Group From 1510
From the earliest days until the mid-18th century the Thames was the preferred route for travelling east-west across London, and a barrier which had to be crossed by boat to travel north-south. By boat, because the roads were very poor and there was only one bridge. In 1510 Henry VIII set up a licencing system for watermen, or wherrymen, and in 1555 the watermen were incorporated to control tariffs and impose safety regulations. In 1700 the watermen joined forces with the lightermen (who carried cargo rather than passengers) to form the Company of Watermen and Lightermen. See also Doggett's Coat and Badge.