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.

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 

List of all our Masters


Past Master Emeritus Lionel Barrow

Passed away 16th February 2019 aged 85 years. Lionel was born in West Ham in 1933 and became a Craft Owning Freeman on 15th April 1970. Lionel joined the Court in July 1994 and was Master in 2000/2001. A Memorial Service will be held on Thursday, 11th April at All Hallows by the Tower starting … read more

Local Knowledge River Trip -29th March

Colliers Launches have very kindly offered to host the trip  that will start from Wesminister Pier at 10.00am This will take in all of the tidal upper reaches and conclude at Richmond landing stage. You will be required to complete a worksheet on board, completion of which will result in an attendance certificate. This event … read more

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

© 2019 The Company of Watermen and Lightermen