London has always been one of the busiest metropolitan areas of the world. One of the Planet’s leading financial and cultural centres – the British capital, is home to more than 13 million inhabitants. The growing population of the city in relation to the chronic shortage and unaffordability of conventional housing has created a demand for alternate places in which to live.
Houseboats are the one of the most popular of these alternatives. Around 100,000 people living across London’s canals. The cost of a boat can be dramatically cheaper than a flat of the same size, and can offer a slower pace of life within the busy capital. Canals today are populated with growing linear ‘villages’ within London’s waters. These communities are very diverse, they consist of young couples, artists, musicians, families, as well as elderly couples. There is also an increasing number of more vulnerable people who choose houseboats as an affordable way of life.
It is Saturday morning in Kensal Green. The peaceful landscape across the Grand Union Canal is coloured by plenty of sunlight, colourful boats, swans and a metallic structure of the gas work popping up behind the concrete. You can see many kinds of narrowboats, many colour and sizes. Each and every boat is as unique as their owners. Yan is one of them. He’s working in the entertainment industry but is also a very talented musician. He and his boat have been travelling around London’s canals for almost 9 years, and every two or three weeks he visits one of the 2000 moorings along London’s canal network. Every boat has to move from one place to another so often as a permanent mooring license costs thousands of pounds every year.
Andy and Emily a young couple, have their own boats, where they also first met. For them, it is not a last resort but the way of life they chose. Emily was studying in Manchester and she met Andy in Furness Vale, a small village near there. When she decided to move to London she had nowhere to live, so she decided to rent a boat in order to experience another lifestyle, one which was meant to be her own lifestyle. She and Andy finally bought their own boats. Since then, they are always on board!