Clyde Pilots

Discover about those who worked for the Clyde Navigation Trust as pilots on the River Clyde.

What do I need to know before I start?

Try to find out:

  • name of the person
  • their date of birth
  • their occupation


What records can I find in The Mitchell: Glasgow City Archives?

Glasgow City Archives holds records relating to the licensing of pilots, 1826-2003.


Firstly, there is the indexed record of licensed pilots, 1826-2003 (ref: T-CN35/5/1-2). This volume includes standard biographical and career history information for each pilot but entries can include remarks about the pilots’ physical descriptions as well as newspaper cuttings of significant events or their obituary. Access restrictions may apply to some of the later entries. Please see the archivists at Glasgow City Archives for more information.


We also hold the applications which people made to become a pilot, 1881-1891 (ref: T-CN35/1-3). These brief forms usually give the individual’s present occupation and current ship, the name of their employer and of the ships they were applying to pilot as well as the date when their application was granted. Some (but not all) include testimonies as to the character of the applicant.


The Clyde Pilot Board’s Committee of Superintendence minutes, 1860-1915 (ref: T-CN31/1-5) can give more detail about an individual pilot’s career. As well as recording the date when a pilot’s license was granted, any notable incidents (such as collisions, near misses or groundings) may be recorded.


What other resources will help me find information?

John F. Riddell, The Clyde: an illustrated history of the river and its shipping (1988).



Glasgow City Archives

0141 287 2910

In this guide