La Baronesse


La Baronesse was built in 1912 at Dordrecht in Holland. At the end of the
Second World War her name was changed to “Vrijheid” or “Freedom”, as were 98.2% of all
Dutch Barges. (Source – research at Wolverhampton University Spelling Club)
She later evolved into Smaragd 3 which we couldn’t pronounce and retain the integrity of
our sinuses.

Turning the nameplate on the wheelhouse round, revealed “La Baronesse”, which seemed
to fit her. She’s big, somewhat blousy and suggestive of a dubious past. Which is in fact
what she had. For an indeterminate period at an indeterminate time in her past, she operated as a licenced brothel up and down the Dutch canals with the sign on the front that read:


The vendors were somewhat vague as to when this trade finished, but she had a bar, a
dancing pole, a blue shag pile carpet from half way up one wall to half way up the other, and
two very dubious cubicles leading off the bar with nothing in each but a double bed, and a
window looking in from the bar.

Our crossing skipper said that she is not so much a live-aboard barge as a Business Plan.
Much to the annoyance of our friends, we gutted the interior and now she has two large
double bedrooms, a galley/breakfast room, (the cabinets having been made out of October
1987 hurricane felled poplar trees from our back garden) a 20 foot saloon and a real
bathroom (with a bidet even), all in 81 feet by 14.

She is powered by a big old 157 horse power Scania Vabis six cylinder lorry engine, that
drove her across the North Sea from Rotterdam at eleven knots. She has decks fore and aft on which we sit on a summer’s evening.


Comments are closed on this post.

All rights reserved for Tower Bridge Moorings