coopering trade

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One of the old established trades which had its own set of occupational customs, concentrated on key points in the worker's life, such as entering the trade, coming of age, qualifying, and so on. Given the trade, the barrel naturally features in most of the customs, with the victim being placed in one and rolled around the yard or factory, but other features such as covering him with shavings and beer, and making a great deal of noise, are common to most trades which have such ceremonies. ‘Trussing the Cooper’, to celebrate the end of an apprenticeship, is illustrated in Picture Post (30 November 1946), 16–17, and essentially the same procedure is also described in the Independent on Sunday (28 June 1998), 28, as still being practised. Photographs published in Drake-Carnell, 1938: plates 106–7, depict a similar process to celebrate an apprentice's twenty-first birthday at a Birmingham brewery.

J. Geraint Jenkins, Gwerin 1:4 (1957), 149–60.

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