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Archives in London and the M25 area

COMPANY OF WATERMEN AND LIGHTERMEN

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 CLC/L/WA
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives - click here to see details of the physical location of collection
Full title: COMPANY OF WATERMEN AND LIGHTERMEN
Date(s): 1688-1971
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 447 production units
Name of creator(s): Company of Watermen and Lightermen

Context

Administrative/Biographical history:

There is evidence that the City of London Corporation passed regulations in 1370 governing watermen. In 1585 a grant of arms was made to the Company. The lightermen, who had formerly been members of the Woodmongers' Company, were amalgamated with the watermen in 1700. Watermen were boatmen or licensed wherry-men who were available for hire on the river Thames. Lightermen owned and operated lighters, flat-bottomed barges which were used in 'lightening' or unloading ships that could not be unloaded at a wharf, and also used for transporting goods of any kind.

Almshouses at Penge in Kent were built in 1840-1 on land presented to the Watermen and Lightermen's Company by John Dudin Brown. The almshouses could accommodate sixty residents (retired freemen of the Company). They were closed in 1973. Almshouses at Ditchling in Sussex were founded in 1888 through the gift of William Vokins, a master lighterman.

Content

Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the Company of Watermen and Lightermen, including registers of freedom admissions 1688-1942, apprentice bindings 1688-1944, and apprentice affidavits with dates of birth or baptism 1759-1897. RJ Cottrell has compiled an index to the registers of apprentice bindings, 1688-1908 (Ms 6289), and the apprentices' affidavit books, 1759-1897 (Ms 6291), a microfiche copy of which is available in the Manuscripts Section.

The Company of Watermen and Lightermen almshouses records include minutes, subscription books, financial records and polling papers. Further references may be found in other Company records such as minutes and accounts.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING ACCESS: These records are stored at the Guildhall Library site rather than the LMA Clerkenwell site. Researchers wishing to access these records should do so at the Guildhall Library Rare Books table. The Library is open Monday to Saturday, 9:30 to 16:45. Researchers will need to have an Archives History Card or a Library Readers Card. An archivist will be available at Guildhall Library on Thursday mornings to answer any queries.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:
English

System of arrangement:

As the archive is large and complex, and to assist the user, the catalogue has been arranged in sections representing sub-groups each with an archival classification code as follows:
A Constitutional records
B Court records
C Membership records
D Financial records
E Trade records
F Clerk's records
G Charities and estates.

Conditions governing access:

These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information are subject to access restrictions under the UK Data Protection Act, 1998.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING ACCESS: These records are stored at the Guildhall Library site rather than the LMA Clerkenwell site. Researchers wishing to access these records should do so at the Guildhall Library Rare Books table. The Library is open Monday to Saturday, 9:30 to 16:45. Researchers will need to have an Archives History Card or a Library Readers Card. An archivist will be available at Guildhall Library on Thursday mornings to answer any queries. For further information please see LMA Research Guide "Consulting Archives at Guildhall Library", available at http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/Corporation/LGNL_Services/Leisure_and_culture/Records_and_archives/Visitor_information/free_information_leaflets.htm

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright: Depositor.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at: http://search.lma.gov.uk/opac_lma/index.htm

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

These records date from 1688 and were deposited in the Manuscripts Section of Guildhall Library at various dates since 1950. The Section merged with London Metropolitan Archives in 2008. The records have been catalogued by various members of staff over many years.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

For further information relating to Livery Companies, particularly using the company records for family history, please see Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section "Livery Company Membership Guide" and Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section "Leaflet Guides to Records: Searching for Members or those apprenticed to Members of City of London Livery Companies" (both available online).

For a general introduction to the history of the City of London Livery Companies please see entry in The London Encyclopaedia, ed Ben Weinreb and Christopher Hibbert.

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Oct-09

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