Friday, July 20, 2018

Maritime employees at Natal 1874: is your ancestor among them?

At this date Thomas Gadsden (my great grandfather) was Lighthouse Keeper at the Bluff Light at 125 pounds per annum. His brother-in-law, Douglas William Bell was Assistant Keeper at 100 pounds. Both men occupied living quarters near the lighthouse. Alexander Airth was then Port Captain. Gadsden and Airth did not always see eye to eye. 

Tidewaiter: He was a customs official who checked goods upon the landing of a vessel, to ensure payment of duties. Depending on the size of the port and the volume of shipping there might be several tidewaiters in attendance.

The position was open to abuse by the tidewaiters themselves, bribery and corruption could occur. Mostly, however, they were honest men earning a not particularly high income, hours were inconvenient and there could be risks involved.

Natal Almanac 1874

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