Cowes Letter Collector to Board 1906 - 1908

A partial transcription from the Book held in the National Archives reference CUST61/60

Transcribed entries are in Black, entries in Blue relate to other material included the Book, which has not specifically been transcribed. Entries in Italics reflect some degree of uncertainty.

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


7 September 1906          The “Saxon” came into Harbour at St Helens at 3am yesterday, and as I had been advised on the previous evening by the Chief Officer of Coast Guard of her arrival off the Harbour, I despatched the Preventive Officer and a Preventive Man by the first train yesterday at 8.45 am. The Vessel was rummaged inwards and the whole of the Ore for St Helens landed soon after 6pm yesterday, the officers returning by the 7.30 train from that place and returning home at 9pm.

The Charges are:

Two Excursion Return Fares Cowes to St Helens and vice versa @ 3/- each           6 – 0

Subsistence Preventive Officer 1 day                                                                   2 – 6

Subsistence Preventive Man 1 day                                                                      1 – 3

Day Pay Preventive Officer recovered                                                                   7 – 0

Day Pay Preventive Man recovered                                                                      4 – 4

                                                                                                                 £1 – 1 – 1

I have made the Charge for Day Pay as both Officers were away from their Station, and their whole day was taken up on the Applicant’s account.


7 September 1906              The Collector was informed was informed that the Board had written to the Office of Works stating that it considered no changes to the existing Custom House accommodation at Cowes was necessary.


13 September 1906   Memorandum from the Accountant and Comptroller General      

It is observed that W Pearce, Extraman was employed continuously from 13 July to 11 August with the exception of three Sundays, a total of 27 days. It is requested that the Board’s sanction may be obtained for this employment as Sundays off cannot be held to be a break sufficient to avoid an infringement of Par. 351 of the Establishment Code.


14 September 1906        To enable for me to provide for the leave of Officers of this Establishment during July and August, I employed W Pearce as a Casual Extraman from 13 July to 11 August, both inclusive, with three breaks of one day each in his service during that period – namely on Sundays 15 July, 22 July and 5 August. I was under the impression that to break the employment of Casual Extramen in this manner was to comply with the Regulations set forth on the subject in Par. 351 of the Establishment Code, but it appears from observations by the Accountant and Comptroller General on the accounts for this port for the month of August, I must have been in error in taking this view. I beg, therefore, that your Honours will be pleased to sanction the employment of Pearce for the 27 days in question, and I will in future govern myself by the Interpretation of the Regulations as laid down. (Approval was given on 17 February.)


18 September 1906            T M Lewis, Second Officer and Acting Collector applied for 4 days sick leave on behalf of the Collector with Mr Parsons, Preventive Officer, Lower Section acting in his place as Second Officer. A further 12 days were subsequently requested on 22 September, with a further 6 on 5 October. The reason is not stated. All applications were approved by the Board.


24 September 1906        I beg to submit for your Honours favourable consideration an application from Alfred S Cassell, Preventive Man at this Port for the position of Preventive Man in Charge at Itchenor. Cassell has a little over fourteen years service, eleven of which have been at this Port. He is a steady, reliable and willing Officer and performs his duty in a satisfactory and intelligent manner, and would, I have no doubt soon qualify himself for the duties of the office to which he seeks to be appointed.

As I do not have access to the Record of Ages and Capacities I beg a reference to the last return for Cassell’s character. (Signed by T M Lewis, Acting Collector.)


24 September 1906        The Watch House is necessary and suitable for the accommodation of Waterguard Officers at this Port, and so far as I know the sanitary arrangements are satisfactory. The Preventive Officer’s Office was painted last year, and both it and the Preventive men’s room are now in good order.

I submit, however that gas or electric light should be substituted for the present arrangement of lighting by oil lamps. (Signed by T M Lewis, Acting Collector.)


25 September 1906            C A Fry, Preventive Man given an Increment from £1 – 12 – 4 and 1/- star allowance per week to £1 – 13 – 0 and 1/- star allowance per week from 1 October.


28 September 1906        The gas main runs beside the Watch House, and the electric light is about forty yards away. I enclose a letter received this morning from the gas manager from which it will be seen that gas could be laid on and the necessary fittings put in for £1 – 15 – 0.

The electric light manager promised to let me have an estimate of the cost for putting in electric light, but so far has not done so. I do not think, however, that it could possibly be done cheaper than the estimate given for gas. (Signed by T M Lewis, Acting Collector.)


18 October 1906                  L Daly, Assistant given an Increment from £80 to £85 from 5 December & W H Finley, Probationary Preventive Man from £1 – 1 – 2 per week to £1 – 2 – 8 per week from 11 November. A J H Titheridege granted a second star.


22 October 1906            On the 16 Instant I received a telegraphic advice from the Chief Officer of Coastguard at Bembridge that the barge “Lord Wolsley” had arrived there to discharge a cargo of bricks from Ostend. I sent the Preventive Officer, with one Preventive Man, by the next train to rummage the vessel inwards, and on the application of the broker, lodged in my hands late the same day, have allowed the cargo of bricks to be discharged at St Helens, a place not approved for the landing of goods from foreign, under the supervision of Chief Officer of Coastguard. The cargo was all out on the 20 Instant on which day the Preventive Officer, with one Preventive Man, again journeyed to St Helens, and cleared the barge inwards. I now state my proceedings and a statement of the expenses incurred, for your Honours approval.

No intimation of the vessel’s expected arrival at the East of the Island had been conveyed to me and no application made for permission to discharge the cargo at this unapproved place, and consequently when the Master reached here on the Evening of 16 instant, to report inwards, I called upon him for an explanation of his conduct and took a deposit of £1 from him to abide by your Honours decision. He represent that his action was not wilful, and it is for your Honours consideration whether a small portion of his deposit should be retained to mark the irregularity on his part in not bringing his vessel to the nearest Boarding Station.  

22 October 1906            In reporting to your Honours on 25 November 1905 on the establishment of a Motor Launch for permanent service at this port, I raised the question of the possible necessity to provide a small dinghy, about 10 or 12 feet in length, to enable the motor-man to ferry himself to and from the launch at her moorings in the Harbour. The launch “Nimble” has now been in commission since the beginning of last April, and I am under the necessity of begging that your Honours may be pleased to sanction the purchase of such a dinghy, as it has been found in practice that the only boat now available for the purpose indicated, the boarding punt, an old and heavy craft 16 feet in length, is unsuitable for the work. She cannot be managed by one hand, and put alongside “Nimble” especially in rough weather, with safety, and as the Winter is approaching when the duty of hanging the riding light each evening must be performed by the Watchman who is on duty by himself alone after 4pm, the provision of a lighter boat, within the capacity of one hand to manage is absolutely necessary.

The Superintending Engineer was at this port inspecting “Nimble” on the 17 instant, and I took the opportunity of submitting the question to his judgement. I mentioned also to Mr Travis that Messrs. Clare Lallow, the builders of “Nimble”, has in stock two boats of precisely the class and dimensions required – one built of spruce, the other of elm, and I submit details of the former which I would recommend the purchase in preference to the elm boat. I believe that one will (with due care and oversight) last as long as the other (say 15 years) and it is essential that the boat provided should be as light as is compatible with strength and safety as, at dead low water, she will have to occasionally be carried out of the Watch House yard to the launching place at the water’s edge. The spruce boat is, of course, much lighter than that built of elm, but they are in dimension, equipment and price identical.

Specification of Dinghy built by Mr Clare Lallow in 1905

Length                          10 feet

Breadth                         4 feet

Material                         Spruce (fitted with top strake and thwarts of teak)

Bottom Board                Elm

How fastened                 Copper

Stern and Keelband (Continuous)            Iron

Rudder                          Teak

Price £11 – 11 – 0, to include one pair of paddles and one pair of gun metal crutches.

Has been built and in stock for eighteen months and it thoroughly seasoned.

(It was agreed by the Board that the dinghy could be purchased.)          


22 October 1906            Having, as directed by your Honors, considered the probable cost of making a tour of the coast of this Island under the conditions set forth in the circular of the 15 instant, I beg to report that I estimate the approximate cost of making such visits as £8 – 14 – 0 and the number of days necessary at 4. The complete circuit of the Island taken at high water and excluding the coasts of Bembridge Harbour, Wootton Creek, Cowes Harbour and Newtown River is 60 miles.

I should add, however, that if, as I recommend might be done, the whole of the North coast of the Island were visited and inspected by means of the motor launch maintained at this port, the cost of the tour would be reduced by, I estimate, £2 – 15 – 0 (less, of course, the cost of petrol). “Nimble” can, under suitable weather conditions, be used with perfect safety for the purpose. I have myself travelled from Bembridge, at the extreme East of the Island, to Yarmouth at the West, and she could be utilised to go as much further West as Totland.


25 October 1906            I beg to submit the enclosed application from Mr Lawrence Daly, Assistant at this port, for transfer at his own expence to Bristol or any other large English or Welsh Outport on the occurance of a suitable vacancy.

Mr Daly was appointed here, on probation, on 5 December 1903 and confirmed in his appointment in December 1904. He has, consequently been under my survey for nearly three years, and I have a very high opinion of him and a most industrious, zealous and reliable young Officer, exemplary in his conduct and deserving of consideration. His opportunities for learning the particular duties of his grade are necessarily limited at a port of this character, and, believing that with a wider range of experience he would become an even more useful Officer than at present and that such a transfer would therefore be for the benefit of both the Service and himself, I submit his request for your Honours favourable consideration. (In January 1907 he was offered a post at Manchester but turned it down as he wished to be transferred to a large port on the coast.)


1 November 1906           Yesterday I received a telephone message from the Chief Officer of Coast Guard at Ventnor that a person coming from the Chilean vessel “Zeno”, Hull to Valparaiso coal laden, had been intercepted by the Coast Guard Watchman and found to be in possession of a small amount of Tobacco. The person in question was being detained in the Coast Guard watch room, and I conversed with him over the telephone as to the circumstance. He represented himself to be the pilot who brought the “Zero” down from Hull, and gave his name as Daniel Sullivan of 30 Church Road, Seaforth, Liverpool, adding that the Master of the Steamer had given him the Tobacco.

Looking to the remoteness of the Station; the difficulty of learning whether Sullivan had any standing as a pilot; and the small quantity of Tobacco landed; I took upon myself to act in contravention to your Honours’ Regulations as to attempted smuggling by pilots, and, after learning that the Coast Guard Officer had weighed the Tobacco and found it to be 14 oz. of Cavendish, directed him to release Sullivan on the latter making a deposit of 16s 7d, treble the duty paid value. This has been received from the Chief Officer today, and brought to account as a deposit, and I have also received from him the seized Tobacco.

I submit these proceedings for any for any directions your Honours may see fit to issue thereon. (The Board confirmed the Seizure, ordered that the deposit be brought to account as a fine and asked the Collector Liverpool to make further enquiry as his status as a pilot. This was subsequently done, he was confirmed as a pilot and the Board waived any further action, but did refer the Matter to Trinity House. There is considerable further correspondence on this matter, which is not transcribed, as the pilot subsequently disputed whether the Tobacco was duty free. The Board did not accept this, but said that if he could produce evidence they would repay the penalty. This does not appear to have happened.)


1 November 1906                               Seizure made on 27 October 1906 of 11/100 proof Gallons of Brandy by William Moses, Commissioned Coastguard Boatman, Bembridge from William Mursell, fisherman, Bembridge and Daniel Cawse. Labourer, Brading. The goods were being brought ashore in an open boat from a vessel lying in Bembridge Roads. No proceedings.


14 November 1906         On the 10 instant a small Norwegian sailing vessel “Primus”, 54 tons net register, stranded at Brighstone, on the South West coast of this Island while on a voyage from Bergen to L’Orient and Douarnenez laden with 704 Barrels of cods roe.

On the 11 instant (Sunday last) 100 barrels of the cargo were taken out of her and brought round on the deck of the tug “Malta” to the legal quay at this port, where on application of the agent, I allowed them to be examined and delivered out of charge.

On the 12 instant the vessel having been lightened by the removal of the above mentioned 100 packages, and pumped out, she was got afloat and brought round here. The rest of the cargo has been discharged and stored preliminary to repairs being effected, the discharge being completed this morning.

Having, therefore, allowed foreign cargo to be worked on a Sunday in circumstances which are shewn above to have been urgent, I submit the proceedings for your information and approval as directed by Importation Code Paragraph 449 (j). (Approval was subsequently given.)


17 November 1906         I beg to report that William Henry Finley appointed to this port as Preventive Man by your Honours Order of 2 November 1905 and admitted to you on 11 November 1905 has now completed the twelve month’s probation prescribed by your Honors Order.

He has been absent from duty for four days by leave during the period of probation.

I have to report that Finley’s conduct has been quite satisfactory throughout the whole period. He has performed all the work required of him, and shewn himself apt and intelligent in acquiring a knowledge of duties of his office. I therefore feel justified in recommending to your Honours that he should be confirmed in his appointment. (His appointment was confirmed.)


29 November 1906         On the 25 instant the Ketch “Daring”, 47 tons net register, arrived here from Guernsey with a cargo of hewn and broken granite in bulk and granite siftings in bags which, in the application of the broker, I have allowed to be discharged at the Town Quay here, a place not approved for the discharge of goods from foreign.

No charges have been incurred. The Town Quay is but a short distance from the Watch House and the discharge was supervised, and the vessel visited, by the Waterguard Officers in the ordinary course of their duties. (Approval was subsequently given.)


18 December 1906         Having in obedience to your Honours’ Order of 14 instant summoned before me W Hodge, nominated to the Office of Preventive Man, I beg to report that the candidate presented himself this morning, but that I am unable to proceed to his examination etc. pending your Honours further directions, as I find that he attained the age of 20 on 18 October last.

He states, however, that his nomination had been secured by Mr Godfrey Baring, Member of Parliament for this constituency, before that date, and I beg to be informed whether, under such circumstances, Hodge may be regarded as eligible for examination and appointment.

I might add that in physique, address and apparent intelligence, Hodge would seem to be a desirable recruit. (The Collector was informed that the Treasury had approved the Nomination and he should proceed with the examination. Hodge subsequently passed the examination and was appointed a Preventive Man at Weymouth.)


20 December 1906             Collector was informed that the Collector at Southampton had issued a transire to the Barge “Carrier” for a trip to St Helens (and Cowes if necessary). The Cargo was a Railway Engine and coaches.


5 January 1907                    T M Lewis, Clerk Class II Upper Section was given an increment from 1 January from £240 to £250.


10 January 1907            I beg to request that six Badges may be supplied for fitting on the Motor Launch and two Boats at this Port. (Signed by T M Lewis, Acting Collector.)


16 January 1907            In accordance with your Honours directions I beg to report that the Royal Arms are not displayed over the entrance to this Custom House – which is provided by His Majesty’s Office of Works.

I beg also to say that I do not consider that the Royal Arms should be so displayed at this Port. The Customs Offices here are on the upper floor of the building part of the ground floor of which is used as a stationer’s shop, the remainder of the premises constituting the local Post Office and Postmaster’s residence, The entrance by which the staircase leading to our office is approached is not in a main street, but down a waterside lane, and a narrow board set at an angle from the main wall, and inscribed “Custom House” takes up all the room available over the doorway.


21 January 1907            I submit to your Honours favourable consideration, an application by Messrs. W B Mew Langton Limited of Cowes and Newport I W for remission of the duty on a chargeable loss of 3 gallons arising on a pipe of Port Wine n.e. 42°, cleared by them for home consumption ex their Bonded Warehouse No. 4 at this Port on the 10 instant. I was absent of that date at Ryde, on Wreck service, but, in submitting a report of the circumstances by Mr T M Lewis, Examining Officer, who dipped the cask pro Surveyor, beg to say that from my personal experience of the Warehouse, and observation of the pipe in question, the excessive loss was undoubtedly due to conditions in the Warehouse. There is no question whatever as to any fraudulent dealing with the package, for the Warehouse is never open but in the charge of an Officer. (The Board approved remission of duty and Mew Langton wrote a letter that they “appreciate the actions of the Honourable Board in remitting the duty”.)


23 January 1907            In compliance with your letter of the 16th Inst. I have this day forwarded by the London and South Western Railway Company the series of Collector’s Letter Books embracing the periods 1749 to 1829, excepting those for the periods April 1759 to June 1764 and March 1774 to December 1778 which are missing.


2 February 1907                  The Collector, on the instructions from the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury and the Board was asked to examine and measure E A Biddlecombe of Brooklyn, Mill Hill Road, Cowes who had been nominated as a Preventive Man.  This was carried out after a query about his age, which resulted from incorrect information from the Board. He was subsequently appointed to Weymouth.


2 February 1907                  The Collector was informed that a contract had been placed with Messrs. J S White and Co, East Cowes by the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to build and Ocean Going Destroyer for the Royal Navy, H.M.S. “Saracen”.


13 February 1907                                The Collector requested protective clothing for the Preventive Man operating the Motor Launch. This was agreed by the Board.


18 February 1907                                The Acting Collector, T M Lewis, provided details of Books of Receipt held, Duty Slip Books – 17, Request and Receipt Books (R & R) – 2 and Receipt Books for Registry Fees – 3.


20 February 1907           As directed by the Circular of the 15 January 1906, I beg to report the receipt at this Port from Messrs. Hebbert and Co. Ltd, of the undermentioned articles of uniform clothing which do not bear the usual marks signifying that they have been inspected at the Royal Army Clothing Department.

For A J H Titheridge, Preventive Man



(The Board instructed that the uniform should be returned for approval. They were returned on 8th March.)


25 February 1907           I beg to report that towards 5pm on the 18th instant a fire broke out in a dwelling house in Medina Road in this Town, which speedily spread to adjacent waterside premises, doing a great deal of damage. It raged for some hours, and although the wind was off shore at the time, the flames approached so closely to the Western wall of Bonded Warehouses Nos. 1 & 2 that there seemed to be a possibility of those premises being involved. Men had been landed from the warships lying in the Roads and Harbour, to assist the local fire brigades, and it is said (though the uproar and confusion prevailing at the time were such that no certainty in the point seems possible) that a naval officer in command of one of these parties gave orders to break open the doors of No. 1 Warehouse and remove the goods stored therein. This was done, and the whole of the contents of the Warehouse (344 cases and 35 casks of Wine and Spirit) very hastily transferred to an empty store on the opposite side of the Medina Wharf.

Mr F J Parsons, Preventive Officer Lower Section, and some of the Preventive Men at the Port were on the scene as spectators of the fire, and Mr Parsons at once assumed charge of the operation of removal and temporary storage. Mr T M Lewis, acting as Collector in my absence (I was on leave until the morning of the 19th instant) arrived and took matters in hand, and when the removal etc. had been completed a Crown Lock as affixed to the door of the store and Officers placed in charge of the premises through the night.

By the morning of the 19 Instant the fire had been got under control and, as there was no longer any danger to the Bonded Warehouse, the casks and cases were removed from their temporary storage and re-stored. Every package shewn by the Registers to be in stock was produced, and a careful and thorough examination having been made by the local Officers and myself, of each cask and case in the Warehouse, they have all been found to be correct, with the single exception of a case of plain British Spirit from which the lid had been wrenched and a bottle extracted. Duty has been paid on the contents of this bottle, and I now furnish this account of proceedings for your Honours information.

In doing so I think it is my duty to commend Mr Parsons for the intelligence and initiative which he displayed in dealing with the situation with such readiness and thoroughness as effectually prevented the plundering and irregularities which might otherwise, in the darkness, crowding and confusion so easily occurred. I beg also to add that, as the results reported above show, the promptitude and efficiency of the arrangements made by Mr Lewis when he became aware of the circumstances, and had to deal with them, left nothing to be desired.


27 February 1907           All yachts (which are presumably the “private craft” referred to by Mr Courtnay (Commissioner of Customs) ) inward at this Port are boarded by the Waterguard Officers. Those of British nationality are also rummaged, but foreign yachts are not so dealt with, the Officers merely putting the health questions and delivering the Stores Notice No. 470, and that as to dogs which are prohibited by paragraph 414 of the Importation Code.

Yachts arriving coastwise are not, in ordinary circumstances, boarded by the Waterguard Officers. It happens sometimes that the seals on Surplus Stores on such vessels may require inspection, or the Officers may visit with some question as to Light Dues etc. but the greater number of the yachts which come here off the coast require, and receive, no visit.


9 March 1907                The general routine of Waterguard duty at this port was definitively established by your Honours Order of 4 October 1905 and there are no subsidiary Orders affecting the practice.

Under the scheme drawn up by the Inspecting Surveyor the following arrangements were approved:


Preventive Officer is not on duty but makes disciplinary visit two out of every three Sundays, and after making the visit is “on call” for boarding duty. On every third Sunday he is entirely relieved from liability for any duty whatsoever by the employment of a Preventive Man in Charge.

Three Preventive Men are in attendance as Watchmen from midnight of Saturday to midnight on Sunday (in three watches of eight hours each) and, as the duty of Sunday boarding etc. is shared among these three men only, two preventive Men are entirely free on each Sunday. The man who has taken the 0/8 am watch and the one liable for the 4 pm/0 watch are called out by the Watchman on duty from 8 am to 4 pm should a vessel arrive requiring attention during that period, and similarly the Watchman from 4 pm to midnight would call out the men who had taken the two preceding Sunday watches.


On Week days actual attendance for boarding etc purposes is given by Waterguard Officers as follows:-

            Preventive Officer                                   9 am to 4 pm

            1 Preventive Man (Watch)                       Midnight to 8 am

            1 Preventive Man (Watch)                       8 am to 4 pm

            1 Preventive Man (Watch)                       4 pm to Midnight

            1 Preventive Man (Driving Launch)            8.30 am to 4 pm

            *1 Preventive Man                                  9 am to 2 pm

(* This is partially in consideration of this Officer having to come in again at midnight following, for the watch 0/8am, and by rotation of this daily relief among the 4 Preventive Men who keep watches a weekly margin of about 3 hours is secured to each man, so that in the event of unexpected work at the end of the week calling for late attendance it is ensured that a total of 48 hours duty for each man is not exceeded.)

After 4 pm the only Officers actually in attendance are the Watchmen who came on duty at that hour and at midnight, remaining on watch until midnight and 8 am respectively. Rummaging etc. is not undertaken after 10 pm, but until that hour the Preventive Officer (or Senior Preventive Man – see details below) and two Preventive Men are “on call”, and it the event of a vessel coming in for boarding etc. the Watchman calls out the Preventive Officer, the Preventive Man driving the launch (in certain circumstances) and, if necessary, another Preventive Man. Should the arrival be of an unimportant character and the weather fine enough to allow of the launch being merely moored to the visiting vessel without risk, the Watchman and the launch driver only would go off with the Preventive Officer to rummage etc. and the third Preventive Man would not be called out.

It follows therefore, that although all 5 Preventive Men are on duty daily, 3 of them merely give 8 hours attendance each, and at the conclusion of such period of attendance are free from liability to call. As regards the other two, one has given only five hours attendance in the day of the evening of which he is liable to call, and the second is the Launch Driver who does not share the watch, but usually gives regular daily attendance, as shown above of 7½ hours, between 8.30 am and 4 pm.

As to the Preventive Officer, I have during the last few months, instituted and arrangement of the duties by which he and the Senior Preventive Man are secured periodical relief from liability to call between 4 pm and 10 pm. Every alternate week charge of the boarding duty is entrusted to the Senior Preventive Man (who is also the launch driver and has, therefore, as shewn, all his evenings free from any obligation as Watchman), and the Preventive Officer signing off at 4 pm is relieved from the necessity for further attendance until the next morning. The Senior Preventive Man is similarly relieved in alternate weeks by the allotment of the evening boarding (if any) and an arrangement that the boarding shall be done by the rowing boat.  

It will be seen from these details that no compensation, either in money or time, is afforded to officers who are “on call” for Waterguard duties.


16 March 1907                     The Advising Officer sought and received approval for payment for accounts in respect of the Launch “Nimble”:

Mitcham Motor Company Ltd            Steam Roller                        )               £11 – 3 – 6           

                                                                Spare Accumulator             )

                                                                Fitting and Repairing          )              

                                                                tail-end shaft & propeller   )

Brown Brothers Ltd                             Tools                                      )               £1 – 17 – 3

15 Newman Street                              Volt Meter                              )

Oxford Street

London W


20 March 1907               During the year to 31 December 1906 the following “calls” were made on the Waterguard Officers at this Port:




Preventive Officer



Preventive Men



The amount of Overtime earned by these Officers on Sundays was:


For visits paid

For attendance given as the result of a “call”

Preventive Officer

£4 – 4 – 0

£2 – 14 – 0

Preventive Men

        2 – 8

£2 – 14 – 8


4 April 1907                   Extra remuneration during 1906 in their Official capacity by officers of all grades.

Rank of Officer

Number of Officers on Port Establishment

Overtime Remuneration

Other Remuneration stating nature

Total extra Remuner-ation

Average Remuneration for Officers of each rank.



Total for Crown

£   s   d

Total for Merchant

£   s   d


£   s   d

£   s   d

£   s   d

Collector & Surveyor



0 – 8 – 0

Substitute for Admiralty Marshall

2 – 10 – 0

2 – 18 – 0

2 – 18 – 0

Examining Officer Class II Upper Section


1 – 4 – 0

0 – 4 – 0



1 – 8 – 0

1 – 8 – 0

Preventive Officer Lower Section


6 – 18 – 0

0 – 15 – 0

Seizure Rewards

Trinity House

2 – 6 – 2


0 – 3 – 4

10 – 2 – 6

10 – 2 – 6





For serving Summons for Solicitor Board of Trade

0 – 4 – 6

0 – 4 – 6

0 – 4 – 6

Preventive Men


42 – 18 – 0 

0 – 11 – 4

Seizure Rewards

Trinity House

Allowance for Motor Launch

6 -15 – 10


0 – 16  – 8

6 – 19 – 6

58 – 1 – 4

11 – 2 – 3


4 April 1907                          F J Parsons, Preventive Officer given an Increment from £120 to £125 from 9 April.


20 April 1907                 The barque “Canna”, Official Number 85112, 429 net register tonnage, is at present loading at this Port a cargo of general goods for conveyance to the Cacos Islands, and application has been made to me to allow the shipment by her, among other goods, of about 8 or 10 cwts. of Manufactured Tobacco under bond. This I have, with reference to Section 1 of the Manufactured Tobacco Act, 1863, refused, and the agent of the owner of the ship and Islands has thereupon addressed to me the enclosed letter, which I submit for any directions your Honours may think fit to issue, observing that no facilities for weighing tobacco exist at this Port. (The Board replied by telegram allowing the application.)  


30 April 1907                        A series of seizure of Tobacco (amounts not specified) made on 29 April from George Burnop, William Hewitt and James A Bowden, Engineers accompanying the new Norwegian steamer “Eir” from Newcastle upon Tyne on behalf of the Builders of her first trip. Illegally landed when leaving the steamer at Ventnor and detected by James Mundell, Commissioned Boatman of the Coastguard at Ventnor. Offenders were allowed to deposit treble the duty paid value (the first two 11s 11d and the last 8s 9d). Seizures were confirmed and deposit brought to account.


1 May 1907                   I beg to report that on 24 March last the steamship “Marina”, property of the Royal Mail Company, sailed hence for Rio de Janeiro, the Master failing to clear outwards in respect of the cargo shipped at this Port.

The vessel appears to have been cleared for her South American voyage at London, but brought up in the Roads here on the afternoon of the date specified (a Sunday), and a Customs Launch built for the Brazilian Government by Messrs. Thorneycroft and Co., of Southampton, was towed from that Port alongside the “Marina”, and shipped on the deck of that vessel, which proceeded on her voyage immediately afterwards.

The specification for the launch is question has just been deposited with me, and is being submitted to-day to the Principal of the Statistical Office with the Company’s explanation as to the cause of the delay in lodging it


5 June 1907                   Lawrence Daly, Assistant was transferred to Southampton.


13 June 1907                 In the enclosed application Mr George Drover, a local shipbroker, seeks permission to discharge some cargoes of bricks, expected to arrive from a Belgian port, at Wootton Creek, about midway between this and Ryde, not approved for the landing of goods from foreign.

There is no record of discharge of goods from foreign at Wootton on any previous occasion, but I submit that the present application may be granted on terms similar to those on which your Honours have granted such concessions in respect of other outlying places on the Island. There is a Coast Guard Crew at Fishbourne, which commands the entrance to Wootton Creek, and, on receipt of an intimation of each vessel’s arrival from the Station Officer, Officers can be dispatched to rummage her etc., and they would travel again to Wootton to rummage her finally and clear her inwards, the discharge of the bricks being supervised by the Station Officer of Coast Guard.

Applicant undertakes to repay all expenses for travelling etc. incurred by the Officers. (This was approved.)


20 June 1907                       William Joseph Jennings, Assistant, London appointed Assistant, Cowes.


21 June 1907                 I beg to make application for supply of a small blue ensign, 4ft 6ins x 2ft 6ins for use on the motor launch “Nimble” at this Port. The one supplied on 7 August 1903 is now unfit for further use. (In reply to a query from the Board the Collector stated “the “Nimble” is not painted in Service colours, but kept bright , and the small ensign is always flown to certify her”.


17 July 1907                  I submit herewith for your Honours favourable consideration the enclosed application by Alfred Samuel Cassell, Preventive Man at this Port for appointment to Preventive Man in Charge at Lymington.

Cassell entered the Service on 31 August 1892, and has therefore, nearly 15 years’ service. He is a reliable and willing Officer; and performs his duties in an intelligent and satisfactory manner. I believe that he is quite well qualified for such a position as that to which he seeks appointment. (He was informed on the 1st August he had not been appointed.)


22 July 1907                  I submit for your Honours directions the enclosed application by William Samuel Graves, a Commissioned Boatman of Coast Guard at Seaview, in this Island, to be placed on the general list of candidates for employment as a Customs Watcher.

Graves is now entitled to a pension of 1s 4d a week, and to an addition of 3½d a week to that sum for each further year of service.

Intimation was made to Graves on the 11 instant in the terms of your Honours’ Order of 8 instant, Circular Secretary No. 10146/1907 (concluding paragraph). (His name was added to the list.)


31 July 1907                  I have to report that after the arrival at this port yesterday of the steam yacht “Joyeuse” of Southampton, Official Number 104284 98 tons net register (property of Mr Hamilton Fletcher of Lewestor Manor, near Sherborne, Dorset; the Anchorage, Christchurch Bay, Hants and Claridge’s Hotel, London), seizure of Tobacco, Cigars and Cigarettes were made by the local Waterguard Officers as follows. The yacht was from Amsterdam via Dover, at which Port I am informed, she arrived and was cleared inwards on the 8 instant. She has since been cruising on the South Coast of England.

At 4.20 pm Mr F J Parsons, Preventive Officer, who was accompanied by A J H Titheridge, Preventive Man, stopped A W Henley, the Cook, and W Jackman, the Steward, in Newport Road and questioned them as to the contents of a bag and portmanteau which these men were respectively carrying and which they had landed from the “Joyeuse”. Both men denied the possession of dutiable goods, Henley persisting in his denial and his assertion that he had no key to the package he was carrying, until taken by the Officers into a locksmith’s shop, when he produced the key of the bag and admitted that he had landed, and was carrying, a quantity of Tobacco. His bag being examined was found to contain 22 lbs Cavendish Tobacco and 10/16 lbs Cigars. He was at once arrested, taken to the Police Station; and brought before a Magistrate. He made no defence when charged and, on application to that effect, was remanded, on application to that effect, the 3 proxima, the first occasion on which a full bench of Magistrates will sit, and when, at 11.30am, he is to appear before them at Newport. The Magistrate accepted bail for his appearance, Henley himself in £50, and one surety for a similar amount, and this being forthcoming the Police released him. I beg that your Honours will instruct me, as early as possible before Saturday, as to what Penalty he should be sued for; whether I should undertake the conduct of this case; and, in view follows as to Henley, as to the respects in which he should be charged. I have no knowledge of any previous conviction against him.

Jackman, the Steward, was found to have concealed in his portmanteau 1 lbs Cavendish Tobacco, and being offered the option of depositing treble the value and duty to abide by your Honours decision, availed himself of this alternative.

The Preventive Officer with Titheridge and two other Preventive Men later proceeded to the “Joyeuse”, which was lying in the River. On the way to the vessel one of her fireman, H Willis was intercepted in East Cowes and found to have landed, and to be carrying concealed among clothes in his bag 38/16 lbs Cavendish Tobacco, in respect of which he too deposited treble the value and duty.

The “Joyeuse” being rummaged, seizures of Tobacco etc. were made from 5 more members of the crew who had concealed goods in various places on board:

W Matthews, Forecastle Cook                3 lbs Cavendish Tobacco, 6/16 lbs Cigars

R Foley, A.B.                                        28/16 lbs Cavendish Tobacco

F E Harvey, A.B.                                    38/16 lbs Cavendish Tobacco

W E Prince, O.S.                                   24/16 lbs Cavendish Tobacco,

H Summers, Fireman                             1 lbs Cavendish Tobacco

All these Men deposited treble the duty paid value of the goods seized from them, as did C Tambling, an Able Seaman, who had thrown overboard, to prevent seizure, and from whom I have taken an additional deposit of £1 to abide by your Honours decision in regard to this additional offence on his part. The Tobacco which he threw overboard was found by the Officers on a raft alongside and seized.

There was also thrown overboard, by some member of the crew not identified, 4/16 lbs Cigars which was recovered from the water by the rummaging Officers and seized.

In addition to these quantities a further 212/16 lbs Cavendish Tobacco was discovered concealed in a locker in the Cook’s berth, making a total quantity dealt with by Henley 2412/16 lbs Cavendish Tobacco and 10/16 lbs Cigars, the treble duty paid value of these articles amounting to £25 – 0 – 3.

The total of the goods seized from the “Joyeuse" is therefore

422/16 lbs Cavendish Tobacco,

18/16 lbs Cigars

6/16 lbs Cigarettes

and, in view of the quantity dealt with, and other circumstances of the case, I have informed the Master and Owner (the latter, who is at Claridge’s Hotel, London by letter of this date) that the yacht being liable to detention will only be released on a deposit of £25. This sum will, I believe, be lodged in my hands tonight, probably after despatch of the mail, as the Owner wishes to embark with friends before the arrival of His Majesty at the end of the week, but the yacht meanwhile lies under observation and in these circumstances I have not placed an Officer on board.

I beg that I may receive your Honours directions as to the disposal of the various deposits and seized goods. (The goods were retained as seizures, and the deposits, with the exception of the additional £1 from Tambling, brought to account as fines. The £1 from Tambling was returned, as the Collector had no authority to take it, and no further action taken.)


31 July 1907                         Seizure of Tobacco (quantity unknown) from P Smith, A.B. on board the “Medona” yacht from Rotterdam, goods concealed in the lining of sail and a waste bag. Made by F J Parsons, Preventive Officer and A S Cassell and E J Osborne, Preventive Men. Treble duty paid value taken as deposit. Goods seized and deposit retained.


1 August 1907                      Following a request from the Board the Collector reported that A J H Titheridge, Preventive Man, serviced as a Lance Corporal in the 5th Volunteer Battalion of the Hampshire Regiment.


6 August 1907               I appeared before the Magistrates at Newport on Saturday 3 instant, to sue A W Henley for £100 in this case.

Henley duly surrendered his bail, and I laid the facts before the Bench, who also heard the testimony of Mr Parsons, Preventive Officer in support. After proof of the case against Henley so far as it related to the Tobacco and Cigars seized from him, I again addressed the Magistrates as to the reasons which lead your Honours to regard the case of being of a serious character, and, in accordance with the Solicitor’s instructions informed them of the fact that a further seizure of 212/16 lbs Tobacco also owned by Henley, was made on board the “Joyeuse” after his detection and arrest above.

The Magistrates committed Henley and fined him in the substantial Penalty of £40 and 6/- costs, or one month’s imprisonment, which, I submit is a highly satisfactory result of the prosecution.

Henley asked the Magistrates for time in which to pay the fine and costs, and this the bench granted him. I deferred this report until to-day in the expectation that the money would have been paid this morning, but it has not reached me up to the moment of writing. (Payment was received on 8 August.)


9 August 1907                      T M Lewis, granted 25 days leave and replaced by Mr A E Perrett, Examining Officer, Class II


14 August 1907             The attached application by Mr Albert J H Titheridge, Preventive Man at this port, for appointment to Preventive Man and Second Officer at Bridgewater, is submitted with reference to Circular od 12 instant.

Titheridge is a very steady and well conducted Officer, holding two “stars”, and he will complete 16 years service on the 31 instant.


19 August 1907             As directed by your Circular of 16 instant, I beg to report that I have never found it necessary to dismantle in any manner a ship which I may have had occasion to detain under Section 692 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894, but that I always place the vessel in the custody of an Extraman (stationed on board) – the staff of Established Officers at this port not being sufficiently numerous to admit the employment of such an Officer for that purpose.

These observations apply to the case of any vessel which, in my capacity of Receiver of Wreck, I might have reason to detain upon a claim for salvage.


20 August 1907             I submit herewith an application by Mr Hamilton Fletcher, owner of the steam yacht “Joyeuse” for return of the deposit of £25 lodged in my hands on the 1 instant to avoid detention of the vessel in connection with the smuggling of a quantity of tobacco and cigars by members of the yacht’s crew.

The only previous occasion on which a seizure has been made here from the “Joyeuse” was in September 1898, when a small seizure (1 lbs Tobacco and 4/16 lbs Cigars) was made from an Able Seaman on board of her. (The Deputy Chairman of Customs wrote to the Collector asking whether the owner had dismissed any or all of the crew members who were caught smuggling.)

27 August 1907             Mr Fletcher has not dismissed any of his crew.

“Joyeuse” is now out of commission, and all the men concerned in this smuggling transaction are now employed about her in the necessary work preliminary to laying her up.

Henley, the Cook, is a yearly servant. He has been in Mr Fletcher’s employment for about 12 years, and is not, as are the other hands, engaged commission after commission but receives fixed yearly wages. I believe that Mr Fletcher is considering whether he will retain him in his employment or dismiss him at the end of the year but he has taken no action in this respect up to the present.

The Deputy Chairman instructed the Collector to write to Mr Hamilton Fletcher stating that if he gave an assurance he would dismiss Henley and that he would take precautions to prevent smuggling, the Board would be willing to consider the question of the return of the deposit. The Acting Collectors letter and the reply are not included.)


28 August 1907                   The Advising Officer reported that “Nimble” had been taken out of the water on to the Watch House Slip prior to the Summer season for examination and found to be in a satisfactory condition generally. The Collector employed a local boat builder for repairs to the hull and fittings and the Mitcham Motor Company of Cowes to carry out repairs on the motor. The total cost was £14 – 15 – 0, which was approved by the Board.


26 August 1907                   The Collector, on the instructions from the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury and the Board was asked to examine and measure L J Edwards of Highland, Stephenson Road, Cowes who had been nominated as a Preventive Man. He was subsequently rejected on medical (short sight) grounds.


31 August 1907             The “Elizabeth” is a French Schooner of 101 tons net register. She arrived here on 26 instant from Trouville, and the Waterguard Officer who boarded her on arrival handed to the owner the demand for Light Dues, at 1/- per ton less an abatement of 20 per cent, which invariably addressed to the owner or masters of foreign yachts on their arrival unless it has been found that Dues have been previous paid at some other port. The owner refuse to pay the amount demanded before he had consulted the Secretary of the Royal Yacht Squadron as to the liability of the yacht to such a charge, and sailed again on the 29 instant without making payment.

No exemption is allowed in regard to these yachts in the Rules for Guidance of Collectors issued by Trinity House under the Merchant Shipping (Mercantile Marine Fund) Act, 1898, which provides that:

“In the case of foreign owned yachts the dues shall be levied at the port of their arrival.”

I have no alternative, therefore, but to make demands of the character to which exception is taken in the present instance, unless and until Trinity House may consent to some relaxation of the Rule, - which I submit is entirely for that Corporation. (The Light Dues amounted to £4 – 0 – 10. This appears to have resulted from a letter from Mr Pasley, Secretary of the Royal Yacht Squadron and a letter to the Times from Sir J Montague Burgoyne complaining about unfair taxes levied on foreign yachts by the Custom House at Cowes. The Board supported the Collector, but referred a copy of the letter to Trinity House.)


14 September 1907            In reply to a letter to from the Board the Acting Collector (T M Lewis) stated that the Cleaner of Custom House received £10 per annum. The dimensions of rooms in the building were given as:

Four Rooms and Lobby


sq. ft.

Collectors Office

13 ft x 136/10 ft


Collectors Private Room

13 ft x 84/10 ft


Long Room

47 ft x 178/10 ft


Shipping Office

142/10 ft x 142/10 ft



7 ft x 44/10 ft



18 September 1907        On the 13th inst. a report reached me that a yacht from foreign was lying at Yarmouth I.W., and in reply to an enquiry of mine the Chief Officer of Coastguard at that place reported that the Yacht “Seaweed”, o.n. 76893 of Barrow, had arrived there from Trouville on the 1st inst. I at once called upon him for an explanation as to why he had not informed me that the yacht in question was remaining at his station. I then called upon the Master any explanation he had to offer of his failure to bring his vessel to a proper Boarding Station as required by Section 5 of the Revenue Act, 1883 and submit his reply together with a letter, received from the owner.

From a personal interview with the Chief Boatman of Coastguard I learned that on the yacht’s arrival at Yarmouth he visited her and satisfied himself that the health of all on board was good, and there had been no sickness on board during the voyage and that there were no dutiable stores on board, and that under these circumstances he was not aware it was necessary to direct the Master to come to the Boarding Station at Cowes. I have replied to the Owner’s letter and requested him to bring his vessel to the Boarding Station here on Friday next on his way to Brightlingsea, when a further rummage can be made by the local Officers. 

In submitting this case for your Honours directions, I beg to state that in my opinion the Master’s failure to comply with the law was not due to wilful neglect but to the impression that after interrogation and rummage by the Coastguard Officers he had nothing further to do.

I have instructed the Coastguard Officers that in future any future similar instance he is to instruct the Master to bring his vessel to the proper Boarding Station with as little delay as possible. (Signed by T M Lewis, Acting Collector.)


20 September 1907            The Collector was asked by the Board whether it was practice to insist that vessels (yachts) arriving at outlying places should come to Cowes to receive pratique.

Undated                        This is the first instance as I can ascertain, of a yacht arriving at one of the outlying districts direct from foreign and remaining there for a lengthened period without coming to the Boarding Station to receive pratique. In practice such vessels come to the Boarding Station, and if they did not they certainly would be deemed to have contravened Section 5 of the Revenue Act 1883 and dealt with as in the present case; but there does not appear to be any Boards direction on the question.

So far back as 1877 in the case of a yacht Amethyst arriving at Shanklin from Guernsey, when baggage and dutiable stores were illegal landed there the Collector in his report to the Board on the 20th September of that year stated that “…… strictly the yacht ought to have come first to Cowes to be boarded and cleared inwards in the usual manner”, but the Board do not appear to have issued instructions on this point, though in their Order dated 4th October 1877 they said “…… the difficulty in this case has arisen from the irregularity of a vessel (yacht) coming from abroad to an unauthorised place of arrival……”. The more recent occurrence of the yacht “Achilla” from Cherbourg landing a passenger at Calshot and cruising in neighbouring waters befoe coming to the Boarding Station was reported with and dealt with in papers 9611 & 9889/1906. (Signed by T M Lewis, Acting Collector. No further action was taken against the “Seaweed”.)


1 October 1907                    A quotation was received from the Isle of Wight Electric Light & Power Co. Ltd giving a quote of about £3 for installing 3 lights at the Watch House. A minimum consumption of £2 per annum was required.


7 October 1907                    F J Parsons wrote a letter to the Board complaining about the length of time he had to work in addition to the normal 42 hours per week. His particular concern was the amount of time he was on duty at home (i.e. on call) which he estimated as 1692 hours per annum. No allowance was give for this time and he requested that one be given. It was submitted as below.


8 October 1907              The enclosed application is by Mr F J Parsons the Preventive Officer, Lower Section stationed at this port, who seeks to be granted some allowance in respect of the hours of which he is “on call” for Waterguard duty over and above those during which he is actually in attendance on his station.

In submitting it, I beg a reference to your Honours Order of 4 October 1905 by which the routine of Waterguard duty at this port was established and my report of 9 March 1907 in which I set forth full details of the extent to which the liability of “call” affected Mr Parsons, and of the measures I had taken to afford him what relief was possible.

The conditions at this port are such that, to ensure the prompt and effective discharge of Waterguard duty with regard to the economy of the establishment, the Officer in charge of the crews as well as a proportion of the Preventive Men, in rotation, must be on call. (The Board sought more information on 10 October, and suggested he may like to transfer to Liverpool for more regular hours.)


1) The Preventive Officer’s normal day attendance was fixed by Boards Order 14402/1905 at 42 hours per week, but in fact it comes to rather more. I have taken 8 weeks at random from different seasons of the year and the average works out as 44¾ hours per week of actual attendance on the Station.

2) The relief arrangement between the Preventive Officer and the Senior Preventive Man was suspended during the summer months when the requirements of the yachting season had to be met, so Mr Parsons does not get the benefit of it during 26 weeks.

3) It is the case that during 1906 the Preventive Officer was called out on weekdays on 26 occasions.

4) The Preventive Officers 34 Sunday visits are made in rotation to the three watchmen who share the watches between midnight Saturday and Midnight Sunday, so that 12 of them fall between midnight Saturday and 8 am Sunday.

5) Mr Parsons took up duty here on 14 February 1906. Between that date and the 5th instant his overtime apart from Sunday pay has amounted to 33 – 3 – 0 in 35 weeks – an average of just under 9d per week.

6) Mr Parsons desires me to say that he is not desirous at present of transfer to a larger port.


11 October 1907            The Assistant Secretary in a letter dated 4 July 1906, which he addressed after my return hither from Yarmouth, where I had been compelled to beg your Honors to cancel my promotion to that port, gave me to understand that I must not expect your Honours to offer me promotion again, but that it would be open to me to say when I found myself fit to undertake charge of a larger port.

I am now so much stronger and improved in health as to feel that I may apply to be given an opportunity of advancement to a port in the administration of which I could satisfy your Honours’ requirements, and I trust that, if I have still retained the confidence and approval which I have striven through many years to merit, such an opportunity may be granted to me in due course and when your Honours see fit.

In making this application, I beg permission to add that I am still sensible, with unabated regret, of the trouble and difficulty occasioned by my action last year, and that should your Honours entertain this application I will take care that, by the exercise of foresight and precaution in which I failed then, I will avoid committing myself again to such a false position as that in which your Honours treated me with forbearance and consideration for which I am most grateful. (The Board directed that this statement be noted.)


15 October 1907   Identical letters to the Coastguard at Yarmouth, Totland, Shanklin, Bembridge, & Ventnor.

The circumstances under which persons are occasionally landed from vessels, inward and outward bound, on the guards of your Station have been recently under review, and it appears desirable that I should call to your attention to the urgent necessity which exists that you should, in the interests of public health, be entirely satisfied that any person so landed are themselves free from disease and come from uninfected vessels. Please therefore continue to exercise the strictest precaution in this respect and to report to me, as early as possible, full particulars in any instance where landing takes place. In any case of doubt or difficulty you should refer to me for instructions. Please acknowledge receipt of this letter.)


17 October 1907            I regret very much in the particulars furnished it was not made clear that the week-day “calls” on the Preventive Officer were not confined to the months of August 1906 and August 1907. In fact, they ranged through practically the whole of each of those two year, commencing 21 March 1906, and the latest occasion which he was called out on a week-day being 20 ultimo. That he earned only week-day overtime in August is due to the fact that in every other week in which he gave attendance continued after 4 pm, or was called out after that hour, his reliefs were so arranged that in no case did his attendance exceed 48 hours.

From experience gained during the past season I do now consider it necessary for the Preventive Office to remain on call quite to the same extent as during that period, as I think that, excepting the month of August, the relief arrangement between him and the Senior Preventive Man, a thoroughly competent man, might be carried throughout the rest of the year. I do not wish to suggest any other modifications of the existing Waterguard arrangements which I have found, as instituted, necessary and satisfactory. (It was agreed that as an experimental measure “on call” between 4 pm and 10 pm would be shared between the Preventive Officer, the Senior Preventive Man and the Assistant. Parsons withdrew his request for an allowance. This arrangement was reviewed in February 1908, when it was stated that the Assistant’s performance was not entirely satisfactory, but improving,  and a further review ordered when the Assistant ability had been fully assessed.)


17 October 1907   (Letter from W H Finley, Preventive Man to the Commissioners)

Most respectfully hereon I apply to be removed to Barry should a vacancy occur for a preventiveman.

On November 11th of this year, I shall have been at this port two years, but whilst keeping in view the purport of G.O. 85/06 I venture to submit my application, not only as an exceptional case but as one in need of kind and generous consideration, which I trust your Honours will give it. My reason for making this application are as follows:

My Father, who resides in Barry is 60 years of age and will in the early part of January 1908, be dismissed from his present situation. His employers contend that his age prevents him from executing his duties satisfactorily or in safety. I fear further employment will not be obtainable.

I have two sisters, one deformed and entirely dependent on my parents and the other partly dependent on them.

It is my heart’s desire to help my parents as much as I possibly can, in this time of need, and the money I now have to expend for my Board and Lodging would be doubly its value at home. Under these circumstances I venture to make this application, and earnestly beg that your Honours will give it favourable consideration, and thus enable me to render assistance to my parents at their time of real need. (The Collector  endorse the application and described Finley as “an exceptionally promising young Officer, highly intelligent, zealous, hard-working, and of quite exemplary conduct in all respects”.)


19 October 1907                  T M Lewis, Clerk Class II applied for the position of Chief Officer at Brixham as he wished to be given an opportunity of qualifying for a Collectorship , a position he was most desirous of ultimately obtaining. The Collector forwarded the application without comment.


29 October 1907   (Letter from Hamilton Fletcher)

I have been obliged to be away a good deal lately or your letter of the 24 ult. and previous one would have been replied to before.

As you are aware my yacht is of the highest character and everything connected with her and absolutely well conducted and respectable and although this unfortunate matter has occurred this once & which has been a great annoyance to me, yet you must know that with my yacht Customs have as little trouble to fear as with anything afloat. I feel this as a personal matter which has been very distasteful to me as in the nearly quarter of a century during which I have had yacht’s crews, I have never had such a thing before or any complaint whatever, and with that record I cannot that I merit being treated in an unfriendly way by the Customs in the detention of this money.

As you told me, and as I understand, the liability of this detention is not through the action of this man Henley but because another man was found to have tobacco – a head steward – and he technically in Customs’ rules is taken as a “responsible Officer”. The amount of tobacco this Steward had was 1 lb.

I have not the least hesitation in giving Customs the assurance that I shall in future take special precautions about Smuggling as I should naturally do after this unpleasant experience but what I do with my servants must be left as a matter between me and them to do what I consider right and proper.

The Customs have had the law with this man Henley who has been punished for his offence with a fine which must pretty well, if not quite ruined him. I don’t think there is the least fear of his offending again, although he will naturally be a marked man for some time and I cannot disregard his service of nearly 11 years, during which time I have never had to make or receive one single complaint about him in any respect, and I am not inclined to turn him adrift characterless, although I think you may leave it to me to see that things are alright in the future.

Why not put the facts before the Board of Customs? I must ask you to send them this letter in its entirety that they may be enabled to understand the matter fully. I will enclose a copy in case you should wish to keep one and forward them this original letter. I should much regret any unfriendly act of Customs to make me feel that I to be looked upon as an enemy by them.


31 October 1907            In submitting the attached further letter received to-day from Mr Hamilton Fletcher, owner of the steam yacht “Joyeuse”, I beg to say:

1) With reference to its third paragraph, that Mr Fletcher is in error is supposing that I informed him that the yacht was not liable to detention, and that a deposit of £25 – 0 – 0 was called for as a condition of her release, on account of Henley’s action. On the contrary, I explained to him carefully that the yacht was so liable because of the quantity of Tobacco attempted to be smuggled by her, and in the course of a long interview, I communicated to Mr Fletcher the substance of Paragraph 953 of the Importation Code in the endeavour to put before him in the fullest and clearest manner possible the Law and Regulations governing this matter, but without any intention of conveying to him the impression that the Deposit of £25 – 0 – 0 was called for solely as a consequence of his steward, Jackman, in smuggling the small quantity of Tobacco with which he was detected.

2) With reference to Mr Fletcher’s observation in its concluding paragraph, that every written communication which I received from him on this subject has immediately submitted, in original, to your Honours. (The Collector was instructed to write to Mr Fletcher that they did not wish to turn him adrift characterless, but that he should cease to be employed where he might have the opportunity and temptation to repeat his offence and be a danger to the Revenue, and also that the detention and fine was because of the quantity of tobacco and number of offenders. This was done on 25 November.)


21 November 1907             William G Geeves, Preventive Man, Hull appointed Preventive Man, Cowes.


23 November 1907             William Henry Finley, Preventive Man, Cowes admitted as Preventive Man, Barry Dock.


17 December 1907             T M Lewis, Clerk Class II Upper Section given increment from £250 to £260 from 1 January 1908.


24 December 1907         The following letter was sent by the Board to Mr Hamilton Fletcher, who was stated to be one of the owners of the White Star Line after considerable discussion between the Chairman, Deputy Chairman and other members of the Customs Board. The Board clearly had little sympathy with Mr Fletcher but felt that public opinion would be against them, as would the House of Commons, for punishing Henley twice. It was stated this was a tactical withdrawal.

The Commissioners of Customs have had before them your letter of the 17th inst. addressed to the Collector at Cowes.

It is their practice, purely as a matter of grace and favour, to grant to yachts used by the owners special privileges not extended to ordinary merchant vessels, such as exemption from report and entry from ordinary rules. These special facilities render offences against the Revenue on board yachts more liable to escape detection that other vessels and the “first offence” is not one that can ordinarily be accepted.

The only justification for this exceptional concession to yachts is that that the Commissioners can rely on the honour of owners to take effective steps to prevent the vessels being used for attempts to defraud the Revenue and consequently the discovery of a serious attempt to smuggle from a yacht must place a very special responsibility to the owner who has failed to carry out this honourable understanding.

The Commissioners are regretfully forced to the conclusion effective steps to safeguard the Revenue were not taken in the case of the “Joyeuse” and that their reliance on the owner was not justified. They are, however, willing to accept that you have now realised your responsibility and accept your promise that you will in future take special precautions against smuggling by any members of your crew and have, therefore, decided to refund the whole of the £25 in question and have directed the Collector at Cowes to proceed accordingly.

I am to add that there are no grounds for your assertion, which have should never been made, that your communication of the 29th October last addressed to the Collector had not been laid before the Commissioners.


30 December 1907   From W G Geeves, Preventive Man

I most respectfully crave your Honours indulgence in submitting this application for part of my removal expenses from Hull to Cowes.

When I accepted the transfer which; owing to my wife’s illness your Honours were pleased to grant, I did not know that the expenses would be as great. The lowest tender was £19 – 10 by boat which I accepted as per estimate attached, the railway for my wife, self & two children £3 – 2 and other incidental expenses. The Medical charges were very heavy, having also to send my wife to the seaside during the summer for the benefit of her health.

Trusting your Honors will be pleased to view this application favourably. (The letter was forwarded to the Collector, Hull for his observations and details of the terms of the transfer.)


2 January 1908              In view of the observations in the concluding paragraph of the letter which was addressed by your Honours Order of the 24 ultimo to Mr Hamilton Fletcher, I think it my duty to submit the enclosed letter from that Gentleman which has reached me this morning, together with a copy of a letter I addressed to his on 18 ultimo, and which has apparently satisfied him that he has no reason to doubt my good faith in dealing with the matter.


19 December 1907   From the Board

By a circular of 4th November 1817, the Board directed a change in the flags carried by Customs Cruisers. The flags in use prior to that date were, I believe, settled by General Letter of 6th December 1730 and were the jack and ensign with the Custom House Seal within. We are anxious to ascertain what exactly was the “Custom House Seal” displayed on the flags prior to 1817, and as there appears to have been a Revenue Cruiser attached to your Port in 1797, I should be glad if you would have a search made in the archives and let me have any particulars you may be able to discover on the subject. 


1 January 1908              I regret very much having to say that I am quite unable to furnish any information in response to your enquiry, dated 19 ultimo, as to the character of the flags formerly carried by Customs Cruisers. The only records at this port in which I could have hoped to come across any details bearing on the subject, the Collectors Letter Books for the period 1749/1829 were despatched to the Secretary’s Office from this port on 23 January 1907.

I have delayed sending this reply as we have at this port a very aged pensioner who used to serve in the Customs Cruisers, and I thought it possible that, as he has a clear recollection of the details of his early service, he might be able to tell me something bearing on the subject of your enquiry. He appeared today to draw his pension and I questioned him as closely as possible, but learned nothing whatever of value. He joined “Amphitrite” in the summer of 1835 as a boy, and has a very clear memory of the flag and pendant carried by her and the other cruisers on which he served, but has no idea whatever as to the character of the flags for which they were substituted.


17 January 1908                  The Collector, was asked to examine and measure George Oliver Warne who had been nominated as a Preventive Man. He was appointed to Harwich (but was subsequently appointed to Cowes on 8 September 1911).


31 January 1908            Yesterday forenoon I was called up on the telephone by the Chief Officer of Coast Guard at Ventnor who reported to me that the Coast Guard Watchman at that place had intercepted a person landing from an outward bound vessel, by means of a fishing boat and found him to be in possession of 1 lb of Cavendish Tobacco and a small quantity of Brandy in an ullaged bottle. I found that the person involved was E W Culmer of 49 George Street, Poplar, London who represented himself to be an unlicensed coasting pilot, engaged by the Master of the ship “Ems” bound from Middlesbrough to Calcutta with a cargo of salt, and who stated that the tobacco and brandy had been given to him before he left the ship by the Master from the Ship’s stores. By the telephone I offered Culmer the option of depositing treble the duty paid value of the goods to abide by your Honours’ decision, and he availed himself of this course and lodged the sum of £1 – 4 – 11 with the Chief Officer who then released him and allowed him to proceed, the tobacco and brandy being seized.


31 January 1908            Geeves has only been at this port for two months – two of the slackest months of the year at Cowes – and I feel that he has scarcely been under my survey long enough, and has had hardly had opportunities to justify me replying to the first of the queries addressed to me (whether Geeves was a deserving Officer) with the precision and knowledge of his character they demand. The Collector at Hull would, perhaps, be able to satisfy your Honours on this point. I might say, however, that for one reason or another I have observed Geeves with particularly close attention since he took up duty her, and think the impression he has made on me has been wholly favourable – in every respect.

I have questioned him as closely as possible as to his circumstances to enable me to reply to the second reference addressed to me (whether as the result of incurring the cost of his move he is now without means, and may be considered to be in distressed circumstances) and the candour and detail with which he has answered all my questions go to confirm my favourable estimate of him. What I have learned from him, however, makes it necessary that I should say that he is not, as the result of expenses he has recently incurred, now without means, and that he cannot be considered to be “in distressed circumstances” in the literal significance of that phrase.

I think, notwithstanding, that if I submit what I have learned of his circumstances, your Honours may be disposed to consider his application with some degree of favour, and I feel I am justified in strongly recommending it for such consideration.

Geeves has been married for 10 or 11 years and has two little girls, respectively 8 and 5 years of age. Up till November 1905 his wife enjoyed good health, but at that time her distressing complaint (phthisis) developed and since then he has had to meet the constant and heavy expense involved in specialists fees, ordinary medical attendance, medicines, extra nourishment, and the change of air and going to a seaside resort which was one of the earlier means prescribed to combat the complaint. That Geeves has been a most steady and well conducted man is, I think, proved by the fact that he has met all these heavy demands upon him, culminating in the expenditure of the comparatively large sum necessary to accomplish the removal better, has been met out of his savings which he has been provident and self denying enough to put aside out of his small Official income. Moreover, he tells me, since his father, now between 60 and 70 years of age and unable longer to follow his occupation of seafaring, need assistance, devoted to the aid of his parents whatever sums he gained in the way of Seizure Rewards. The consideration on which the Accountant General lays stress in his report, as to the excessive cost of removal to this port (due, principally, to the very high charge which is made for the water carriage between this and the mainland) affected Geeves removal bill very seriously. I have, too, gone into figures with him, and find that as to the three prime household necessities, rent, fuel and light, he is living here, as compared with his residence in Hull, at an annual disadvantage of from £10 to £12.

I place these facts before your Honours in the hope that the consideration of Geeve’s case may be favourable influenced by them, because it appears to me that some indulgence to an Officer overtaken in his family life by unavoidable misfortune and whose endeavours to keep his life on a respectable level makes him a credit to the Service would be, ultimately, beneficial to his character and value as an Officer. (The Board made a grant of £10.)


3 February 1908 As directed by your Honours Order of 28 October last, I beg to report that the two badges which were sent to this port by the Superintending Engineer and Constructor of Shipping, Woolwich, in the beginning of December last were fitted to the bows of the motor boat “Nimble” on the 9th of that month, and that they are wearing satisfactorily. They were fitted in precise accordance with Mr Travis’s instructions, and have a good appearance on the boat which, since the date referred to, has been employed as usual in boarding etc. work under weather conditions of some severity. (The idea of using a Badge on Customs Launches was dropped on instructions from the Deputy Chairman, but Cowes was allowed to keep the one that had been fitted.)


5 February 1908 Seizures ex “Joyeuse” Warrant No. 22 of the Accountant & Comptroller General. Sum of £10 awarded by the Board out of the Penalty of £40 as additional Reward to the Officers:

F J Parsons P.O.           £2 –17 – 6   

A J H Titheridge P.M.     £2 – 7 – 6

A S Cassell P.M.           £2 – 7 – 6

W H Finley P.M.            £2 – 7 – 6         

(The amounts allocated to individual Officers was subsequently challenged)


13 February 1908           I beg to report that as requested in the enclosed application by Mr W T Maby, a local shipbroker, I have allowed discharge of 100 tons granite in bulk, per Ketch “Daring”, from Guernsey at St. Helens Quay, a place within this port not approved for the landing of goods from foreign.

The agent deposited £2 at the time of making his application, and the expenses incurred amount to 8 shillings.

The vessel arrived off Ryde on the evening of Sunday 9 instant, and was rummaged by the Spithead Crew stationed at Ryde Pier. She proceeded to St. Helens the same night, and the cargo was discharged the same day by 5.30 pm. As the railway fares for the conveyance of the necessary Officers to St. Helens and back would have amounted to the same as the bicycle allowance, I allowed Mr Parsons, Preventive Officer and A S Cassell, Preventive Man, who journeyed thither on the 10 instant finally to re-rummage the vessel and clear her inwards, to use their bicycles for the purpose. The distance is 24 miles and the allowance payable to each Officer is consequently 4/-. No other expenses have been incurred. (The Board queried the rail fare and suggested that the use of one Officer would have been sufficient.)


17 February 1908           The “Belos” is a Swedish Salvage Steamer which arrived here on 25 ultimo from Treeleborg, and has been, ever since, lying in this Harbour awaiting orders to proceed to any place at which her services may be required in connection with wreck or salvage. Soon after her arrival the Master applird for issues free of duty from the Surplus stores sealed up when the steamer was rummaged and cleared inwards. I refused to allow such issues, but offered to permit the applicant to pay duty on any such goods which he required for consumption on board, as was granted in the case of the “Helios”, a steamer of similar character and nationality, by your Honours Order of 20 December 1902. This course he has followed and paid duty on a drum of Spirit, unsweetened, unenumerated (corn brandy). 8.8 gallons content, 7 gallons liquid, 5.8 gallons proof, value about 15/-, on which he was charged a fine of 5/- prescribed by the Regulations. He now applies for remission of this fine, and in view of all the circumstances of the case, I submit the application for your Honours favourable consideration. (The fine was remitted.)


19 February 1908           There are only two trains per diem by which the cheap fare of 3/- is available – 8.30 am and 12.40 pm. The telegram stating that the cargo was out did not reach till the afternoon and by all afternoon trains the fare is 4/- (2nd Class).

When a vessel of this character has been satisfactorily rummaged on arrival, and the services of the Coast Guard are used for assistance in the final rummage and clearance, I think it would be sufficient if the Preventive Officer alone went to the out-station.


20 February 1908           There is lying at the Coast Guard Station at Totland on this Island a pipe containing between 120 and 130 gallons Wine washed ashore on the guard of that Station on 31 Ultimo. Sea water having got into the cask before it was washed ashore the wine was spoilt and is not worth the duty. I submit, that it may be destroyed under the supervision of the Chief Officer of Coast Guard at Totland, and a Certificate of Destruction furnished by him.

The sanction of the Board of Trade was given subject to your Honours’ concurrence.

Three other pipes of the same character were washed ashore in this District in January, but the wine contained in them has been sold, and the duty assessed in due course and brought to account. (This was agreed by the Board, the wine tipped into the Sea and  a Certificate of Destruction issued on 25 February.)


24 February 1908   Sturdy has in the period from the 17 to 22 instant, both inclusive, been under instruction from E J Osborne, Preventive Man in charge of the motor boat “Nimble”. A report is submitted herewith from that Officer who states that Sturdy is now able to drive “Nimble”; and I beg to add having been out in the launch twice with the Officers during the period of instruction, I am satisfied Sturdy made very good progress indeed, and shewed himself apt and ready in acquiring the necessary knowledge.

In addition to instructing Sturdy in the management and driving of the motor afloat, it was found possible to arrange for him to see, at the premises of the respective firms, sections of a Fay and Bowen motor similar to that by which “Nimble” is propelled, and a Gardiner motor fitted in a private launch, and the persons concerned very kindly gave him information as to the principles of construction, working etc. of these engines which should be of use to him. (Sturdy was from Southampton.)


1905 - 1906

1908 - 1909

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.

5 February 2008