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 2023

The Master is pictured above, with his Wardens 

Master Ted Gradosielski BEM installed as the 197th Master of the Watermen’s Company, pictured with (L to R) Immediate past Master Ald. Sir David Wootton, Junior Warden Sean Collins, Junior Warden Graham Barnard, Senior Warden Ted Manning along with newly installed Junior Warden David Beard.

Following the installation the entire Court processed to All Hallows by the Tower for a wonderful service followed by a celebratory lunch on board The Elizabethan.



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