The Company of
Watermen & Lightermen
of the River Thames

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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 2021 

The Master is pictured above, with his Wardens and the Clerk Ms Julie Lithgow

Derek Mann, a working Waterman with more than 50 years’ experience on the River, was installed as the 195th Master of the Watermen’s Company on 14 July 2021.

Junior Wardens Ted Gradosielski BEM, Ted Manning and Tim Keech took their oaths, and Alderman Sir David Wootton was installed as Senior Warden at the October Court meeting.

The Master and his good lady Ms Iara Spinelly pictured in the Court Room .



Today we are delighted to be holding the first of two St George’s Day Luncheons for the Masters & Clerks of the City of London’s Worshipful Companies and Guilds. This is hosted by our Master Derek Mann. A very special occasion and we look forward to welcoming them to Watermen’s Hall.  

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Access to Watermen’s Hall

Watermens’ Hall is a beautiful Georgian building, but due it its age we have some accessibility restrictions within the building. Currently our lift is out of service, and we are unable to provide step free access to the Hall and our dining rooms. We are really sorry for the impact this will have on visitors,

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