James Alexander, Hobbling Pilot of Cardiff, Papers

Scope and Content

Letter book of James Alexander, with ticket of membership to Shipping Federation and letter of reference inserted.

Administrative / Biographical History

James Alexander served on board the SS Saxon of London before working as a hobbler, taking small ships in and out of the Cardiff Docks, which was technically considered as illegal piloting. He appears to have represented other men who earned a living by this means when their livelihood was potentially put in jeopardy by the Pilotage Act of 1913. The Act sought to ensure that only licensed pilots steered ships into port, but there were claims that these pilots were only interested in the larger ships, and it was the smaller ships that the hobblers assisted.


Original order retained.

Conditions Governing Access

No restrictions.

Other Finding Aids

A detailed catalogue is available at the Glamorgan Archives

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Good condition

Archivist's Note

Compiled by Louise Cordery for the Glamorgan Archives, with reference to Peter J Stuckey, The Sailing Pilots of the Bristol Channel, (David & Charles, 1977), and www.dlharbour.ie/content/history/articles/hobblers.php.

Appraisal Information

All records which meet the collection policy of the Glamorgan Archives have been retained.

Custodial History

Records were transferred from National Museum Wales, Collections Centre. Prior to that is unknown.


Accruals are not expected.