Catalogue description Records of the Coastguard

Details of Division within ADM
Reference: Division within ADM
Title: Records of the Coastguard

Records of the Coastguard.

Ships' musters of Coastguard and Revenue Cruisers are in ADM 119. Papers of the admiral superintendent of Reserves, etc are in ADM 120. Coastguard records of service are in ADM 175

Date: 1816-1947
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English

Board of Admiralty, Coastguard, 1869-1923

Board of Admiralty, Controller-General of the Coastguard, 1856-1869

Board of Customs, Coastguard, 1822-1856

Board of Trade, Mercantile Marine Department, HM Coastguard Service, 1923-1970

Treasury, Preventive Waterguard, 1816-1822

Physical description: 3 series
Administrative / biographical background:

The Preventive Waterguard was instituted in 1809 under three inspecting commanders. In 1816 the Preventive Waterguard passed to the direct control of the Treasury. It was then considerably altered and extended, becoming the principal force for protection of the revenue on the coast. In 1817 and 1818 the preventive waterguard was withdrawn from Kent and Sussex coasts and replaced there by the Coast Blockade under the Admiralty. By Treasury minute of 15 January 1822 the Comptroller-General of the Preventive Waterguard and his staff, and the Admiralty and Excise revenue cruisers, were transferred to the Board of Customs. The Preventive Waterguard, renamed the Coastguard in 1822, was thereafter extended to the whole of the United Kingdom.

The establishment for the prevention of smuggling thereafter consisted of the revenue cruisers, the Coastguard at the several stations along the coast, and the riding officers or land guard, all under the orders and superintendence of the Controller-General of the Coastguard, who operated from a Coastguard Office at headquarters.

In 1856 superintendence of the Controller-General of the Coastguard was transferred from the Board of Customs to the Admiralty. In 1869 the office of Controller-General was abolished, control of the Coastguard passing to chief of the staff and then in 1874 to the admiral superintendent of Naval Reserves (from 1903 admiral commanding Coastguard and Reserves), both of whom were responsible to the First Sea Lord. In April 1923 control of the Coastguard Service passed to the Mercantile Marine Department of the Board of Trade.

The Preventive Waterguard, which had been founded under the Board of Customs in 1809, was transferred in 1816 to the immediate supervision of the Treasury, executive control being vested in a comptroller general. A separate comptroller general and his staff were transferred to the Board of customs, under which the preventive waterguard was soon renamed the Coastguard.

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