The Company of
Watermen & Lightermen
of the River Thames

The Late Alex Hickman

The whole River was deeply sorry to hear that the Watermen’s Company Training Officer, Alex Hickman passed away on 31st December.

Alex attended Dartford Grammar School before starting as a Thames Waterman and Lightermen gaining over 30 years of industry experience. Alex began his career as a bound apprentice in July 1991 with Don Hickman as his Master. His father had worked afloat as an engineer on passenger boats, the Hickman family river connections can be traced back to 1715.

He received his freedom in July 1996. Alex started working at Catamaran cruises in his first year as an apprentice. He had already been working there as a barman on the Valulla with his Father Mick and Paul Evans. He went on to Cleanaway around 1993/94 whilst still apprenticed. As well as being a lighterman at Cleanaway, he was also a bosun at Grosvenor dock and then at Cringle until Cleanaway ended. In 2002, Alex went on to join London River Services (LRS) as a pier controller.

As well as a Journeyman Freeman he also became a Craft Owning Freeman of the Watermen’s Company on 5th July 2017 having obtained his Freemen of the City of London

In addition to his full time post with LRS, he held the position of Training officer for the Company of Watermen & Lightermen, responsible for overseeing and tutoring apprentices for their Tier 1 Level 2 Boatmasters along with their Freedom.

He has been responsible for overseeing the personal development of over 100 apprentices. He has also played a major role in coordinating with external regulators such as PLA and MCA.

Alex was also an expedition leader using his UK Mountain Leader qualifications to supervise groups and individuals and family members in mountainous and wilderness environments. He was also an avid Liverpool Football Club supporter.

Later in his working life he worked hard studying and obtained a First class honours degree in Geological and earth sciences/Geosciences.

Alex also played his part with his trade union always striving for better pay and conditions for his fellow river workers.

Alex will be sadly missed by his wife Rachelle and three children Emily, Max and Stephen, and by everyone on our River Thames, but particularly by the apprentices he helped.

You can watch a video of Alex talking passionately about his life on the River Thames”