Plymouth’s Other Fleet
The Port of Plymouth
The Port of Plymouth, in the context of the CD-Rom, refers to the Customs Port. From 17 February 1841 the Port limits were from the west side of Erme Mouth at the entrance of Bigbury Bay, to the east side of the River Seaton and all the rivers and creeks between, to the tidal limit. As such, it included not only the town of Plymouth, but also a number of adjoining towns and villages, including, from 1832 to 1841, the nearby port of Looe.
These small communities, a number of which have now been absorbed into the City of Plymouth, formerly had their own distinct maritime character. Looe, the inland towns, and the communities of the upper Tamar, also had a particular tradition of ownership, by multiple owners in small numbers of shares.
The towns of Looe, Liskeard, Tavistock and Ivybridge, prior to the Merchant Shipping Act of 1854 and to a large extent even after that Act, circumscribed the area in which the majority of owners of Plymouth registered vessels resided. Oddly, owners in the communities bordering the River Yealm are rarities. A minority of owners resided outside the immediate area, gradually increasing in number after 1854, the westcounty more generally, London and Liverpool predominated among these. There was also a tendency for owners residing in small westcounty ports, such as Port Isaac, to own Plymouth registered vessels.