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 2022

The Master is pictured above, with his Wardens 

Alderman Sir David Wootton was yesterday installed as the 196th Master of the Watermen’s Company, and is pictured with (L to R) Junior Warden Graham Barnard, Senior Warden Ted Gradosielski, and Junior Warden Sean Collins. Junior Warden Ted Manning will take his oath at the October Court meeting.
Following the installation the entire Court processed to Southwark Cathedral for Choral Evensong, followed by a Celebratory Dinner in the Old Library.
Photo courtesy of Freeman, Robert Treharne Jones



Henley Sculling Weekend 2022

16-18 September 2022 Henley-on-Thames The Master, Sir David Wootton, together with our Rowing Officer, Simon McCarthy, and the Chairmen of our Rowing & River Events and Apprenticeship & Training Committees, hope that you will be able to support our apprentices attending this year’s camp. Previous sculling weekends have been a great success and again this

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Rescheduled Doggett’s Coat & Badge Race – 28th July 2022

This year’s race will now take place shortly after 1030 hrs on Thursday 28th July 2022, to take advantage of the flood tide, over the traditional course from London Bridge to Chelsea. The last-minute withdrawal of Mathew Brookes from the race means that George Gilbert will scull over to claim the prize at his fourth

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