Compulsory pilotage was introduced in the first decade of the nineteenth century and local men in selected ports were officially licensed for the first time as pilots.  This brought opportunity for some local men and safer arrivals and departures for ships but higher costs for merchants and ship owners.  Throughout the nineteenth century, these factors were discussed and debated in the newspapers, in Select Committees and at Trinity House.

Using the extensive written records of pilots held in the Bartlett Library at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall, further records from the Trinity House archive at the London Metropolitan Archive, and other genealogical data, a detailed and extensive database was created on all of the registered Falmouth pilots during the nineteenth century. This article gives an insight into the lives of these pilots in the early part of the century.

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