Onboard Barking’s boat Airbnb which served in two World Wars

14:02 10 November 2016

Vic, Dan and  Zoya Rossi rent out rooms on their boat on Airbnb

Vic, Dan and Zoya Rossi rent out rooms on their boat on Airbnb


As a veteran of two World Wars and decades in industry, the JJ Prior is not your average bed and breakfast.

The boat's exteriorThe boat's exterior

Moored in the River Roding on the banks of Barking’s Fresh Wharf Estate, the six-bedroom floating home is one of the borough’s more interesting Airbnb offerings.

Originally commissioned as a landing craft to carry hundreds of troops to the beaches of Gallipoli between 1915 and 1916, the boat also played a role in one of the most famous military rescues of all-time when it brought Allied soldiers back to Blighty from the shores of Dunkirk in 1940.

Brothers Vic, 33, and Dan Rossi, 39, together with Vic’s wife Zoya, 27, bought the ship –complete with sauna – for £187,000 in May and now rent out two of the bedrooms as a way of meeting new people.

“If this was on land it would probably be worth close to a million pounds,” said Dan. “If you’d told me this time last year that I’d be living in a place with a sauna within 12 months I wouldn’t have believed you.”

The high ceilings surprised our reporterThe high ceilings surprised our reporter

The trio had been living in a small flat in Rotherhithe until snapping up the vehicle, which quantity surveyor John Dunford, 45, has spent the past 10 years completely transforming from the shell it once was.

“I’m just a practical sort of person, I like getting my hands dirty and doing stuff,” he said. “It beats sitting around watching TV.”

Rooms cost £40 a night. Visit for more details.

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