Friday, April 15, 2016

Lighthouse Keeper at the Bluff Light Natal 1878: T Gadsden and D W Bell

Bluff Lighthouse and Signal Station circa 1870s

Extract from the Natal Almanac 1878 giving names of employees in the Engineer's Office Port Office, Customs Excise and Lighthouse. My great grandfather Thomas Gadsden was earning 125 pounds per annum. His brother in law Douglas Bell as Assistant Keeper was earning 100 pounds.

A tidewaiter, incidentally, was a customs officer who checked goods when a vessel landed, to make sure duties were paid.

You may find an ancestor's name among those listed.

This edition of the Almanac appeared the year before the
Anglo-Zulu War took place, and the year before Thomas Gadsden's son Phillip
 was born on 14 May 1879, only to die in infancy.



Lovely photo.

Mole said...


Unknown said...

Wow lovely! the Signal Station around that time looks so high tech considering the technical advancement in that area. In the second picture I can't help noticing about the Port Captain, Alexander Airth, I previously worked on an assignment with and I never thought I would come across him again. I guess its from the Natal Almanac 1878 extract. Anyways thanks for sharing. Good read indeed!

Mole said...

Thanks for your interest and comment. Yes that extract is from the 1878 Almanac, a mine of information. I'm not sure quite what the capabilities of the signal station were at that date. You can read more in my article Keeper of the Bluff Light on this blog.