The Mersey Boatmen and their Gigs
The Mersey boatmen of the eighteenth – early twentieth century ferried people around the Mersey estuary, transported passengers and luggage to and from the sailing ship anchorages at Sloyne and the Magazines, plied as free lance docking and mooring crews, acted as unofficial pilots, and touted for the notorious Liverpool doss houses. Regulations were made to eradicate their extortions and abuses but efforts to police them foundered. The fundamental cause of their demise was the advent of steam and the employment by the steamship companies of their own mooring and docking crews. Their gigs werestout, two or three masted, spritsail-rigged, sailing boats.