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




Fantastic evening yesterday celebrating our apprentices’ achievements and of course celebrating our 2022 Doggett’s Winner George Gilbert. Thank you to all our past Doggett’s winners, Freemen, apprentices, and guests who attended, including the team from The Fishmongers’​ Company, Poplar, Blackwall & District Rowing Club, Globe Rowing Club, London Rowing Club and a special thanks to

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Lord Mayors Big Curry Lunch – Thursday 30th March 2023

A message from our Chair of the Fundraising Committee, David Beard. It is my pleasure to confirm that the Company of Watermen and Lightermen, along with other Livery Companies and distinguished guests, has once again decided to support the Charity fundraising efforts of the Lord Mayor of London by attending the The Lord Mayor’s Curry

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