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.

Following his Installation the new Master, Dr Iain Reid (centre) is pictured with (L to R): Sir David Wootton (Junior Warden) Tony Maynard (Senior Warden), and Gina Blair and  Sean Collins (Junior Wardens).

The Master Dr Iain Reid and the Mistress Mrs Susan Keane .

Some helpful links –

To  find the Watermen’s shop 

To read the Master’s Blog

For details of The  River Thames Lunch Club

To check the Company Calendar 

List of all our Masters


Election of Senior Warden Master Elect

At the Court meeting held on 3rd April 2019 Senior Warden Tony Maynard became Master Elect. Tony is a very well known River Operator will be installed as Master of the Company on 10th July.

Quarterly Court – Admittance of New Freemen

The Master and his Wardens pictured in the Court Room At the meeting held on 3rd April 2019 the following attended to take their Oath to the Company and be admitted as Craft Owning Freemen – Prudence Beard,  Antony Hales CBE, Elizabeth Spill and Lambros Varnavides. At the Court meeting held on 9th January 2019 … read more

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

© 2019 The Company of Watermen and Lightermen