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The Company of Watermen and Lightermen
of the River Thames

www.watermenshall.org


Freemen's St George's Day Luncheon
April 2017, Watermen's Hall, London

St George's Day Luncheon at Watermen's Hall - April 2017  St George's Day Luncheon at Watermen's Hall - April 2017

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Court Luncheon
February 2017, Watermen's Hall, London

Watermen and Lightermen - Luncheon at Watermen's Hall Feb 2017  Watermen and Lightermen - Luncheon at Watermen's Hall Feb 2017

Watermen and Lightermen - Luncheon at Watermen's Hall Feb 2017  Watermen and Lightermen - Luncheon at Watermen's Hall Feb 2017

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In 1514 the earliest Act of Parliament for regulating watermen, wherrymen and bargemen received Royal Assent from King Henry VIII. In 2014 the Company celebrated the 500th anniversary of that Act.

A number of freemen are appointed Royal Watermen who under Her Majesty's Bargemaster are responsible for Her Majesty The Queen's safety afloat. Reference is made to King John being rowed to sign the Magna Carta at Runnymede in June 1215. This would indicate the services of the Royal Watermen are probably around 800 years old.

The Company has been regulated by a succession of Acts of Parliament, the most recent in 1859. The Acts allow the Company to set byelaws for its internal governance.

Company aims and objectives include upholding the traditions of the Company to maintain its place at the forefront of the working life of the River Thames and to bring to bear its skill, knowledge and experience towards assuring the safe and healthy future of the River. To develop its activities and use its assets to ensure that best use is made by the Company of the opportunities presented by the changing needs of the River, its infrastructure and its users. To undertake its duties as required by its statues and other legislation and to ensure that the Company has the Constitution and powers needed to fulfil its aims. And to encourage active participation in the recognition of the work of the Company.

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Race for Doggett’s Coat & Badge 300th Anniversary
www.doggettsrace.org.uk
Reception & Buffet
August 2015, Watermen's Hall, London

Race for Doggett’s Coat & Badge 300th Anniversary - August 2015

The finish at Cadogan Pier, Chelsea


Race for Doggett’s Coat & Badge 300th Anniversary - August 2015

The Barge Master and past Doggett’s winners


Race for Doggett’s Coat & Badge 300th Anniversary - August 2015

Louis Pettipher accepts Doggetts Race 300th Anniversary
Winners Prize from Alan Yarrow, Lord Mayor of The City of London


Race for Doggett’s Coat & Badge 300th Anniversary - August 2015   Race for Doggett’s Coat & Badge 300th Anniversary - August 2015

Race for Doggett’s Coat & Badge 300th Anniversary - August 2015   Race for Doggett’s Coat & Badge 300th Anniversary - August 2015

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Quarterly Court Luncheon
October 2013, Watermen's Hall, London

The Company of Watermen and Lightermen - Quarterly Court Luncheon, Oct 2013   The Company of Watermen and Lightermen - Quarterly Court Luncheon, Oct 2013

The Company of Watermen and Lightermen - Quarterly Court Luncheon, Oct 2013   The Company of Watermen and Lightermen - Quarterly Court Luncheon, Oct 2013

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The Company of Watermen and Lightermen of the River Thames was formed by an Act of Parliament in 1555 to maintain the standard of navigation amongst Watermen plying for hire as passenger carriers in the tidal Thames above Gravesend. This it has done in succeeding centuries through a system of Apprenticeship, examinations and granting of licences. The Lightermen, the goods carriers, joined the Watermen in 1700.

Throughout most of its existence the Company has possessed a Hall, the first in 1600 being the Mansion of Coldharbour on the north bank of the River. The present Hall was built in 1780 to the designs of William Blackburn, later a prominent prison architect, who was a fellow student of Sloane, whose influence might also be discerned in the Court Room. The Hall was extended considerably in 1982/83 when the Freemen 's Room was constructed.

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