Cowes Letter Collector to Board 1905 - 1906

Letters Book held in the National Archives reference CUST 61/59

Transcribed entries are in Black, entries in Blue relate summarized and other material included the Book. Entries in Italics reflect some degree of uncertainty.

Unless otherwise stated the Letters are signed by Collector, A H Drumgoole.


4 May 1905                   I beg to seek your Honours sanction to the engagement of the launch which will be necessary for boarding &c. during the approaching yachting season at this port, and submit that the engagement should be for a similar period to last year,  - from the 23 proximo to the 31 August covering the busiest weeks of the season.

The recent rapid development of the motor has had such an unfavourable effect on the trade in small steam launches that I have not been able to hear of one of the latter craft being for hire , and I have, accordingly, to recommend to your Honours that a motor launch should be hired this year. I forward an offer from the Mitcham Motor Company Limited, of this port, to supply such a launch for the weeks in question at a weekly inclusive rate of £10 – 0 – 0 and submit that this tender may be accepted.


9 May 1905                   I have been down to the Mitcham Motor Company’s yard this morning learn from the Managing Director that the price of the launch which I trust will be accepted for the Crowns serviced this summer would be about £300. She is a beautiful boat, stout and seaworthy although a fine model, much too good for service purposes on the ordinary way, built of cedar and very well finished. A strong useful boat of the same dimensions (23 ft by 6 ft 2 ins), quite fit for service purposes would, the Managing Director of the Company tells me be built of elm and engined for about £250 complete. The motor will be of 7 hp and should drive her at 8 miles per hour, - a very good speed for a launch, - with a consumption of about one pint of petrol per horse power per hour. I believe that the retail price of petrol is about 1/- per gallon, but a cargo landed here the other day was entered at 6d per gallon by the wholesale people, so that, no doubt, if bought in quantities or contracted for, the price would be something under the shilling. One man could drive and steer, and I am told that the life of the motor is as long as that of the ordinary launch engine, while it is much less troublesome in use. The Mitcham Company fit all their launches with the “F and B” 2 cycle valveless motor (the 4 cycle motors are fitted with valves and are not so satisfactory in use), the most expensive on the market, but much the most satisfactory in operation and capable of very hard work. Speaking without the least technical knowledge, my opinion is, of course, of little value, but I must say that when I went out the other day with the Managing Director of the company in one of their launches, I was amazed by what he shewed me is the course of the run. The motor occupies the smallest space; runs with scarcely any vibration and absolutely without smell or offence; is water cooled all over; stops instantaneously and starts almost instantaneously; and by the pressure of a lever the engine can be at once reversed even while running at top speed. The cylinders are independent, and in the case of the breakdown of one, the boat can be run with the other. For work like runs, in which there are intervals, more or less long of waiting, the motor has an immense advantage over the steam engine, in as much as there need be no intermediate stoking of the fire.

These motors have been fitted to small yachts up to 14 and 15 HP with very satisfactory results and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution have had one of their boats fitted with one, - the “J McConnell Hussey”. I think, however, that for boats of larger power than good sized launches there is, at present, some risk attending the storage on board of the comparatively large quantities required for motive power.

The effect of the development of the motor on the steam launch industry here has been quite disastrous. An old established firm of builders with a high reputation have not taken an order for more than twelve months. It is not surprising that this should be so. Should their Honours sanction the engagement of the launch offered, I shall look forward to the approaching season relieved of much of the anxiety which I should have apprehended at a repetition of the harassing and vexatious breakdowns and petty delays which have occurred during recent seasons.

Many thanks for your kind enquiry. I am most thankful to say that I am quite well again and, though I have no desire to repeat such an experience, I believe I am now even fit to take on Blyth again under the old conditions – for a time. The weather is lovely, and Cowes is looking its best after the long dreariness of winter.

I trust I have succeeded in giving some information which will be of service.


16 May 1905     Extract from the Board’s Order of 16th May on the Return of Ages and Capacities 1904

The Collector, Cowes to appraise Mr Stokes, Preventive Officer, Lower Section, that the Board will submit his case to the Treasury for retirement from the 17th January next inclusive.


20 May 1905     From T M Lewis, Second Officer, to the Board

With reference to my transfer from Belfast to Cowes, I respectfully beg to be allowed the cost of a return journey to Belfast amounting to £3 – 2 – 5.

Owing to my wife’s delicate state of health and the tender age of my children, I could not bring them here until I had succeeded in obtaining a suitable residence to which they could be taken. Having obtained a house it was necessary for me to return to Belfast to fetch them as they could not travel so far alone, more especially as the journey includes a seven hour sea voyage, in addition to a very long and tiresome railway journey.

In asking this concession, I beg to point out that no additional expense has been incurred as the total amount of my claim for lodgings will be £2 – 12 – 0, whereas had I brought my wife and family with me at first the cost of apartments would have been about 30/- from the 12th April (date of my arrival here) to 13th May (date when furniture was unpacked), in all about £6 – 10 – 0. (This application was supported by the Collector and approved by the Board.)


25 May 1905                 s/y “Kethailes” Antwerp/Cowes

Seizure of 1 lb  FM Cavendish Tobacco concealed in a quantity of rope in the Boatswain’s Store and owned by J McRae, AB, who deposits treble vale and duty, 19/-, to abide by the Boards decision.

Seizing Officers:            W T Stokes, P.O.

                                    E J Osborne, Boatman

                                    A S Cassell, Boatman (Detecting Officer)

                                    A J H Titheridge

Collectors Comment under I Code Par. 931

No special circumstances. Apparently a most deliberate concealment in the face of warnings from the Master of the yacht. (Seizure was confirmed and deposit brought to account as a fine.)


9 June 1905                   On the 1 inst. the French Ketch “Louisa Anne” arrived here from St Malo with a cargo of slates intended for discharge at Newport. As the vessel drew too much water to proceed to that place, the agent applied to me for permission to discharge the cargo into lighters at a point in the River Medina about midway between this and Newport. I granted the required permission and allowed the vessel to proceed for discharge.

She was rummaged in the Roads here on arrival on the 1 inst., and commenced to work out cargo on the 3 inst. On the 5 inst. the Officers visited her, by boat, and re-rummaged her whilst discharging. The cargo was all out yesterday, the 7 inst., when the Officers again proceeded to her, by boat and finally re-rummaged and cleared her inwards. The cargo was in bulk.

No expenses have been incurred, and I now submit the proceedings for approval.  


17 June 1905                 Cutter yacht “Achilla” of Liverpool, O N 86007, 23.93 register

Owners:            T Goode, Dun Edin, Twickenham

                        H L Thornhill, 80 Avenue Road, Regent’s Park, NW

I beg to report that this yacht, from Cherbourg, early in the morning of the 13 inst. landed a passenger at Calshot, at the entrance to Southampton Water, without coming to a Boarding Station, and subsequently cruised in the neighbouring waters till about 5 pm of the same day when she anchored in the Roads, hoisted her ensign, and was then boarded and rummaged by the local officers.

Messrs. Goode and Thornhill were both on board, the former in charge, and on the morning of the 14, the facts having been reported to me, I saw the latter personally and fully explained the provisions of the law on the subject, shewing him the enactment (46 and 47 Vict. c 55 s 5) which had been contravened. I also addressed a letter to Mr Goode calling for an explanation as to what had occurred, for your Honours consideration. Mr Thornhill verbally expressed much regret for the infringement of the law which had taken place, and promised, on behalf of the co-owner and himself, that the explanation called for should be immediately furnished and a sum of Two Pounds deposited to abide your Honors decision. He then left the office, and immediately after the yacht weighed anchor and left the Roads, since when I have received no communication of any kind from either of the gentlemen concerned.

I therefore submit this report of the facts for your Honours directions.

(A letter of explanation was subsequently received. The Board instructed the Collector to write to the Chief Officer of Coastguard at Calshot and it transpired that they had taken the passenger from Calshot to Southampton. They stated that they thought that the “Achilla” had come from Portland, although they had not specifically asked, and also stated that she had an (quarantine) ensign flying. In view of the uncertainty, the Board waived prosecution but took the whole £2 as a fine. This incident resulted in the Collector making a request for 50 Copies of this notice, dated 1885, which had to be reprinted as the total stock in hand was 2. The Superintendent of Waterguard confirmed that the wording was still correct.)



1 July 1905        From T M Lewis, Second Officer, to the Board.

I understand that a vacancy for Chief Officer is about to occur at the Port of Fleetwood, and respectfully beg that I may be appointed thereto.

In September last I made an application for appointment as Clerk-in-Charge, a position for which I was strongly recommended by my then Collector (Mr Hynes, Belfast) but who informed me that no vacancy existed.

If the position for which I am now asking is not filled, I trust your Honours will favourably consider my application.


1 July 1905                    At the request of Mr Tom M Lewis, Clerk Class II, Upper Section and Second Officer, transferred to this port from Belfast by your Honours Order 4854/1905, I forward the enclosed application in which he prays your Honours will appoint him to the Office of Chief Officer at Fleetwood in the event of its being vacant.

Mr Lewis was admitted to duty here on the 13th April last, and was granted leave of absence from the 29th of that month till the 13th May. His actual service under my survey has, therefore, been so short, 52 days, that it would not become me to comment on his application. I submit only that the Collector Belfast would doubtless be in a position to speak fully as to Mr Lewis’s capabilities. (The Collector was told to inform Mr Lewis that the vacancy had been filled by another Officer.) 


5 July 1905        Telegram from the Board

Please report if possible tonight what progress has been made with the building of the three pinnaces subject of your report of 13 December 1904.

5 July 1905        In obedience to your Honours telegraphic instructions which reached me at 6 pm today, I have just visited the building yards of Messrs J Samuel White and Company Limited and beg to report as follows.

The two 56 feet pinnaces are planked and have their timbers in. They are still on the stocks and some months’ work will be necessary to finish them.

The 36 foot steam launch is in a much more forward condition. She, also, is still on the stocks, but the hull is practically complete, and the engine and boiler were put in her yesterday, though they have not been connected up. About three weeks’ work still remains to be done on her.

The construction of the launch has been rapidly pushed forward as the Japanese Officers who are supervising the building have expressed to the builder a desire to have her available in Cowes Week (commencing on the 7 proximo), when the French fleet is expected to visit this port, and the Japanese Officers doubtless desire to use the launch for the purpose of paying and returning official visits. Nothing in the way of armament will be done at this port. And I beg that your Honours will instruct me whether any obstacle need be placed in the way of launching the craft, and her employment for the purpose intended. (This information was passed to the Foreign Office, the reason apparently being hostilities between Japan and Russia. White’s were asked not to deliver the vessels until such times as hostilities ceased, but they stated this was out of their control as they were sub-contractors for Sir W Armstrong Whitworth and Company Limited, and the vessels were to be delivered to them. The Collector informed the board that they had been awarded a contract for 3 further pinnaces again as sub-contractors for Armstrong Whitworth.)


7 July 1905                    As directed by your Honours’ Order of 5 inst., I beg to furnish details of all:

            Ships of War now being built or completed at this port

            Ships of War for the building of which orders are in hand

I have visited the building yards at this port personally before preparing this Return, and have also found a numbers of rowing boats on order and in constructions for our own Coastguard and Naval Services. At one of the yards as well there is a small petrol launch (35 ft. x 5 ft. x 3ft. 1½ in.) being built for the Egyptian Government, but as it is for Police Service only, and not to be armed, I have not returned her.


J Samuel White

4 x 45 ft. Steam Pinnaces for the British Government

9 x 56 ft. Steam Pinnaces for the British Government

2 x 60 ft. Steel Steam Launches for the British Government

2 x Torpedo Boat Destroyers for the British Government

40 ft. Steel Steam Pinnace for the Italian Government

2 x 56 ft. Steam Pinnaces for the Japanese Government

36 ft. Steam Pinnace for the Japanese Government

5 Coastal Torpedo Boat Destroyers for the British Government

2 x 56 ft. Steam Pinnaces for the Japanese Government

36 ft. Steam Pinnace for the Japanese Government

W White & Son

5 x 52½ ft. Harbour Service Launches for the British Government

H S Hansen & Co.

6 x 60 ft. Steam Pinnaces for the British Government

4 x 40 ft. Steam Pinnaces for the British Government


11 July 1905                         Seizure from H Wells, Mate of the “Gauntlet” Steam Tug of London made by made by William H Galley, Chief Boatman, Ventnor Coast Guard. Goods (unspecified) were concealed on the person of the offender when landing on Ventnor Beach. “Allowed to deposit treble duty paid value (£1 – 10 – 0) in lieu of being proceeded against in the Magistrates Court. Option offered by the Collector over the telephone to the Coast Guard Station, but as tug sailed immediately thereafter it was not possible to obtain Weller’s signature to the usual receipt slip.”


12 July 1905      Memo from Mr Montague (Position unknown) to the Deputy Chairman (following the Collectors report on the above).

I think we should take the heaviest possible fine in this case. During my recent stay at Ventnor, I spent a good deal of time in watching these tugs – usually about 4 in number – and wondered, when seeing them depart to take charge of a vessel and noticing the number of boats visiting them on their return, whether our regulation and arrangements, were sufficient to prevent petty smuggling. I do not think there is any smuggling on a large scale, but there are plenty of opportunities for petty smuggling and a full penalty in this case may discourage it.

I agree with Mr Dromgoole that a careful watch should be kept on these tugs and it may strengthen his hand if a letter be sent to the Admiral Commanding Coast Guard and Naval Services reporting this case and asking that the C G be enjoined to exercise special vigilance.

12 July 1905      Memo by the Deputy Chairman

Hardly enough grounds for the Board to intervene, but the Collector might communicate with the local C G that he considers their watch insufficient.

(Goods were seized and the full deposit brought to account as a fine.)


11July 1905                   A period of three months having elapsed since the admission to this port of Mr Tom Lewis, Clerk Class II Upper Section, I beg, as directed by your Honours Order of the 30th March last, to report that Mr Lewis has proved himself qualified to act as an Examining Officer and has satisfactorily discharged the duties of that grade which have fallen to be performed by him since he took up duty here.


13 July 1905                  In conjunction with the seizure at Ventnor by a Chief Boatman of Coast Guard, on the 8 inst., of 10 oz. Cigars landed from the tug “Gauntlet”, from Antwerp, I received, on the 10 inst. a Letter from the Chief Officer at that Station in which he represents that he entertains a suspicion that more contraband goods were on board the vessel. As the “Gauntlet” appeared, from this communication, to have sailed from Ventnor to London as an ultimate destination, I immediately telegraphed to the Inspector of Waterguard, London, acquainting him with the Chief Officer’s suspicions and the destination of the tug & confirming my telegram by letter of the same date. I also telegraphed to the Chief Officer requesting him to inform me of the “Gauntlet’s” arrival should she return to his station.

Late on Tuesday night, the 11 inst, after the last train hence for Ventnor had left, the Chief Officer got a telephone message through to me to the effect that the “Gauntlet” was approaching her anchorage off Ventnor, and I at once warned two Boatmen to be ready to leave here by the first train yesterday morning with the necessary rummaging appliances &c. I sent E J Osborne and A S Cassell, two Officers in whom I have every confidence, on this duty – Osborne in charge – and they left by the 8.45 train yesterday. Unfortunately, within a minute of the train leaving here, I had a telegraphic intimation from the Chief Officer that the “Gauntlet” had sailed again early yesterday morning, so the Officers journey was fruitless as far as she was concerned. There were, however, three tugs lying off Ventnor, - French, Belgian and British, - and, in accordance with the instructions I had give Osborne, he and Cassell visited and thoroughly rummaged the “Industrie”, “Vulcain II” and visited the “Guiana”, which was cleared inwards at Cardiff on the 7 inst. From the Store Lists rendered by the crews of the two vessels first named, it may be seen that was not excess of dutiable stores on board either. I forward Osborne’s report of his proceedings and, should your Honours approve of my action in despatching the Officers to Ventnor, beg that payment of their travelling &c. expenses on this occasion may be sanctioned, and, also, that your Honours will authorise me to incur similar expenses when the “Gauntlet” returns to Ventnor, as I have instructed the Chief Officer there to report her arrival to me immediately.

On the general question of these tugs, I agree with Mr Montague’s memorandum of yesterday’s date, I have made reference to Papers 14387/1903, in which your Honours will find reported the conclusions which I came to when I visited Ventnor in July of that year, and from which my subsequent enquiries and experiences have given me no reason to depart. Some time after the investigation which I made on that occasion, the Inspecting Commander who was then in charge of Coast Guard was promoted from Ventnor, and I thought it well, when his successor was appointed, to send the latter the whole of the papers in 14387/1903, of which I have kept copies, with a letter, date 26 July 1904, of which I enclose the copy for your Honours information. I also enclose his reply, and, though I cannot say that I am ever free from anxiety about these vessels, to which such numerous facilities for petty smuggling are open, I believe that the Inspecting Commanders assurance of the 30 July last may be relied upon, and that his men do keep the tugs under supervision to the best of their opportunities. I feel justified in speaking with more assurance and in saying that, as Mr Montague himself concludes no illegal dealing on a large scale goes on, while, as to anything of a petty character, a punishment as your Honours have just inflicted on Wells cannot fail to have a salutary effect. (The Collectors report and requests was accepted by the Board.)

The following report appeared in the Isle of Wight County Press of the 15th July:

15 July 1905                  I have extracted from the Return furnished on 22 November last to your Honours Circular 18580/1904 particulars of the work performed on behalf of this Department by the respective Officers whose applications are herein. In the main, they agree with the statements made by the applicants themselves, though the Chief Officer at South Yarmouth has included one or two items of duty which strictly fall to be discharged by him as an Officer of Coast Guard in any event. As to item 4, he is, of course, remunerated by the Board of Trade for any Casualty Returns which he may forward. The Chief Officer at Ryde does not collect any moneys on my behalf (except when, very rarely, he sells a droit by my authority as Receiver of Wreck), such Light Dues as fall to be collected there being taken by the Customs crew which has been stationed at Ryde Pier Head since 1896 (Secretary No. 13466/1896). He is also exempted by their presence from the necessity of performing any boarding work such as is occasionally performed by his colleague at South Yarmouth. I am not aware of the principles on which your Honours award these allowances, but I think that the actual amount of work performed by the applicants would justify some such consideration as they seek.

In the case of Ryde, however, your Honours might think fit to order a reference to the Collector at Portsmouth as to whether it would be possible for the Preventive Officer in charge of the crew there to take over the Customs work in respect of which the Chief Officer of Coast Guard seeks this remuneration. It would, of course, involve a very appreciable addition to his present duties, and I do not know whether the conditions under which those duties are at present carried out – necessitating, I believe, occasional prolonged absences at Spithead &c. – would admit of his giving the necessary continuous attendance which is now given to the work by the Coast Guard.

The Collector here visits Yarmouth once per annum under General Order 61/1887, and Ryde once a quarter, under your Honours Order of 21 Oct. 1892, No. 20161/1892.

Both applicants are now supplied from this office with stationery for use in connection with their purely Customs work. (It was agreed that the crew at Ryde would take over duties performed by the Coast Guard at Ryde, and recommended that the Chief Officer of Coast Guard at South Yarmouth be given an allowance of £5 per annum.)


18 July 1905                  I submit herewith, as directed by General Order 56/1905, a statement giving particulars of the office accommodation provided for the use of Officers at this port, and, in doing so, beg to report that the accommodation so provided is sufficient, and that all the Offices are in proper condition and fit for the purposes for which they are used:

By whom provided


Particulars of accommodation

Whether Sufficient and in satisfactory condition.

Crown, by a lease by His Majesty’s Office of Works, but details of which have not been communicated to this port.

First Floor

Post Office Buildings, High Street, Cowes

Collector’s Office

Collectors Retiring Room

Long Room

Mercantile Marine Office

Store Room




King’s Warehouse

Coal Store


Watch House,

Watch House Lane,


Preventive Officer’s Office

Boatman’s Room

Boat House (& wood store)

Coal store



21 July 1905      Letter from the Board Room to the Collector.

The Chairman desires me to send you the enclosed copy of a note he has received from the British Embassy at Paris relative to certain stores which are being sent to Cowes for the Empress Eugenie’s yacht “Thistle”.

The packages might be addressed in the name of a Doctor Truffier or the Comte de Montespion who are also in the party.

The Chairman asks me to say that he wishes every facility to be given to have the stores shipped on the yacht, Duty free, under the Regulations, and he would be glad if you would cause attention to be directed to the matter so as to prevent any hitch occurring. He would also be glad to hear, in due course, that the transaction has been satisfactorily completed. (The goods were shipped at Southampton, rather than Cowes.)


1 August 1905               I arranged with Messrs. Newman and Co for the trial of their launch yesterday, and ran her, in the afternoon, over the measured mile near Osborne Bay. She behaved satisfactorily, but, a trifling hitch occurring in the working of the motor, I waited to make report of the trail until today when the defect (a clogging by sediment of the petrol pipe) has been remedied, and the boat is making a long distance run which will be very useful in working the (new) motor down.

The speed anticipated by the owners was not attained, but this was a result for which I was quite prepared, as the estimate in that respect is rarely, if ever, reached in the running of these little craft. The bottom, which is now decidedly foul, is to be rescrubbed in the course of the week, when yesterday’s figure of about 6 knots should be slightly improved upon and this is, in my judgement, fast enough for our ordinary purposes. The excellent and most satisfactory motor launch which we have in use here has achieved, over a period of nearly six weeks, an average speed of 61/3 knots, and has admirably fulfilled the requirements of the Service.

The practical Officers at Portsmouth will, doubtless, come to their own judgement as to the boat in use, but I think it right to recommend that it should not be used outside the Harbour under weather conditions of any degree of severity. (This resulted from a telegram from the Collector, Portsmouth, who was considering hiring a launch during the visit of the French fleet. It appears to have been hired for use within the Harbour, with the Portsmouth/Ryde launch working in Spithead.)


10 August 1905             On the evening of the 5 inst., on the arrival of His Majesty King at this port, I put the motor launch which is on hire at the disposal of Mr Thomas B H Cochran, M V O, D L, Deputy Governor of the Island, for the purpose of enabling him to make, as promptly as possible, the visit to His Majesty which is required from him in his official capacity, as representing Her Royal Highness Princess Henry of Battenberg, Governor of the Island, as soon as the Royal Yacht moored in the Roads.

Mr W T Stokes, Preventive Officer, steered the launch; A J Titheridge, Boatman was Bowman; and she was driven by the motor-man supplied by the Mitcham Motor Company.

Mr Cochrane now writes to me, under yesterday’s date, enclosing a sum of £1 – 0 – 0 which he wishes to be distributed among those who formed the crew of the launch on this occasion, and I beg that I may receive your Honour’s directions as to whether this gratuity may be paid to the officers concerned and the motor-man. (The report was subsequently withdrawn, the Board stated they did not want to know about it, the overtime repaid and the sum divided between the crew.)

10 August 1905             Atherfold was transferred to this port from Shoreham by your Honour’s Order 1887/1890.

He addressed his present application, verbally, on 8 inst., to the Deputy Chairman, by whose direction he has committed it to paper and handed it to me to be submitted to your Honours.

I enclose an extract from the last return of Ages and Capacities giving details of Atherfold’s service &c.

Though Atherfold appears to have felt that his capacity for official business was not sufficient for him to present himself for the examination for Preventive Officer, he is a very steady, well conducted Officer; and I submit his present application for your Honours favourable consideration.


17 August 1905             Owing to the arrangements made by the Admiralty for the berthing of the French fleet on its recent visit to this country, it so fell out that only the “Massena” lay within the limits of this port, all the other vessels being anchored within the port of Portsmouth. The flag-ship was, consequently, the only vessel reported hence to the Admiralty. No other vessel was visited by the Officers at Cowes as, after correspondence between the Collector at Portsmouth and myself, it was arranged that the other French war-vessels should be visited and dealt with by Officers under his survey, who would, it is understood, discharge all Customs work in connection with them.

The report of the departure of the “Massena” was posted on the evening of the 9 inst. on which day she proceeded to Portsmouth. The report of her coming did not go forward until the day following her actual arrival owing to the fact that that took place on the Bank Holiday, and that the report did not come before me for transmission until the following morning. I will, however, make it my personal charge to see that, in future, all such reports are posted the day of the movement. (This appears to have resulted from a complaint by the Admiralty. Most of the vessels were dealt with by the Preventive Officer, Ryde, who failed to remit the reports promptly. The Board instructed the Collector, Portsmouth, to “impress on him the importance of strictly complying with the regulations”.)


18 August 1905             Alien Immigration

With reference to your Honours’ Circular of the 14 inst., I beg to make the following report:

There is no alien immigration at this port. On two occasions during the past three years commorant vessels have, under the observation of Coast Guard Officers, landed stowaways on the coast of this Island, and such particulars as could be gathered concerning these men were furnished to the Home Office, and, later, were abstracted for the Board of Trade, on the forms of daily (No. 384) and monthly (No. 386) return provided under the Regulations. No demands on the time of Officers of the Revenue has, therefore, been made in connection with this question, nor is any likely to arise under existing conditions at this port, while none but the most infinitesimal cost has been incurred.

The Port Medical Officer here is employed under the immediate control of the Port Sanitary Authority, from whom he holds his appointment, and to whom he makes quarterly reports (the meetings of the Authority being held at those intervals). I have not been able to obtain precise information as to the amount of the Officer’s remuneration, but have reason to believe that it is at the rate of £25 per annum.


22 August 1905                   T M Lewis took leave and was replace by Mr J G Bevan, E O 2nd Class from Southampton.


30 August 1905             Having learned (by the statement of the owner himself) that the yacht “Moonstone”, Official Number 81005, arrived in the Solent on the 18 inst. from foreign territorial waters (off Nieuport, Belgium) without coming to a Boarding Station, or hoisting the usual signal to indicate arrival from foreign, I called on Mr Harold Kyrle-Morey Bellow, who is both Owner and Master of the yacht for an explanation of the circumstance, to be submitted to your Honours.

In forwarding the enclosed letter from Mr Bellow, received this morning, in reply to my request, I beg to say that I had an interview with him yesterday, when I shewed him Section 5 of the Act 46 and 47 Vict. Ch 55 , and also handed him a copy of the Notice to Owners and Masters of Yachts issued with Circular 30/1885. I have no reason to doubt that he acted under a genuine misapprehension as to his obligations under the law, or that he will really exercise in future the care to comply with its requirements which he promises, in his letter, to observe.

Mr Bellow states that the only communication between his vessel and the shore at Nieuport was a boat from the “Moonstone” sent to the latter place to seek the services of a tug, and that no stores or goods of any kind were shipped there. (He was cautioned to comply with Regulations.)


31 August 1905                   Mousell Brothers of Elizabeth Square, Eaton Street, London were allowed to remove 1 van and 89 packages of furniture and household effects under Bond from Newhaven to Chale. They originated in Switzerland.


1 September 1905          In obedience to your Honours’ Order of 10 May last, I beg to furnish the following special report on the working of the motor launch which was on hire here from 23 June until yesterday.

It gives me great pleasure to inform your Honours that both launch and motor have been most satisfactory in use. My own conclusion, (based on the experience of three years at this port,) that the Crown has never before been so well served in this respect, is amply borne out by the reports of the Officers at this port who can view the experience of the previous nine years in which hired launches have been used here.

I have taken every opportunity of being afloat in the launch, and, in addition to accompanying the Waterguard Officers in the ordinary course of their duty, have made special trips in her to Newport, Yarmouth, Ryde, Sea View, Bembridge, Beaulieu (on the mainland) &c. Although, of course, at this season of the year, no really bad weather has been experienced, I have been out in her on fairly heavy seas in which behaviour of both boat and motor has left nothing to be desired, but has, on the other hand, proved conclusively that these are not merely fair weather craft. I have tried her on many occasions on the measured mile, finding her average performance to be 61/3 knots per hour, - a speed quite sufficient, in my judgement, for ordinary Departmental work. The rapidity with which the motor can be started and brought to full speed, of reversed, and the remarkable ease and absolute control with which the boat can be manoeuvred in going alongside vessels, makes her most useful for boarding purposes.

There is no waste of fuel, or wear of boiler and engine while the boat lies waiting employment, and in actual use her consumption of petrol has been very reasonable. I append a table shewing the quantity used, from which it will be seen that the average weekly consumption has only been a trifle over 21 gallons:

Week to 29.6.05

26 gallons

Week to 6.7.05

20 gallons

Week to 13.7.05

20 gallons

Week to 20.7.05

22 gallons

Week to 17.7.05

18 gallons

Week to 3.8.05

20 gallons

Week to 10.8.05

32 gallons

Week to 17.8.05

20 gallons

Week to 24.8.05

18 gallons

Week to 31.8.05

18 gallons


214 gallons

I have learned, by enquiry from an Island firm of dealers in petrol, that the conjecture I made in May last was correct, and that it can be delivered here in 50 gallon parcels at 10d per gallon.

There have, of course, been trifling derangements of the motor in use, but, except on one occasion when, owing to faulty steering, two blades of the propeller were knocked off, their adjustment has never kept the boat off the station for more than an hour or two. Your Honours will perhaps think that my total lack of technical knowledge discounts any such opinion on my part, but I venture, notwithstanding, to express a strong conviction that half of even the very few break-downs of which I speak would ever have taken place if the Company from which the launch had been hired had been better served by the driver to whom they entrusted her. The Fay and Bowen motor which has been in use has proved to be, in my opinion, a reliable and powerful machine, but its delicate mechanism calls, it appears to me, for very more watchful and careful handling than, I regret to say has been given to this particular one.


5 September 1905     To S Scott, Collector Portsmouth

I should be glad to hear from you relative to the arrangements to carry out B O 12012/1905.

I shall be making my quarterly visit to Ryde shortly, and will communicate the Boards decision to the Chief Officer of Coast Guard there. The Customs staff there, however, being under your survey, you will no doubt acquaint the Preventive Officer with the Order.

May I ask what arrangements have been made? I already make periodic visits to Ryde, and, I suppose, it would hardly be necessary, or desirable, that I should continue to make the visits hitherto required from me merely for the purpose of examining the Arrival and Sailing Books which will in future be kept by the Officers of your staff. Perhaps you would kindly let me know your views, and, also whether you will address the Board on the subject or would prefer that I should do so? (It was agreed after consultation with the Board that supervision of the Officers at Ryde would be carried out by the Collector, Portsmouth and that arrangements would be made for information from the Arrival and Sailing Books to be sent to the Collector at Cowes. The Collector Portsmouth was to visit once a month.)


11 September 1905        I have noted and will govern myself by your Honours directions herein.

In view of the reference in your Honours Order to the question of the general introduction of motor boats into the Service, I beg to submit a letter which I received on the 29 ult. from the Mitcham Motor Company Limited, in which they quote (in reply to a verbal enquiry addressed by me to the Managing Director) a price of £230 for the fine launch used here during the past season, - boat and motor having both been quite new when let to the Department.

I venture to raise the question at this present time as a vacancy for a Boatman now exists here, consequent on the removal of A Atherfold hence to Shoreham (12568/1905), and, should your Honours contemplate the permanent establishment of a motor-launch here, there would, in my opinion, be no necessity to fill the vacancy in question, as a staff of 4 Boatmen would then be sufficient for the requirement of the port.


11 September 1905            An allowance of £10 per annum was granted to the Chief Officer of Coast Guard at South Yarmouth.


15 September 1905            Abraham Atherfold, Boatman Cowes, admitted to duty as Boatman, Shoreham.


15 September 1905        I am under the necessity of begging that your Honours will be pleased to temporarily relax the directions of the Circular of 13 Fem 1897 No. 16647/1896, and to authorise me to continue the employment of the casual extraman now engaged at this port beyond the limits of time prescribed in that Order. This application is necessary to enable me to provide for Officers’ leave at the port, owing to the fact that a vacancy on the staff of established Officers has been created by the transfer of A Atherfold, Boatman, hence to Shoreham.

The Extraman in question (W Pearce) has served 16 days continuously during the current month (3rd to 18th, both inclusive). He is a highly respectable and reliable man.

The last occasion on which your Honours granted a similar authority on my application was in August 1903.


21 September 1905            Seizure from H Phelps, A B, H M S Hermes on active service lying in Cowes Roads on 20 September at 6.30 pm. Seized by A S Cassell for being illegally landed at Cowes Pontoon. Treble duty paid value of 13/9 deposited to abide by the Boards decision (No quantity given).


23 September 1905        The Boarding station here covers between its Eastern and Western limits, a length of three miles, and the vessels to which the Boarding Officers have to attend lie at distances of from a few hundred yards to a mile and a half away from the shore. They are, practically of four classes:

1) Ordinary merchant vessels laden with bulk cargoes for discharge at this port.

2) Merchant vessels, laden or in ballast, on passage from foreign ports to the United Kingdom, or from foreign ports to foreign ports, putting in here wind-bound or for bunkering coal.

3) British Yachts from foreign ports needing to be visited and rummaged.

4) Foreign Yachts and Foreign men of war and Government vessels which are only visited.

Behinds the Roads, and between the Watch House and the Railway Jetty, lies about a mile and a half of the River Medina, on both banks of which are mud-berths on which yachts are laid up; the shipbuilding yards; the buoys at which vessels with bulk cargoes from foreign discharge into lighters; and the berths at which coasting vessels discharge and load. All this stretch of the river is visited at least once, and commonly twice, daily.

A mile and a half further up the River Medina are the Cement Mills, where coastwise cargoes are discharged and loaded, an occasional cargoes for foreign loaded.

Four and a half miles up the Medina from Cowes is Newport which, under your Honours’ standing Orders to this port, is visited by the officers once per quarter, for general supervision of the coasting trade, and to which special visits are made when permission is granted for cargoes from foreign to be discharged there.

There is thus a good deal of duty to be done afloat, and it the summer it would be quite impossible to deal with it all in a satisfactory manner without the rapid means of movement afforded by the launch. At other seasons, however, the men are able to accomplish the work by means of the rowing boat which we have here, and though something in the way of greater expedition and more comfort and safety for the Officers would be achieved by the permanent employment of a launch, there has never, within my experience, been any serious complaint from outside as to the manner in which, with their present method of movement, the Waterguard officers have been able to do their work.

I had, however, two principal reasons for venturing to put the question before your Honours at the present time:

1) Gathering in reference in the Order of the 9 inst. that the general introduction of motor-boats into the Service might be considered at some date in the future, I thought that it might be desirable to save the expenses of removal of the Officer whom it would be necessary to appoint hither to replace Atherfold, but who would be unnecessary to the establishment is a motor-boat were brought into permanent use here.

2) I shall be under the necessity, probably before the end of next year, of replacing the punt now in use here (and by which the great bulk of the boarding work is done) by a new boat. The punt was brought into use here early in 1885, and she is consequently now more than 20 years old. She has been an admirable boat, safe and strong, and has been taken great care of, but when she was up this spring, for overhauling, repairs and painting, I saw plainly that she will not be fit for very much longer for the work, at times rough and dangerous, required of her.

As to the general effect of a motor-boat here, I do not think, after careful recommendation, that I should recommend the reduction of staff by more than one Boatman. It is possible that, in practice, something towards a satisfactory and economic administration of General Order 74/1905 might be gained as regards the rest of the staff by the employment of such a means of movement for them.

The annual charge for hiring, usually £100, would be saved, and against this and the mean salary of a Boatman, 25/6 per week, has to be set the depreciation of the launch and the cost of petrol and stores. As to the latter, I should, of course, point out that so high an average consumption as that shewn in my report of the 1 inst., 21 gallons weekly, at the cost of 17/6, would not be reached over the working of the whole year.

In conclusion, I beg to say that if your Honours decide that, although the results of the isolated experiment at this port during the past season can be regarded as satisfactory, further evidence as to the capabilities of motor-boats is necessary, there is no reason to suppose that the boarding work here cannot be performed with the means, and the staff, hitherto at my disposal for the purpose. (The Board deferred the decision, and ordered that the vacancy of a Preventive Man should be filled.)


27 September 1905        From the Board Of Agriculture and Fisheries to the Board of Customs.

I am directed by the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries to acquaint you, for the information of the Commissioners of Customs, that their attention has been called to certain circumstances which appointed to a deliberate intention to land a black poodle dog, belonging to Col. the Hon E Stuart Wortley, from the R Y S “Hermione” at Cowes, in contravention of the provisions of the Importation of Dogs Order of 1901.

It appears by inquiries which were made into the matter by one of the Board’s Inspectors, and from documentary evidence which the Board understand to be in the possession of the Collector at Cowes, that a deliberate plan was prepared to avoid the Board’s Regulations. Owing, however, to the vigilance displayed by Preventive Officer Stokes, who boarded the yacht and discovered the presence of a dog on board, the scheme was frustrated. It was not until after that officers discovery of the dog that the owner made an application to the Board for a landing licence in respect of the dog, which is now under detention.

As the Commissioners of Customs are aware, the Board attach great importance to a strict compliance with the Importation of Dogs Act, and they desire me to express there appreciation of the action taken by the Customs Officer in connection with this matter.


29 September 1905   From the Surveyor General.

I submit the following plan of Waterguard attendance for Cowes with reference to Paper 14037/905. I requested the Collector to bring it into force on the 1st October pending your instructions, so as to avoid unnecessary overtime attendance.

Staff:     1 Preventive Officer

            5 Preventive Men

Present Attendance: PO 8am to 4pm and from 4pm to 10pm if required with night visits. 2 PM attend alternately on a 24 hour system, 3 PM from 8am to 4pm and liable until 10pm for rowing.

Sundays: PO on duty for the day, relieved by a Boatman every third Sunday. 1 PM 12pm to 8am (completing his period of 24 hours), 1 PM 8am to 12pm (completing his period of 24 hours), 1 PM 8am to 10am, also relieves above PM from 1 to 5pm.

Proposed plan: PO 8am to 4pm and from 4pm up to 10pm if required with night visits. 1 PM from 12pm to 8am. 3 PM from 8am to 4pm of whom 2 liable to be called out if required until 10pm for rowing. 1 PM from 4pm to 12pm.

Sundays: 1 PM 12pm to 8am, 1 PM 8am to 4pm, 1 PM 4pm to 12pm. PO to be called out if required for boarding duty, & to make disciplinary visits each Sunday except when the Collector makes a visit. To be relieved from liability for Sunday attendance every third Sunday by employment of the Preventive Man-in-charge.

Relief to be granted, if possible, when Officers are called out beyond their usual 8 hours attendance.


30 September 1905   Letter from R G Fletcher

As owner of the aux. schooner yacht “Silver Springs”, I have for many years coasted the Channel. This afternoon I landed two ladies and one man friend at Freshwater, leaving the yacht to sail to Yarmouth – I of W – to pick us up in the morning.

The four of us landed with 2 packages. The Customs Officer insisted on opening the Bags for examination. As a member of the Royal Thames Yacht Club, I have never had my word doubted before. Had I baggage of any bulk there might have been some reason; but to be stopped on the Beach, and have the ladies clothes overhauled is an excess of zeal, and which the Admiralty Warrant flag should preclude. I am fully aware that the whole matter is one of courtesy & bow to your rules, but in the present case, there seemed to be some reason which in 30 years yachting I have not met before. (I stated that I had come from Southampton Water this morning.)   


3 October 1905              On the 22 August last the schooner yacht “Hermione”, the property of Baron von Eckardstein, a member of the Imperial German Yacht Club and of the Royal Yacht Squadron, arrived here from Trouville, The owner, who was on board, is a German nobleman, and the “Hermione” is sailed under the German flag – though manned by a British crew.

The yacht was at one visited by the Boarding crew, in charge of Mr W T Stokes, Preventive Officer, and though, of course, she was not rummaged, Mr Stokes went aboard after putting the usual questions &c. something in the demeanour of the Master and others on board with whom he came in contact aroused his suspicion, and he made investigation of a keener character than is usual on a foreign yacht belonging to an owner of such a distinguished social position as that of the owner of the “Hermione”. After some prevarication by the Master, and a positive denial by the Baron’s valet, Mr Stokes found, locked up below in a water closet, a black poodle which was ascertained to belong to the Hon. E Stuart Wortley, and which had been brought over from Trouville by the Baron for that Gentlemen.

Mr Stokes reported the matter to me the next morning, and it was not possible to come to any other conclusion than it was a deliberate attempt – most discreditable in view of the social position of the persons concerned and the Customs privileges employed by them – had been made to evade the Regulations. I gave directions that the “Hermione” should be kept under close observation, but on the 29 Aug. a firm of carriers produced a licence to land the animal, and the dog was accordingly landed and taken away.

Just previously, by a remarkable chance, the Master of the left on the table in Mr Stokes’s room at the Watch House some papers, among which was a letter in which were set forth details of the measures to be taken to land the dog at the Squadron Club House steps here on the arrival of the “Hermione” from Trouville, and to secure its despatch to Colonel Wortley’s sister in Hampshire – instruction even being given as to the wording of the telegram to be sent to the lady when “her friend from France” had been put on sail. The letter was only under Mr Stoke’s eyes for a few minutes, but he made a hasty pencil copy of the essential portions of it, and when he shewed this to me my original opinion of the conduct of the persons was confirmed.

I believe that the incident must have been a good deal talked of, in the Squadron and elsewhere, and in the issue of the Daily Mail of the 2 ult. a paragraph appeared giving a garbled version of the facts. This paragraph the Board of Agriculture cut out of the newspaper and referred to me for report. I furnished that Department, confidentially, a full statement of all that had occurred, and on the 7 inst. the Inspector of the Board, Mr Eric Rolls, visited Cowes, and I was able to explain and amplify my report to him personally. He was much impressed by the alertness and judgement displayed by Mr Stokes and informed me before leaving that he would specially represent the officer’s conduct to the Board of Agriculture. The letter from that Department herein enclosed appears to be the result and I only have to say, for my part, that I consider its expressions are entirely justified, and that Mr Stokes deserves the highest credit for the Keenness and tactful determination with which he quietly frustrated a deliberately planned attempt to evade the Regulations. (There appears to have been further confidential correspondence (not included in this Book) and the contents of the letter from the Board of Agriculture were communicated to Mr Stokes. A comment was also made that their minute of the 16 May about his retirement would be adheared to, and it was approved by the Treasury.


5 October 1905              I did not, when writing on the 23 ult., bring the wages of a driver into account because I saw no reason why the launch should not be driven by a Preventive Man who would have undergone a certain amount of instruction as offered by the Motor Company in their letter of the 28 August. In such a case, the only additional outlay would have been the amount of a small allowance for the work suggested by the Deputy Chairman in the Order of the 9 ult.

I must now, however, take this opportunity of begging the question of the effect of establishment of such a boat on the staff may be regarded as modified by the fresh Waterguard arrangements brought into force here by their Honours Order of yesterdays date, Secr. No.15402/1905. The Inspecting Surveyor’s visit to the port was made after I had reported on the 23 ult., and when the future system of Waterguard work was under discussion, on the lines which have now been approved, I pointed out to Mr Lord that, under any conditions, a minimum establishment of 5 Preventive Men would be necessary – which I understood him to agree with.


2 October 1905                    Increments granted to A H Drumgoole, Collector, from £375 to £400 from 1 October 1905 and L Daly, Assistant, from £75 to £80 from 5 December 1905.


5 October 1905  Collector to the Surveyor General.

I have your note of yesterday’s date, and, in reply beg to say:

1) I have written to the Office of Works asking that the redecoration of these Offices may be taken in hand.

2) I will make a point of seeing that the Cash Book is balanced as required by the Regulation to which you refer.

3) The Warehouse keeper of Nos. 1 and 2 has undertaken to provide forthwith the required standard weight, and to have the stairway at No. 2 railed in accordance with your requirements. (The Collector was also instructed that certain locks on the lower floor of Warehouse No. 4 were insufficient and needed replacing. The Collector confirmed that the work required in the Warehouses had been completed on 2 November.)


13 October 1905            On the 6 inst., on receipt of this reference, I forwarded a copy of Mr Fletcher’s letter to the Inspecting Commander of Coast Guard at Ventnor with a request that he would investigate the matter and call on the Station Officer at Freshwater for a report on his proceedings.

I have this morning received from the Inspecting Commander the enclosed letter from which it would appear that the facts are, substantially, as stated in Mr Fletcher’s letter, and the Station Officer must have acted as he did under a misapprehension of the requirement of par. 1184 (4) of the Coast Guard Instructions. I submit that, with your Honours’ authority, the Inspecting Commander may be requested to give the Station Officer may be requested to give the Station Officer directions in elucidation of the Regulations which he appears to misunderstand. (The Board replied that the requirements in this case could have been met by less stringent action by the Coast Guard Officer, although he did not strictly exceed his powers and the Board trust that Mr Fletcher will realise that his actions were undoubtedly due to a legitimate desire to safeguard the interests of the Revenue.)

1 November 1905           As directed by you Honours Order of the 4 ultimo., I beg to report that the revised Waterguard arrangements therein approved have worked satisfactorily during the last month.

The average work day attendance during the four weeks, 1 to 28 Oct. has been:

Preventive Officer           72/3 hours per diem

Preventive Man              73/4 hours per diem

And the total overtime attendance:






Boarding & Rummaging

Boarding & Rummaging

Preventive Officer

 1 hour

5 hours

2 hours



Total 8 hours


Preventive Men

72 hours

7 hours




Total 79 hours


Under normal conditions this attendance, for four weeks, would amount to 96 hours, but pending the completion of the establishment by the appointment of a fifth Preventive Man an Extraman has been employed on three out of four Sundays, and has been paid his usual rate of pay – 3/- per diem


2 November 1905                               W H Finley appointed Preventive Man, Cowes. This appears to have been a first appointment, he was placed on probation for 12 Months. (He was instructed to come to Cowes by the Collector, Cardiff.) He commenced employment on the 11th November.


7 November 1905  To H C Damant, Clerk, Port Sanitary Authority

Referring to our conversation of the 3 instant, and your note of this date, I now beg to inform you that, the Honourable Commissioners of Customs having had under consideration the principals on which vessels from foreign are required to bring to for health purposes at the Boarding Stations fixed by their Honours under Section 14 of the Customs Consolidation Act, 1876. I have been directed to confer with your Authority with a view to ascertaining whether any objection will be offered to certain modifications of the practice of which their Honours propose to order the adoption.

As you are no doubt aware, all vessels from foreign are now required to bring up at the Boarding Station whether they have sickness on board or not, whilst at a few ports “infected” vessels only need stop at the Boarding Station, vessels not “infected” being allowed to proceed to their place of discharge or loading. (The term “infected” as used here bears the meaning of it given to it in Article 1 Part 1 of the Order of the Local Government Board dated 9 November 1896). In addition to their Honours requirements at some ports vessels on which there are cases “dangerous infectious disorders” are, in accordance with Orders made by the Port Sanitary Authorities, and approved by the Local Government Board, required to bring to for visitation by the local Medical Officers at certain prescribed places other than the present approved Boarding Station.

It is now their Honours intention that, at ports where no Orders dealing with “dangerous infectious disorders” have been made “infected” vessels only will be required to bring to at the Boarding Stations, which, as a rule, will be the Mooring Places fixed under Article 6 part III of the Local Government Board’s Order above referred to. This place in the case of Cowes will, of course, be that spot near the Western end of the Brambles Shoal, about two miles from this shore, indicated on the chart which you were good enough to forward to me with your letter of the 18 September last, and I shall be much obliged if you will acquaint me in writing, whether any objection to the appointment of such a Boarding Station presents itself to the Authority. Failing the existence of any such objection, you will perhaps be so kind as to make clear the assent of the Authority to the proposal set forth above.

Their Honours specially direct me to point out:

1) That these proposals, whilst removing certain restrictions at present placed on incoming vessels, will tend to strengthen the hands of the Sanitary Authorities by stopping vessels with sickness on board at places remote from shipping where any necessary removal of sick persons, or disinfection can safely take place.

2) That vessel which are not required to bring to at a Boarding Station will be interrogated for health purposes as soon as they reach their discharging or loading place.

(The Authority assented to the proposals on the 14 December.)


25 November 1905         Speaking from experience gained in ten weeks employment, during the past summer, of a petrol motor launch, I am of the opinion that greater efficiency in the discharge of Waterguard duties would be attained by the employment of such a craft, and, also, that, as far as the staff are concerned, much would be achieved in the way of:

1) More safety and comfort for the Officers, and

2)  an economic administration of General Order 74/1905 (The overtime incurred here in the eight weeks ending today is only a trifling amount – excluding the Sunday charges, due to the necessity of providing for the watch, - but at the present time of year business is, of course, at a yachting centre, comparatively slack, and the overtime charges cannot fail, under existing conditions, to be higher at those seasons when yachting movements are brisker.)

If the boat was worked by an Engineer Mechanic it would be possible to dispense with one Preventive Man from the staff. The Preventive Officer could then go afloat with two Preventive Men for rummaging, and the launch would be looked after by the motor man.

The boat house here is 31 ft 6 ins in length by 15 ft 8 ins in breadth, but it would not be possible to haul a motor launch, or launch her, except at high tide, and it would consequently be necessary to have moorings for her laid down in a safe place higher up the harbour. It would not be safe to keep a valuable launch moored in the exposed position of the Watch House here. The mooring would be charged for by the Harbour Commissioners at, I estimate, about £2 – 0 – 0 per annum.

In such an event it would also be necessary to provide a light 10 ft or 12 ft dinghy in which the motor man could ferry himself to and from the moorings, and I would submit the sale of the galley now maintained here (21 ft x 5 ft, built in 1889.)

It would occasionally be necessary to haul the launch up for scrubbing, and a winch for this purpose would have to be provided, with cable, and bolted to the floor of the boat house. This being only 31 ft 6 ins in length, it would also be necessary to have the doors , which now open inwards, made to open outwards, to allow for the accommodation of a launch of, say, 25 ft or 26 ft in length.


4 December 1905                       I do not think that any saving in respect of maintenance and upkeep could be looked for should the boats now in use be replaced by a motor-launch. I have examined the accounts for the 7 years ending on 30 September last, and find that the average annual outlay of their account to have been £4 – 11 – 4. This sum has covered two boats, one 21 ft in length and the other 18 ft in length, and I think it very probably that, even with the exercise of  the utmost care and economy, the upkeep account of a 25 ft motor launch and a 12 ft dinghy, so far from shewing any saving on the figures specified above, is likely to account for more per annum.


15 December 1905         The enclosed application, by Messrs. Shepard Bros. Limited, a firm of shipowners and carrying contractors at this port, arises out of the demand which I have made that they shall not, after the 19 proximo, further delay to comply with the requirements of General Order 56/1905.

Applicants are owners of 5 sailing craft and 2 steamers engaged daily in the coasting trade between the Island and the ports of Southampton and Portsmouth and as all these vessels trade under General Transire the firm use a very considerable number of Notices of Loading and Unloading. These they have hitherto rendered in a form which is not prescribed by the General Order above referred to, and which they have, doubtless for reasons of economy, had a large number printed at one time, with the result that they now find themselves likely to have a considerable quantity thrown on their hands. A copy of the General Order was supplied to Messrs. Shepard Brothers on the 27 July last since which they have had no further forms printed.

I have always found all the members of the firm anxious to comply with all Regulations and most ready to assist officers to facilitate business, and they are, unquestionably, deserving of any consideration which your Honours may think fit to extend to them. (Use was approved by the Board.)


19 December 1905         In reply to your reference of the 12 instant (which reached me on the 15 instant) I beg to make the following observations:

1. Style of Uniform supplied – The Assistant at this port represents that the frock-shaped coat is inconvenient for work in the Warehouses, and, in a minor degree, for clerical work. It is also suggested by this Officer that side-pockets to the trousers would be preferable to the present style of cross-pockets. The Preventive Officer and Preventive Men are all perfectly satisfied in this respect.

2. Fit – the fit of the garments supplied to the Preventive Officer and Preventive Men is not good. Their trousers are, as a rule, cut too tight and soon give way in the crutch. The reefers are also, very commonly, cut too tight under the arms, and both these defects result in the garments being worn out sooner that would be the case with better fitting clothes.

3. Defective workmanship – The Assistants uniform offers no grounds for complaint in this respect. The button holes of the Preventive men’s reefers are extremely badly worked and are found to give way soon.

4. Quality of durability of Cloth – The Preventive Officer represents that a less stout cloth may be used for trousers for his grade. The garments would then be more flexible and comfortable in wear and would probably last longer. I can myself support the Preventive Men’s opinion that the cloth used for their trousers is not of good quality. I have seen the brace buttons carry away on a slight straining of bodily posture and bring away with them from the trousers the pieces to which they were sewn. (This, I think, is partly due to the defective cutting of the trousers as well as to the inferior quality of the cloth.)

5. Delay in delivery – There is, I think, most serious ground for complaint in this respect so far as relates to supplies due in the earlier part of each year. I append figures for two years past which support my representation:


Garments due for issue – 1.1.04, 16.1.04, 7.3.04, 8.3.04, 11.3.04

Received from Contractor – 20.6.04

Garments due for issue – 1.5.04, 7.7.04, 1.9.04, 16.9.04, 8.11.04

Received from Contractor – 20.6.04

Garments due for issue – 5.6.04, 11.11.04

Received from Contractor – 12.8.04


Garments due for issue –16.1.05, 7.3.05, 8.3.05, 11.3.05  :          1.3.05

Received from Contractor – 12.3.05                                  :          17.3.05

Garments due for issue – 1.5.05, 5.6.05, 8.7.05, 11.7.05   :          1.5.05, 16.5.05, 1.8.05, 7.11.05

Received from Contractor – 3.6.05                                    :          7.6.05

6. Delay in return of misfits – All officers complain of serious delay in this respect. The subjoined figures for two years past will shew that there is substantial ground for complaint:


Misfits returned for alteration



Received from the contractors again (after written complaint of delay)


27.8.04 (due for issue in March preceeding.


Misfits returned for alteration




Received from the contractors again




I am not in a position to offer any observations of value on the present system of demand and issue.


1 January 1906                    Increment granted to T M Lewis from £230 to £240 from 1 January 1906


3 January 1906              With reference to General Order 79/1893, I beg to report that the only Officer at this port who has attained 60 years of age is Mr W T Stokes, Preventive Officer, Lower Section, who was born on 23 July 1845, and as to whom your Honours directed in May last that his case should be submitted to the Treasury for retirement as from the 17 instant inclusive. This decision was reviewed and confirmed by your Honours in October last.


8 January 1906              I certify that Mr William Thomas Stokes has served with diligence and fidelity to my satisfaction while he was under my survey (since 1 September 1902), and also that in that period of three years and four months the merit, value and labour of his service have been such as to render him deserving of the full amount of Superannuation Allowance which can be granted. (A detailed list of his 36 years service was included. His salary was given as £150 per annum. He subsequently moved to live in Portsmouth. He was recommended for an Imperial Service Medal, but it is not known whether he received the award.)


19 January 1906            Having, as requested by your Circular of the 17 instant, made enquiries locally, I beg to report the following approximate charges for making the undermentioned garments, all material being supplied to the tailor:

Great Coat double breasted                    15s 6d

Frock Coat double breasted                    17s 6d

Reefer Jacket                                        10s 6d

Waistcoat single breasted                        4s 3d

Trousers                                                  4s 3d

Serge Jacket single breasted (unlined)       7s 0d

There is only one Assistant on this establishment and he would prefer a reefer jacket to a frock coat.


31 January 1906            I submit for your Honours’ information the enclosed letter which was addressed to me on the 24 instant by Mr Harley Mead, a reputable and well established builder of launches, small yachts &c. at this port.

I had had no previous communication with Mr Mead on the subject, but after receiving his letter I sought a personal interview with his Manager (the principal being absent from Cowes), and learn from him that the “local agents” referred to as “seeking tenders” are the Mitcham Motor Company Limited, from whom a motor launch was hired for this Service last summer, and that the difference between Mr Mead’s prices and those likely to be quoted by an intermediate agency would be, according to the Manager’s estimate, from 13 to 14 percent in favour of the former. (Comments from the Advising officer stated that he believed Mr Mead had a small boat in hand, that he was a boat builder and could not install engines but recommended he was placed on the list of firms invited to tender.)


5 February 1906                  Seizure of 14/100 gallon of Geneva from Jack Farmer, Second Mate of the Tug “Gauntlet”, landed on the beach at Ventnor. Seized by William Golley, Chief Boatman, Coastguard and Isaac Bow, Chief Officer, Coastguard.


14 February 1906                                Frederick John Parsons, Preventive Officer, Lower Section, Barry Dock (Cardiff) transferred to Preventive Officer, Lower Section, Cowes.


17 February 1906                                William Cottell appeared before the Collector and took the examination for Preventive Man. He was tested satisfactorily in boat handling, said to be in good health and there was no reason to disqualify him from admission to the Service. He was subsequently appointed to Dover.


2 March 1906                I have made careful and exhaustive enquiry throughout the Island, and find that no statistics or accounts are collected for the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries. Some statistics are furnished annually by Cowes fishermen to an authority called, I believe, Southern Sea Fisheries Board, but neither the Coast Guard nor members of this Department intervene for their Collection.


2 March 1906    From the Board to the Mitcham Motor Company

I am directed by the Commissioners of His Majesty’s Customs to inform you, that they accept your offer made to the Superintending Engineer and Constructor of Shipping, Royal Dockyard, Woolwich, to sell this Department for £230 the 23 feet motor-boat hired of you last year; such boat, with its motor appliances, to be overhauled and re-varnished, and delivered complete with the outfit named on the attached sheet, also including one weeks tuition of the driver selected for working the launch.

In addition to the above sum your offer is also accepted to supply, for the sum of £12 – 10 – 0, a spare propeller and shaft, sleeve &c. also a cross beam forward, with a bollard for mooring purposes.

The boat is to be handed over complete with appliances, outfit, spare gear, &c to the Collector of His Majesty’s Customs, Cowes, Isle of Wight, by the 15th March next in good working order and to the entire satisfaction of the Superintending Engineer and Constructor of Shipping, Royal Dockyard, Woolwich.


5 March 1906                       The Collector reported that the A J Titheridge was the only Officer to have served in the Navy. His service was given as Revenue Cruiser “Hawk” as Deck Hand and Commander’s Servant, Indian Trooping Service s/s “Joanna” from 23 September 1884 to 9 March 1885 as Ward Room Servant and Portsmouth Dockyard (Department of Naval Storekeeper) 1885/1891.


12 March 1906               The boat to which the Inspecting Commander refers is a punt 16 ft x 5 ft, which was built in 1885 and taken into service early in that year. She has, therefore, been continually employed in the boarding work at this port for 21 years. She has been an admirable boat, and has been carefully looked after and kept up, but it has become evident to me of late that she is approaching the end of her effective life, and I had intended to apply to your Honours early next year for her replacement. This, however, has now become unnecessary owing to the assignment to this port of the “Nimble” motor-launch for permanent service here, and I submit, therefore, that the punt may be retained as a stand-by for service on any occasion on which the “Nimble” may be out of use. With continued careful supervision, and some repairs from time to time, I am satisfied that she will still be of use, under such conditions, for some time to come.

As to the second boat hitherto maintained at this port, however, - a fine galley, 21 ft x 5 ft, built in 1889 – I submit that her further retention here becomes, under the present circumstances, unnecessary, and that she should be disposed of, with her equipment or transferred to any other port at which such a boat may be found useful. I ought to add, in this connection, that, while she rows easily and lightly, and is of handsome appearance and in excellent condition throughout, she is not considered a safe boat for sailing by the practical men among the Waterguard staff.


13 March 1906               I beg to report that I have consulted the Harbour Master here and have, with his advice and sanction, selected a place within the Harbour where I believe the “Nimble” can be moored in security under all ordinary conditions. Special arrangements will be made for her safe disposal at any time when exceptionally bad weather may render such necessary.

I submit an estimate from the Harbour Master the supply and laying of the necessary moorings, and recommend its acceptance. His price of £5 – 12 – 6 covers labour and the following items:

1 anchor                        105 lbs

1 anchor                        65 lbs

15 fathoms chain cable   (½ inch)

4 fathoms galvanised chain cable (5/16 inch)

1 Shackle

1 Mooring Buoy

The usual charge for moorings in this Harbour is 1/- per annum, but I presume that under Section 28 of the Harbours, Docks and Pier Charges Act 1847, exemption from that charge can be claimed on behalf of this Department.

I beg that I may receive your Honours’ authority to request the Office of Works to carry out the necessary alterations to the doors of the boat-house and to supply the winch and stock line necessary for the periodic hauling up of the launch.

With reference to the directions of General Order 70/1903, I submit that I may be authorised to dispense with the painting of the launch in the prescribed distinctive colours for the present. She is built of cedar and panelled inside, and has just been varnished inside and out so that she is in very good condition in this respect. The departmental flag is always flown when she is in service, so that Masters of vessels and others concerned have no difficulty in distinguishing her identity even in her present colours.


16 March 1906               I beg to report that yesterday afternoon I received delivery from the Mitcham Motor Company of the motor-launch “Nimble”, apparently in good order and satisfactory condition, and with the outfit and spare gear detailed in the list which accompanied your Honours’ Order of the 1 instant, plus the undermentioned articles of equipment:

2 Thin Spanners to fit nuts on the bottom ends of connecting rods

1 Funnel, with strainer

1 Spare Shaft and sleeve and Propeller complete

 Pending your Honours decision on my report as to moorings, Mitcham Motor Company are allowing the “Nimble” to remain on their moorings.

Two Preventive Men, E J Osborne and C A Fry, of this establishment are receiving the instruction in driving &c., which the vendors undertook to include in the price of the launch.


21 March 1906                     The Board approved the Collectors proposals for moorings and dispensing with the prescribed colours. They deferred his request for alterations to the boat house and suggested the purchase of a cradle, both were to be discussed with him.


29 March 1906                     Approval was given by the Superintending Engineer and Constructor of Shipping for payment in respect of the following items:

Mitcham Motor Company

Painting name “Nimble”                                                  7s 6d

Supplying brackets for side lights                                    7s 6d

Fitting to lockers brass locks with keys and duplicates  £1 5s 6d

Supplying and fixing 1 4” compass                               £1 7s 6d

Supplying 1 6” Hand Bell                                             £1 1s 0d

                                                                                                           £4 8s 6d

Pascall Atkey and Son

Side lamps & masthead lamp with spare reservoirs,

Hooks and hinged brass plates                                   £3 17s 8d

Riding light with spare reservoir                                        17s 7d

                                                                                £4 15s 3d


2 April 1906                    Increment granted to F J Parsons, Preventive Officer, Lower Section, from £115 to £120 from 9 April 1906.


17 April 1906     From the Advising Officer

In connection with the Motor Boat “Nimble” at Cowes, I beg to recommend that the Collector be directed to have a Register for working of the Motor and Gear kept daily, in the approved form of Engine Room Register as applied to steam launches. Such book should be sent here quarterly for examination and retention. If the Board approve of this, I will arrange with the Collector the precise form (as applicable to Motors) in which it should be rendered.


27 April 1906                 I propose to haul up the punt at this port for overhaul, painting &c., which is carried out each year, and beg that your Honours will authorise the hire of a rowing boat, for use while the punt is out of service, to ferry the Waterguard Officers between the Watch House and the moorings at which the motor launch “Nimble” lies.

I have the offer of a suitable small boat for the purpose, from Mr K Benzie, of this port, who is willing to accept the very small hire of 1/- per diem, and as this price is extremely reasonable and moderate, I submit that I may be authorised to incur the necessary expense. (The hire of the boat for a fortnight was approved.)


29 April 1906                 I regret to report that I have been quite unable to obtain any offer for the galley herein referred to. I have offered her here, and at all likely ports of the Island also, but without eliciting any tender for her purchase.

I submit, therefore, that an attempt might be made to dispose of her by public auction, - if it should not be found possible to utilise her at some other Boarding Station. Messrs Marvins, a well known firm of yacht &c. auctioneers will be holding a sale of yachts and other craft at no distant date, and I have seen a member of the firm who informs me that they would be glad to include the galley and her gear and outfit in such sale, - their terms being a commission of four percent on the gross price realised. (A offer of £3 – 17 – 6 was subsequently received and rejected. The Collector was instructed to offer it at public auction with a reserve of £5.)


4 May 1906                   In obedience to your Honours Order of yesterdays date, I beg to report that no reduction in the number or rank of staff seems to be called for in consequence of the proposed withdrawal of the export duty on Coal as from 1 November next.

No change in staff at this port, in either of the respects indicated, was made as the result of the imposition of the duty in question.


14 May 1906                         Seizure from steam yacht “Miranda” ex Gibraltar T Blamey, A B, concealed on foredeck. Seized by  F J Parsons, P O, E J Osborne, P M, A J H Titheridge, P M. (Detecting Officer) and C A Fry, P M. Treble duty paid value of £2 – 17 – 0 deposited.


23 May 1906                 In compliance with Circular 7610/1906 I beg to report that the yacht Honor, O N 119718, arrived here 7 pm yesterday from Dartmouth at which place the owner and other passengers are reported to have landed. The Waterguard officers visited her immediately on arrival but failed to find any trace of a dog being, or having recently been on board. (Letter signed by T M Lewis, Acting Collector.)


30 May 1906                 I beg to make application for a supply of a small blue ensign, 4 ft 6ins x 2 ft 6 ins, to be flown from the motor launch “Nimble” at this port. This flag will replace one of a similar character which, after much hard wear, is unfit for further use. (This was supplied on 7 June.)


8 June 1906                         Seizure from yacht “Garina”. R Bennett, A B, concealed in furnace of boiler. Seized by  F J Parsons, P O, E J Osborne, P M, A S Cassell, P M. (Detecting Officer) and C A Fry, P M. Treble duty paid value of £1 – 8 – 6 deposited.


13 June 1906                 A statement has been made to one of the Preventive men at this port by a member of the crew of the steam yacht “Honor” that the dog referred to in your Honours Circular of the 11 ult., 7610/1906, was landed at Dartmouth immediately on arrival of the yacht at that port. The person in question has committed his information in writing, and I forward herewith the piece of paper which he handed to the Preventive Man. His knowledge of the alleged landing is not first hand as he only joined the yacht on her arrival here, but he has obtained the information from a member of the crew who had returned from the Mediterranean in the “Honor” and who has added the detail that a dog ticket was taken for the animal by the train by which the Baron travelled to London. ((Letter signed by T M Lewis, Acting Collector. The Collector Dartmouth subsequently reported that no dog tickets were issued on the said day.)


18 June 1906                 This morning a written offer of £6 for the boat and her gear has been received from Captain Stringer of Southampton, and as the offer appears to be a reasonable one, I beg to submit it for your Honours consideration. (Letter signed by T M Lewis, Acting Collector. The offer was accepted.)


19 June 1906                 This morning information was given to A J H Titheridge, Preventive Man, that a quantity of navy and leaf Tobacco was concealed in the cellar of a shop in Albert Street, Cowes. The informer, E Collins of Chain Lane, Newport, I W, was closely questioned and his statement reduced into writing and as the information appeared to be of a bona fide character, I took the writ of assistance and accompanied Mr F J Parsons, Preventive Officer and three Preventive Men went to the shop indicated. We were admitted without question by the wife of the occupier and made a thorough search of the premises, but failed to discover any trace of contraband goods. The name of the house is Albert House. It was formerly a shop and is now used as a dwelling house only, and the occupier is Mr Charles Carzons who was discharged from Royal Marines about six years ago. Owing to the state of his health he follows no regular occupation, but occasionally works as a labourer. His wife washes the hammocks for the sailors on board H M S Eclipse, which vessel comes into Cowes Roads each week end and remains two or three days. The search of the house began at 10.15 am and continued until 11.30 am, and the only persons in the house were Carzons wife and little children. The writ has been returned to the safe. (Letter signed by T M Lewis, Acting Collector.)


5 July 1906                    I beg to report that, in accordance with the intention which I communicated to your Honours in writing from Yarmouth on the 3 instant, I have today resumed duty at this port.

I have been absent from the port since the 14 ult. inclusive, - from that date until the 27 ult. by leave under your Honours Minute of the 14 ult., and from the 28 ult. to the 4 instant, both inclusive, at Yarmouth.


24 July 1906                         Stanley Theodore George Spencer appeared before the Collector and took the examination for Preventive Man. He was tested satisfactorily in boat handling, said to be in good health and there was no reason to disqualify him from admission to the Service. He was subsequently appointed to Goole.


30 July 1906                  As directed by the Circular of the 9 instant, 9241/1906, I beg to furnish the following report.

The protection of the Customs Revenue in this District, which comprises the whole of the Isle of Wight, is provided for by the maintenance of established Customs Officers at two Stations (Cowes and Ryde) and the services of the Coast Guard under two Inspecting Commanders (East Cowes and Ventnor divisions.)

On the attached rough sketch map (not included) are shewn the limits of the Boarding Station at this port, which extends for a distance of about 3 miles East and West between the two boundaries.

There is also maintained at Ryde Pier Head a Boarding crew, in charge of a Preventive Officer, (all of the Portsmouth establishment), who deal with vessels, yachts and traders arriving off that station.

The present routine of Waterguard duty at the port itself was established, after the issue of General Order 74/1905, by the Boards Order of 15402/1905. Under this arrangement the Preventive Officer and three Preventive Men are on duty from 8am to 4pm daily, except Sundays. On weekdays between 4pm and 8am of the following day, and on Sundays, the Station is guarded by Preventive Men on duty singly, in watches each of 8 hours duration, and by these watchmen the Preventive Officer, the rummaging Preventive Men, and Preventive Man in charge of the launch, are called out as occasion requires.

The Island is divided into two Coast Guard divisions under the supervision of Inspecting Commanders stationed at East Cowes and Ventnor.

In the East Cowes Division there are 10 stations:

  Needles (War Signal Station only) 4 men
  Totland     7 crew
  Yarmouth 9 crew
  Newtown 8 crew
  Gurnard 9 crew
  East Cowes 16 crew
  Fishbourne 8 crew
  Ryde 6 crew
  Spring Vale 4 crew
  Sea View 5 crew

In the Western Division there are 12 stations:


 Freshwater Gate    

6 crew
  Brook 5 crew
  Brighstone 5 crew
  Atherfield  8 crew
  Blackgang   4 crew
  St. Catherine’s Point 4 crew
  Woody Bay 4 crew
  Ventnor 5 crew
  Shanklin 7 crew
  Sandown 4 crew
  Foreland 4 crew
  Bembridge 7 crew

The positions of these various Stations are marked on the rough sketch map herewith, (not included) on which, also, are repeated the numbers of the crews stationed at each, together with details of the patrols between them, the arrowed lines indicating the beat of each patrol and the points at which they make their meetings.

From these particulars it will be seen that no part of the coast of the Island is unguarded. The Inspecting Commander at Ventnor has recorded it as his opinion, with which I agree, that no organised smuggling exists. He adds, however, that “………… the numbers at Sandown, Shanklin and Ventnor are not enough to adequately guard the large number of small boats and to patrol”

No Coast Guard Stations in the Island have been closed within the last twelve months, and both Inspecting Commanders state that they have no information as to any contemplated abolition of Stations within their Divisions.

I beg to add that nothing whatever has occurred during my service at the port to lead me to any other conclusion than that all possible vigilance is exercised by the Officers and men of the Coast Guard and that the existing guard of the Island coat is satisfactory.


24 August 1906             I do not think that it is necessary or desirable to make any change in the existing arrangements for office accommodation at this port. (This followed notice that the lease was soon to expire.)

3 September 1906          The building is of modern construction and to the best of my Knowledge its sanitary arrangements are satisfactory. In saying this I speak from a Knowledge of the office which goes back to more than sixteen years and in neither my former period of service or during the course of my present appointment have I had any reason to suppose that the premises were otherwise than satisfactory in this respect.

I have no suggestion to offer as to improvements in other respects. It is less than 12 months ago since the rooms and lobbies were re-painted and re-papered &c., and they are all in good order One never hears any complaint from the public, all of whom appear to find the situation and arrangement of the premises convenient. 


1902 - 1905

1906 - 1908

Cowes Customs Records  

Note: These pages are my transcriptions of original documents, they are accurate to the best of my ability but I do not take any responsibility for errors.

3 February 2008