The Company of Watermen and Lightermen of The River Thames

Welcome to the web site of the Company of Watermen and Lightermen

In 1514 the earliest Act of Parliament for regulating watermen, wherrymen and bargemen received  Royal Assent from King Henry VIII.

Under a further Act of 1555  the Company introduced apprenticeships for those wishing to learn the skills of the Watermen. In 1700 the Lightermen (carriers of goods/cargo) joined  the Watermen’s Company. 

In 1780 The Company moved into its own purpose built Hall – Watermen’s Hall,  located at St Mary at Hill, which is where we can be  found today.

The Company is a working guild and is very actively involved with the life of the River and those who work on it.

The Company is governed by a Court of Assistants, led by the Master and four Wardens, who are elected annually by the Court.

Following his Installation the new Master, Dr Iain Reid (centre) is pictured with (L to R): Sir David Wootton (Junior Warden) Tony Maynard (Senior Warden), and Gina Blair and  Sean Collins (Junior Wardens).

The Master Dr Iain Reid and the Mistress Mrs Susan Keane .

Some helpful links –

To  find the Watermen’s shop 

To read the Master’s Blog

For details of The  River Thames Lunch Club

To check the Company Calendar 


Crossings on the River

New Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf Crossing  A consultation has taken place regarding a new bridge between Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf for cyclists and pedestrians. The next phase commences later this year, when stakeholders will be consulted once again. Watermen will be concerned about the impact a bridge would have on river traffic and navigation on … read more

Annual National Service for Seafarers

This annual Service was started by Capt. R. Hubbard in 1905 when he suggested in a letter to newspapers that on the centenary of the death of Nelson it would be a fitting occasion for the inauguration of an annual seamen’s service at St Paul’s. Some 113 years later the Annual National Service for Seafarers … read more

The Company of Watermen and Lightermen, 16 - 18 St-Mary-at-Hill, London, EC3R 8EF

© 2018 The Company of Watermen and Lightermen