Welcome to the Watermen's Hall Electronic Archive

In February 2004 the archives of the Company of Watermen & Lightermen were thoroughly examined and catalogued. Some documents were thought to be of sufficient interest to be copied on to the Internet and can be found here in Microsoft Word format. The index of the entire archive held at the Hall has now been added. To return to this page from a document, please use the "Back" button on your browser.

History of the Company and some Useful Information

A Brief History of the Company

List of Masters

List of Clerks

List of Doggett's Winners

Notable Dates in the Company's History

Interesting Events on the River Thames

(Many of the Thames dates have been taken from a 1907 Seamen's Almanac - some of the choices are a little surprising!)

Archive Index

Archive Index (Box Order)

Item Index (Subject and Date Order)


Early Petitions

Watermen's Petition against the Gravesend Corporation (1770)

Watermen's Company Petition to Parliament 1772

The Port of London Expands

Company Petition against Dock Expansion 1796

Petition from Matthias Lucas regarding the 1796 Docks Scheme

Lord Mayor's Memorial regarding Legal Quays Development

Committee Minutes on the Bill for the Improvement of the Port of London 1797

Company Petition against Wapping Docks 1800

Naval Matters

Letter to John Barrow at the Admiralty regarding Impressment

Court Cases

Case against William Sparks for operating a barge despite not being a Company Freeman 1831

Case against William Alexander, accused of failing to register his boat 1848

Police Proceedings against Richard Kelsey, accused of posing as a Waterman 1851

Steam Boats reach the Thames

Steam Boat Racing 1832 (Recommended!)

Minutes of the House of Lords Select Committee on Steam Navigation on the River Thames 1837


The Royal Almshouses

Appeal for the Royal Watermen's Almshouses 1839

The Queen Dowager agrees to become of the Almshouses 1839

Royal Almshouse Prospectus 1844

Royal Almshouse Prospectus 1852

List of Toasts for the 1854 Almshouse Dinner

List of Almshouse Rules and Regulations


The 1859 Watermen's and Lightermen's Act

Petition on the Right of Watermen to Act as Pilots 1858

Letter to the Admiralty from Henry Humpherus regarding the 1859 Bill

Considerations in favour of the 1859 Bill

Objections and Responses to the 1859 Bill

Wharf Owners Petition against the Company 1859

"The Era" criticises the 1859 Bill

"The Penny Bells Life" supports the Watermen's Company 1859


The Thames Conservators

Thames Conservators Report 1858

Thames Conservators Report 1871


Further Petitions

Bum Boatmen ask for the Right to Sell Alcohol to Ships 1844


River Traffic

The Dangers of a Crowded Thames 1861

A Harbour Master's Opinion 1864

House of Lords Inquiry into the Thames Navigation Bill 1870

Article in Lloyds List Supporting Licensed Watermen 1885

Coroner's Report after the Sinking of a Dubious Boat 1893



Case against Barge Owners not Employing Sufficient Lightermen

Coal Stealing on the Barges 1859

Case against George Martin, Accused of Setting Barges Adrift 1908


Various Bills

Objections to the 1881 Thames River Bill


Union Matters

Letter by an Angry Lighterman 1891


Reforms to the Port of London

Deputation to the Port of Trade 1902

"What the Company Does" - Article in the "City Press" 1903



Prosecution of James Lynch for Assault 1824

Assault and Kidnapping at Waterman's Hall 1832(Recommended!)

The Company Beadles are Assaulted 1833

Indictment against Henry Colcomb for Assault

Burglary in Watermen's Hall 1842

A Bread-Stealing Lighterman

Concerns about Vandalism in Battersea 1890

Unlicensed Ferries 1902

Bogus Watermen, circa 1905



John Taylor, the Water Poet

Baby Rescued by a Waterman 1774

Presentation to Samuel Williams for 31 Years of Service 1897


Unfortunate Incidents

Matthias Lucas (The Lord Mayor) is Hit on the Head by an Anchor 1827 (Recommended!)

The Queen's Waterman Fails to Find His Licence 1894


Rowing and the Doggett's Coat and Badge Wager

A London Watermen takes on Five Flemings in Ostend (Recommended!)

Doggett's Race Report 1868

Family History

Speech to Mark 300 Years of Watermen in the Layton Family 1965

These are Microsoft Excel files of family collections of watermen's indentures, licences and other memorabilia

The Atkins Family 1718 - 1956

The Fogo Family 1762 - 1931

The Goldsmith Family 1834 - 1949

Watermen's Hall Home Page

Created by Julian Coy March 2004