"The Cooperage"

Thank you to George Smith, British Columbia, Canada, formerly Edinburgh, for the his comments below.

"Must say I enjoyed the pictures of the cooperage.

Edinburgh at Work  -  Anderson's Cooperage  -  Leith Docks, 1992

What they cant convey is the level of noise when they were 'hardening' casks.

 Did you know that at the conclusion of his apprenticeship a cooper was expected to make a cask from scratch, scorch the inside and was then rolled around in it by his co-workers?

I know this was the practice in Glasgow .

Perhaps an ex cooper might comment on this?"

George T Smith, Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada


Thank you to Matt Rooney, New Cumnock. Ayrshire, Scotland, for confirming that Edinburgh had a similar initiation ceremony for new coopers.

Mat wrote:


"Robert Lamb the box maker's yard was next door to Beaverbank Motor where I worked, and across the yard from the garage was their cooperage

The newly fledged cooper did have to make a barrel from scratch and ended up in the barrel with every thing that you could imagine added to the barrel.

As there were no showers in those days, the poor lad had to clean himself up the best he could and then finish his shift and then go home.  Fortunately some of them could walk home but it was tough luck if they stayed quite a distance from the works.

Now this was the same ceremony, I Was Told at the Time, for every cooperage in Edinburgh, and apparently the apprentice motor mechanic got much the same treatment but without the barrel. 

Matt Rooney, New Cumnock, Ayrshire.  3 September 2005



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