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Tony Flynn
Phil Austin or 'Barnacle Phil' as he shall now be known is not only the owner of the famous Monton Lighthouse but also the proud owner of a magnificent gentleman's cruising boat moored outside the Lighthouse, which he kindly showed me around.

The boat which was built in 1891 is an exact replica of the boat used by Queen Victoria when she visited Worsley in 1851, alighting at Patricroft train station before transferring to a horse drawn barge to Worsley to visit the Duke of Bridgewater. 

It is recorded that the said about her canal trip to Worsley, how she, "enjoyed the silent glide through the countryside", as you can imagine at that time Monton was still a fairly rural hamlet. 

To help recreate that "silent glide", Phil has converted the boat, Victoria R, from a diesel engine to an electric one. This is a 72 volt, 50 amp motor, powered by 36 batteries housed in concealed comparments, giving a running time of 16 hours of cruising time, on one charge. 

Phil has ambitious plans for the Victoria R, it is 250 years of the opening of the Bridgewater canal and next year will be the 160th anniversary of the visit of Queen Victoria. 

Plans are afoot to celebrate this event, with Phil hoping to get a member of the Royal family to reenact the canal journey that Queen Victoria made in 1851, this time on the Victoria R. 

This article first appeared on SalfordOnline on the 22nd of April 2010, it is lovingly reproduced here with the many thanks of noted historian Mr Tony Flynn, a man who we are told is no stranger to cruising.

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