A hundred years of the Barge

Call for local stories to mark the Barge centenary

On the 100th birthday of the ONCA Barge, we’re searching for information and stories about its history.

This iconic boat is widely remembered as the Brighton Floating Pagoda – a popular Chinese restaurant with a pagoda-style roof that closed down in 2016. Fewer people know that its old name was Selby Virgo; it was one of many barges built specifically for use in the Humber Estuary and the rivers Trent and Ouse. It conveyed seed, grain and nuts arriving at the Hull docks to warehouses and mills dotted along the water courses. Today, ONCA Barge at Brighton Marina operates as a community centred learning space that supports artist development and offers a programme of creative activities in East Brighton.

Do you have memories of the Barge? What has it meant to you? We are looking for stories, writing, photos – any snippets of information or memory at all. We’d like to put together a picture of the world when the Barge was built in 1921 and how it has changed in the past century, to explore how its story fits into the story of ecological, economic and social change in Brighton and internationally.

Please email with anything to share, or to set up a call or meeting. Thank you!

Deadline: 30 October, 2022