Captain Greenville Collins (1669-1696)

Captain Greenville Collins was an officer in the Royal Navy and at an early stage in his career took part in an expedition with Sir John Narborough to the coasts of South America. He took charge of the frigate 'Charles' between 1676 and 1679 and was afterwards promoted to Commander. He was also made 'Hydrographer to the King'.

For too long Britain had relied on out of date Dutch navigation charts and as a result of the need for new, more reliable information in 1681 Samuel Pepys, Secretary of the Admiralty, appointed Captain Collins to survey the coasts of the British Isles. This was the first such survey undertaken of the British coast and it proved a lengthy and expensive exercise which lasted about eight years.

After its completion some of London's leading engravers were employed to engrave the plates and in 1693 'Great Britain's Coasting Pilot' was published. Inaccuracies notwithstanding it was a significant achievement and during the following century Collin's charts were re-issued over twenty times without revision.