Company of Watermen & Lightermen - Clerk
Location: City of London
Salary: c£85,000

The Company of Watermen and Lightermen of the River Thames was founded in 1514, when the earliest Act of Parliament for regulating watermen, wherrymen and bargemen received Royal Assent from King Henry VIII. Under a further Act of 1555 the Company introduced apprenticeships for those wishing to learn the skills of the Watermen. In 1700 the Lightermen (carriers of goods/cargo) joined the Watermen’s Company.

In 1780 The Company moved into its own purpose-built hall in St Mary at Hill, where we can still be found today. The Company is a working guild and is very actively involved with the life of the River and those who work on it.

Due to the upcoming retirement of their longstanding Clerk, Colin Middlemiss, the Company of Watermen and Lightermen seek to recruit a new Clerk.

The Role:

  • Heading the business of the Company, its subsidiaries and the Charities and ensuring this is performed with maximum efficiency.
  • Doing their utmost to keep the Master fully and accurately briefed from informed sources to enable the Master to fulfil the role expected of them by the Court as ambassador for the Company and for the watermen and lightermen of the River Thames.
  • Promoting and protecting the interests of the Company in the City of London, on the River Thames and with River authorities, River operators and riparian organisation.
  • Supporting the Company's involvement in traditional rowing events and processions on the River Thames including barge-driving, managing and promoting the Doggett’s Coat and Badge Wager.
  •  Ensuring that the Company provides effective and relevant training for Watermen and Lightermen, particularly for apprentices and those Freemen of the Company employed on the River Thames.
  • Carrying out and enhancing the purposes of the Charities.
  • Ensuring that the property of the Company and the Charity is used to best effect.
  • Managing, leading and motivating the employees of the Company and the Charities.
  • Encouraging and co-coordinating the participation in Company activities of Members of the Court and the Freemen and all others who voluntarily give their time to promoting the interests of the Company and the Charities.

The Person:

Key to success will be a commitment to the aims, ethos and traditions of the Company coupled with the ability to take a “hands on” approach to day-to-day management, balanced by diplomacy and common sense. The ideal candidate will have proven senior management experience gained in a complex public or private sector organisation. Specific characteristics include:

  • An effective and dependable leader, with a proven track record of successfully dealing with both strategy and management issues within a complex organisation involving an ability to take day-to-day decisions while accepting direction from the Court and its committees.
  • Stature, credibility, emotional intelligence and integrity.
  •  First class communicator, with strong intellect, sound judgment and social skills able to listen and to foster consensus.
  • The ability to manage sensitively, and to delegate to, a small team of permanent staff as well as to manage external contractors and members of the Company who offer voluntary assistance.
  • Proven and effective business, marketing, administrative, HR and financial skills ideally with some knowledge or experience of commercial property management and charitable fund-raising.
  • Good networking and diplomatic skills, with a willingness to work beyond normal business hours and to attend a variety of Company and charitable functions, some of which may occur at weekends.
  • An understanding of and interest in the history, ceremony and protocol of the Company.


For an informal and confidential discussion, please speak with our advisors at Berwick Partners; William Pringle on 07515 919 648 or Leia Clancy on 020 7529 3090.

Closing date for applications: Monday 8th February 

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