London, Waterman's Badge,
The watermen were initially employed by the insurance companies to act as firemen, not least because so many of the fires were near the docks packed with wooden ships.
In 1796 there were roughly 12,000 Watermen in London.
An Act of parliament from 1707 exempted those employed by the insurance companies from the naval press gangs, although this only applied to thirty men per company.
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