The Company of
Watermen & Lightermen
of the River Thames

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.


The Watermen’s Company installed its 195th Master, Derek Mann on Wednesday 14 July 2021 at Watermen’s Hall.
The ceremony was held with the Master and Wardens and Court present. A celebratory small lunch observing social distancing followed.
The Master is a working Watermen with some 51 years on the River.
Alderman Sir David Wootton was installed as Senior Warden (oath to be taken at the next Court meeting), with Ted Gradosielski BEM, Ted Manning and Tim Keech as Junior Wardens.

(see below)

Junior Wardens  Ted Gradosielski BEM, The Master, Ted Manning and Tim Keech.

 Some helpful links –

The River Thames Lunch Club
The Watermen’s Company Shop 


Watermen’s Hall

The Hall is closed until 1st September except for Internal Company events and the River Thames Lunch Club. Our Company Calendar will be updated over the summer. For urgent enquiries please leave a message on 0207 283 2373 or email our Clerk For apprentices, support for your training continues without interruption. For any questions

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Building Manager and Assistant Beadle

We are looking to recruit a new member of staff to work along side our small but very busy team at Watermens Hall. Interested – for a  full job description click on the link below. Job Description – Hall Manager or ring Carol on  0207 283 2373 for an informal discussion Closing Date 9th August

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