The Company of Watermen and Lightermen of the River Thames was founded in 1514, when 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 in St Mary at Hill, where we can still 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.

Master’s Installation July 2022

The Master is pictured above, with his Wardens 

Alderman Sir David Wootton was yesterday installed as the 196th Master of the Watermen’s Company, and is pictured with (L to R) Junior Warden Graham Barnard, Senior Warden Ted Gradosielski, and Junior Warden Sean Collins. Junior Warden Ted Manning will take his oath at the October Court meeting.
Following the installation the entire Court processed to Southwark Cathedral for Choral Evensong, followed by a Celebratory Dinner in the Old Library.
Photo courtesy of Freeman, Robert Treharne Jones



Freemen’s Lunch – Wednesday 7th June 2023

Dear Freemen, The next Freemen’s Lunch will be held at Watermen’s Hall on Wednesday 7th June 2023. Our Master Alderman Sir David Wootton hopes that you will be able to attend. Lunch is 12.30pm for dining at 1.00pm. The price per Freeman and/or guest is £85 per person.  If you would like to attend, please

... read more

Apprentice Rowing Day – Sunday 11th June 2023

Great opportunity to trial or practice your rowing skills at Royal Albert Docks – all abilities welcome SPRING ROWING EVENT – Royal Albert Docks / London Regatta Centre – Sunday 11th June 2023 AM Session: Freemen & Apprentices Rowing – 09:30-12:00 Naming Ceremony Of Sculls – 12:00 to 12:45 Fish & Chips Lunch: 12:45 to

... read more