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.

Mrs Gina Blair The 194th Master of the Watermen’s Company .


The Watermen’s Company installed its 194th Master, Mrs Gina Blair, on Wednesday, 8th July at Watermen’s Hall. The ceremony was held partly with the Master and some Wardens physically present with the rest of the Court watching on Zoom. A celebratory small lunch observing social distancing followed. Derek Mann was installed as Senior Warden, with Alderman Sir David Wootton,  Ted Gradosielski BEM and Mrs Annamarie Phelps CBE as Junior Wardens

 Some helpful links –

The Company Calender 
The River Thames Lunch Club
The Watermen’s Company Shop 


Hall Tours

At the present  time Watermen’s Hall is not open to the public so we are unable to have Hall tours. The situation is constantly being reviewed so please contact the Hall for further information carol@watermenshall.org It is likely that once we are able to offer tours we will need to reduce the numbers and will

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Court of Bindings 21st September

“The next Court of Bindings is on Monday, 21st September. Freemen intending to be the Master, can apply to bind an apprentice, and apprentices can equally apply without a Master. To receive the application form and more details email Kelly Lesurf at training@watermenshall.org.

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

© 2020 The Company of Watermen and Lightermen