of time outdoors bringing in wood/coal, filling the tank and so on. Nobody likes emptying their toilet but that’s just the way it is – it’s not actually difficult. Sometimes things don’t work, sometimes you run out of coal, sometimes it’s just a bit too hard. But you get through it.

There’s always something to fix or improve on a boat. Having a boat is like having a never-ending Saturday DIY project, so be prepared to spend a lot of time working on it.

On the other hand it is a beautiful adventure. I’ve seen more kingfishers than I can count in one year of living aboard, the geese call each evening as they fly home to the marina, swans peck on the hull for bread. Waking up on a bright autumn morning and watching the mist on the canal with a cup of coffee is one of life’s most beautiful pleasures. Sitting on top of the cabin with a cider in the evening summer sunshine is another joy.

There is no better way to see the seasons changing than from the canal, and no more sociable way of life than the boaters’. I would recommend boat-life to anyone who is up for doing things a little differently and doesn’t mind a bit of hard work.

Help! I’m interested, but I don’t know anything about living on a boat!

Don’t worry, I’ve written a helpful manual to explain how the main things work.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.