The Company of Watermen and Lightermen of The River Thames

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.  

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., The Master for this year is Mr Simon McCarthy, shown  above with three of his Wardens. Senior Warden Dr Iain Reid, Junior Wardens Mrs Gina Blair and Mr Tony Maynard. Junior Warden Sean Collins was unable to be present at the Installation Court on 12th July 2017.

Watermen's Hall

April Court Meeting

At the Court meeting held on 4th April 2018  Senior Warden Dr Iain Reid was elected as Master of the Company for the forthcoming year commencing 11th July 2018. Also admitted as Craft Owning Freemen were Charles Montlake, Robert Cottrell and Sir Robin Knox-Johnston CBE, RE* The Master’s Chair was returned in time for the … read more

Journeymen Freemen – the PQ’s

February 2018 To Journeymen Freemen The Postquincentennial Fund  aka “The PQs” In 2016, the Court decided to wind up the very successful 500 Club: the group of Freemen whose donations had financed the company’s 500th Anniversary celebrations. However, a number of those Freemen indicated that they were keen to continue making voluntary contributions to support … read more

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

© 2018 The Company of Watermen and Lightermen