New Boathouse for Vintage Collection Submitted for Planning

Plans to convert the old Hobbs boatyard on the Wargrave Road into a new home for the Rose Toop vintage boat collection were recently submitted to Wokingham District Council. 

The site was acquired by Adam Toop from Hobbs of Henley in October 2020.  He plans to make a substantial investment to redevelop the site which, if approved, will see the agricultural barns converted into a glass fronted, wooden clad building that will display this beautiful and significant collection of vintage boats and associated artefacts. 

The 37 boat and river artefact collection, dating from 1890-1940, was started by Bill and Penny Rose from Shiplake in the 1960s.  Adam invested and became custodian of the Rose Collection in 2011. 

Adam’s own boat collection started in 1998 with a 5ft clinker dinghy powered by a Stuart Turner engine.  It now features a number of distinctive boats, including a 1922 Camper & Nicholson Gelyce-Class tender that he rescued from Italy and subsequently restored. His love of vintage boats also led him to become Chief Judge at the Thames Traditional Boat Festival in 2018 and co-Chair, alongside Lady McAlpine, from 2019. 

The new boatyard will be operated on a not-for-profit basis.  Inside the building will be a mezzanine first-floor viewing area for visitors to look down on the boats below and outside there will be a small number of floating pontoons, set within a new cutting, to display boats from the collection.  Some of these pontoons will also be available to rent by owners of traditional day boats.   

The mezzanine area will also be used to safely house associated library/archives, memorabilia/ephemera belonging to the Rose-Toop Collection and for the provision of occasional meeting space for visiting groups, clubs and societies. Plans also propose a single storey workshop extension on the north-western side of the existing building (adjoined and running parallel to the existing barn) to provide a bespoke workshop, restoration and maintenance space for boats in the Collection. 

Adam said, “Over the past 12 months we have been very busy sharing our proposals with many interested parties, carefully listening to invaluable feedback before factoring it into the plans.  Our proposals have now been refined and evolved to a point where they represent a truly compelling proposition that provides for dramatically improved facilities and public amenity, along with support for small businesses.  Importantly, they also provide for substantial improvements to the visual character of the boatyard, befitting a site of such prominence and setting it far more sensitively within its riparian surroundings.” 

“In addition to safely storing, maintaining and showing the Collection and archives, we are equally committed to nurturing the boatyard as a vibrant, traditional boating hub on this key reach of the upper Thames.  Our plans include new floating moorings and, as access to this part of the river can be difficult during the busiest summer months, we are committed to providing complimentary use of the new facilities in support of recognised clubs and societies that promote the use and conservation of traditional, non-powered craft.  

To read more about the plans go to