The Company of
Watermen & Lightermen
of the River Thames

Members Login

The Company of Watermen and Lightermen of the River Thames mourns the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

For more than seven decades she dedicated her life to public service with unwavering dignity and leadership, inspiring millions of people around the world. She was our Queen, and our country’s greatest public servant.

Our Master, Wardens, Court, Freemen and Apprentices of the Company send our deepest condolences to the Royal Family.

Our thoughts are also with the Queen’s Bargemasters and her Royal Watermen, past and present, who served her with loyalty and devotion throughout her reign.

The flags at both Watermen’s Hall and our Almshouses are being flown at half-mast.


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



Burns Night Supper 2023

We would like to invite you to our Burns Night Supper at Watermen’s Hall on Tuesday 24th January. Reception from 18:30 for Neeps & Tatties at 19:00. The cost of the event is £95.00 per ticket inc. of VAT To attend please book here

... read more

Watermen’s Company 2022 Christmas Cards

We have now in stock our 2022 Company Christmas cards for sale. This year’s design is the beautiful Palour’s stained glass window at Watermen’s Hall. All profits from the sale of the Company’s cards will be donated to the Royal Benevolent and Educational Fund for Watermen and Lightermen. 20 Cards @£18 per pack.  Post and

... read more