Liverpool Pilots exhibition – can you help?

11 December 2015 by Sam Vaux

Bob Davis, aged 93, wears his cap and jacket from his time as 2nd Engineer on the pilot ships, recently donated to Merseyside Maritime Museum.

Bob Davis, aged 93, wears his cap and jacket from his time as 2nd Engineer on the pilot ships, recently donated to Merseyside Maritime Museum.

We are very excited to announce our forthcoming exhibition about the Liverpool Pilots Service, which will open on 22 July 2016 at the Merseyside Maritime Museum.

The Liverpool Pilots guide shipping in and out of Liverpool waters, and celebrate their 250th anniversary in 2016.

The exhibition will look back at their long history, exploring why marine pilots are needed and what the particular challenges are for shipping entering Liverpool Bay and the River Mersey. There are many examples where the skill and bravery of pilots has saved lives and cargo, and the exhibition will bring to life many of these dramatic stories. You will also be able to learn about the vital role the pilots continue to play in the thriving modern port of Liverpool.

Help us tell the story of the Liverpool pilots.

Do you have a connection to the Liverpool pilots? Or have objects or stories that relate to the Liverpool Pilots Service? We want to hear from you! Perhaps one of your relatives was a Liverpool pilot, and you have objects or photographs that relate to their life and career. Maybe you were a ship’s master and remember a particular encounter with a Liverpool pilot? If it is just a story that you know that relates to the pilots, then we would love for you to get in touch. Contact curator Ben Whittaker at

A recent example is the wonderful Bob Davis. Bob was 2nd Engineer on Liverpool pilot boats from 1948-1957. This was a significant time as the service was transferring from the older steam powered pilot boats to the new generation of diesel electric cutters like the Edmund Gardner (introduced in 1953, Sir Thomas Brocklebank was the first diesel electric vessel launched in 1950). Bob, now aged 93, donated his cap and jacket that he used throughout his service on the pilot ships.

  1. Brian CROASDELL says:

    According to family tradition, my great-grandfather was the first registered Mersey River pilot. This is not borne out, apparently, by the records of the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board. He is recorded elsewhere as a mariner and a master mariner.
    William CROASDELL was born in Ulverston, Cumbria, in 1852, married Elizabeth JACKSON of the same town in 1873 and died in West Kirby in 1915

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