Saturday, 7 September 2013

My ancestor was . . . a cooper

(Image link:, 
28 Dec 2008)
A cooper is a maker of a wooden barrels or vessels for carrying liquid or casks for storing dry foods. Cooper is a common surname because it was previously a common trade. It is a skilled occupation that has been around since the Roman times. Unfortunately in the UK it is now a dying trade. There is only one master cooper left in the UK as metal casks and plastic container are now more commonly used.

I have at least two ancestors who were coopers and they were both in the Hair family. My great, great grandmother's sister, Hannah Hair (1861) married a cooper by the name of Herbert Williams (1862), who worked in the Paint Works, he probably made vessels to store the manufactured paint in (according to the 1911 census).

The other ancestor who was a cooper was Hannah Hair's paternal aunt Mary Hair, which I was quite surprised about as I would have expected coopers to be male. I would like to find out more about what exactly she would have done or who she worked for.

You can read more about them and their families in Chapters 9 and 10 of The Davidson Family.

Some information from:
Wikipedia - Cooper (Profession)
Telegraph - the last master cooper

Copyright © 2013 Ruth Hogan

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