In 1555 an Act of Parliament set up the Company of Watermen and Lightermen. This was to control workers on the River Thames who were responsible for transporting passengers and goods. (Flat-bottomed barges were known as lighters.)
Today Watermen and Lightermen are still licensed by the Company, with Freemen of the Company eligible to participate in the Doggett's Coat and Badge race. Winners of this sculling event have the honour of wearing the Scarlet coat, breeches and silver arm badge based on the original costume of 18th Century Watermen.
Formation of London River Services
London River Services Limited - a wholly owned subsidiary of TfL - was created in 1997 to coordinate passenger services on the river with other forms of transport.
The Port of London's river passenger piers were transferred to LRS control in 1999.