The Company of
Watermen & Lightermen
of the River Thames



It has been suggested that I might send out a six-monthly Fundraiser’s Report to Freemen. Amongst other activities, there are several Fundraising events planned which you might wish to support and for certain, I would like as many Freemen as possible to come along and enjoy these functions! Company Events are planned more than a year in advance and widely publicised. Fundraising events have often a shorter lead time and as a result need more publicity and to this end I apologise if it seems on occasions you are being bombarded with fund-raising emails!


Visit to the Thames River Police Museum on 25th February

The Master drew 13 Tickets for a visit to the Thames River Police Museum in Wapping. Some £3700 has been raised from Freemen, family and friends, who during December had the opportunity to pay £20 to enter the draw for the 13 tickets. From the money raised a donation of £250 was paid to a Police Charity. A delightful night was had by those attending. The curator, Rob Jeffries, told some wonderful tales about the River Police and some of those Freemen present recognised Rob from his days as a River Police Officer! We adjourned to the Captain Kidd with Rob where more stories were swapped. What in marine terms would be called “Swinging the Lamp”.

Sands Film Cinema Visit on 11th March

Freemen have been invited to apply for 76 tickets at £65 each for a film show at Sands Film Cinema at Wapping when a 1940 film called “City of Ships” followed by a 1986 film ‘New Life in Docklands, “The First Thousand Days” will be shown. Please respond to the flyer being circulated or via the website to attend. The two short films have been especially chosen to contrast the London Docks and surrounds whilst working and thereafter, at the time of regeneration, which should be fascinating seen together! Afterwards there is a supper in the Mayflower Public House.

Lord Mayor’s Big Curry Luncheon on 2nd April

Freemen are being invited to take part in the Lord Mayor’s Big Curry Lunch as part of his Lord Mayor’s Appeal. Monies raised at this event going mainly to ABF the Soldiers Charity, the Army and the RAF veterans. The Company of Watermen and Lightermen of the River Thames has reserved 30 tickets for this event for the 1315hr sitting held inside the historic Guildhall and there is to be a reception first in the crypt of the Guildhall. Tickets cost £100.00 but please apply now if you are interested!

Some have asked why we are supporting this event and the answer is twofold; Firstly, it is easy to remember servicemen when there is an actual war going on, yet their injuries, and thus the help they require, carry on long after war has ceased. To this end the Lord Mayor’s Charity is worthy of our support; Secondly, the Company of Watermen and Lightermen of the River Thames although a Guild Company, has more influence and relevance to the working of the City by our involvement in its major artery, the River Thames, than most Livery Companies do these days, and this event is a good opportunity to visually remind the City through our presence, that we are very much an alive, living and vital part of the workings of London…! (Oh and of course to my mind, there is nothing wrong with beer/wine and a curry)!!!

Tour of the Old Bailey and Reception on 13th May

Through Craft-Owning Freeman Alderman and Sheriff Professor Michael Mainelli, Freemen are invited to tour the Old Bailey. The tour will start at 1700hrs and finish with a wine reception and tickets will be available at £20. The tour can accommodate 50 Freemen. More information to follow in due course. This is a new date, please put it in your diary!

Inland Water Transport Squadron Dinner on 25th June

The successors of the Inland Water Transport Squadron which many Journeymen Freemen joined during WW11 are the 23rd Squadron Amphibious Engineers. At one time we had an alliance working together with the IWT which has been allowed to lapse, although we hold a lot of IWT artefacts in our Company ‘treasures’! In reacquainting ourselves there is to be a Black Tie dinner at our Hall with 23rd Squadron Amphibious Engineers and it is hoped to accommodate a party of 20-30 from the Sappers including Commanding Officers! We will also need plenty of Craft-Owning Freemen to act as hosts. Funds will be raised by adding a little to the ticket price. You can express interest to attend now if you wish.

Summer Fish Supper at the Kitchen on 24th July

Court Assistant Ted Manning who trained as an army chef has offered to cook a barbeque fish supper at the Kitchen at All Hallows by the Tower on the 24th July. More information to follow but do save the date.

Other Fundraising Activities

Envelop Raffles at Freemen’s Lunches

The Company plan to continue to organise the envelope raffles at Freemen’s Luncheon. If you have a prize that you can offer please do let me know, otherwise sad to say it will be just another bottle of cheap plonk chosen by The Clerk!!


Firstly many thanks to those who so kindly responded positively to my last letter, I know this is really a very personal decision and for me as writer, a delicate subject on which to write. But if you are thinking about leaving The Company a legacy and would like to be recognised for your potential gift, then do let us know as the Company will award you a pin with the shape of our Dolphin. I understand also the Benefactors Board is coming along nicely and will soon be ready for Company use. That said I equally quite understand if you want there to be anonymity in potential legacies, and this of course will be respected.

In conclusion, although after just 6 months in this job I am still very much feeling my way, being the Company Fundraiser is proving enormous fun! That said, there are however areas of the Company I still know so little about and in particular the rowing side of the Company life is very much on my blind side. If anyone would like to guide me here, it would be much appreciated. Indeed, if anyone has any suggestions for funding activities that you think would be worth pursuing I would be glad to hear. Equally you might have views on whether we are holding too many events, (which also may be possible), and thus I welcome any feedback at any time!

That said, a huge thank you all for your generosity and kind support over the past six months, and here’s to the next six!

David Beard

Hon. Company Fundraiser

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

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