Voy, Thomas (1796 to 1866)
Lived in Palace Square in 1861
Thomas Voy (Bn 1796 D1866 aged 69/Norwood Cemetery) lived with his wife Elizabeth. On the 1861 Census his occupation is Pilot Retired. He resided for many years in Gravesend in the vicinity with other Pilots and Watermen.
The channels of the River Thames and of the estuary approaches are difficult and dangerous to navigate, especially in fog. Ships have to engage a pilot to guide them safely in and out of London. At Gravesend, river pilots take over from inward pilots. Pilots are experienced Master Mariners who have detailed knowledge of the banks, channels, lights and buoys in the river. Steam tugs were introduced on the Thames in the mid nineteenth century, to speed sailing ships on the river. In bad weather they also went out looking for damaged sailing ships, to tow them into port, earning a salvage fee.
Pilots waited aboard the cutter and were rowed out to ships in the river.