The Amalgamated Society of Watermen and Lightermen of the River Thames was established in 1872. In 1901 it absorbed the Society of Watchmen of the Port of London and changed its name to the Amalgamated Society of Watermen, Lightermen and Watchmen of the River Thames. Lightermen were the elite of the London riverside workers and were freemen of the Watermen's Company. However, by 1900 larger barges were eroding their exclusive rights and in that year, for the first time, the Society allowed non-freemen to become members. In 1912 the name was changed to the Amalgamated Society of Watermen, Lightermen and Bargemen. On 1 January 1922 it merged with thirteen other unions to form the Transport and General Workers' Union.
Reports and accounts, 1893-1921
Prior written permission to consult almost all unpublished records in this archive is required. Researchers should apply to Mr Jim Mowatt, Director of Education at the successor union UNITE, Transport House, 128 Theobald's Road, Holborn, London WC1X 8TD, or by e-mail care of Joyce Ajimotokan (firstname.lastname@example.org). Publications may be consulted without permission.
See also MSS.126/TG (Transport and General Workers' Union). The records of the Watermen and Lightermen's Company are held by the Guildhall Library, London.