Ships have been sailing in the Severn Estuary for hundreds of years, but there was little in the way of control until the late 18th century when a pilotage authority for the Severn ports was established to impose standards on the men acting as pilots.  As trade increased in the area and more ships headed for Sharpness, the need for proper aids to navigation became clear and eventually led to the creation of a pilotage authority to manage pilotage and a harbour authority to manage the aids to navigation.  Thus the Gloucester Harbour Trustees was constituted in 1890.

Since then, there have been many changes to the institution and its trustees.  The histories written by W A Stone and D F Collins detail the origins of the organisation and its transformation into a modern harbour authority and make a fascinating read.  A parallel document on pilotage by George Woollard, a retired pilot, details the development of the pilotage service in the Gloucester Harbour.

Other documents on the website give an insight into the current work of GHT and its changing duties and responsibilities.

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