Locus Focus


“I was in the dentist waiting room and I picked up a Country Life [magazine] and there it was for sale,” recalled David Gilmour, pondering on his fortunate opportunity to acquire the magnificent Astoria houseboat. “So I rang them up and came down and had a look and bought it. I didn’t even think about putting a studio in it at first. It was just very, very beautiful, a magical place.” Moored on the River Thames at Hampton, the palatial Astoria has been owned by Gilmour since 1986 and converted for use as a recording studio. It was built in 1911 for theatre impresario Fred Karno and the Edwardian vessel’s recording facilities were installed mostly for the exclusive use of Pink Floyd and the creation of Gilmour’s solo albums. Floyd’s A Momentary Lapse of Reason (1987) was the first recorded there and Gilmour’s Rattle That Lock (2015) the latest. Ninety-foot long in total, the studio control room is surprisingly large at 30ft x 20ft considering the restrictions of the water-based craft, which once also accommodated a 90-piece concert orchestra on deck. Aside from the inspirational working environment, the Astoria is equipped with a comfortable lounge, kitchen, bathroom and three bedrooms.

Moored on the River Thames at Hampton Court Road, West London, the Astoria is location No.265 in the new edition of Rock Atlas UK & Ireland, published by Red Planet.