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  • Description

    Whitbread's City Brewery, London.

    Barbaric looking British tradition of "Trussing the Cooper" - an initiation ceremony for apprentice beer barrel makers that hasn't changed since the 14th century. The Society of Coopers perform this ceremony once an worker has completed five years apprenticeship - good sequence showing workers "ringing in" the apprentice and performing the rituals of the ceremony.

    Jim Elliott of Dagenham is put into a barrel and covered with dirty water and a barrel of "muck". The workers hammer the sides of the barrel, laughing at the apprentice who is black from the water and muck. The ceremony is all the more bizarre because Jim's mother is there, along with a crowd of other people watching. Women shriek with laughter as the poor boy is rolled around inside the barrel and generally mistreated. Mrs Elliott is seen mouthing the words "my son, my boy" with a very proud look on her face! Jim emerges from the barrel looking shocked but eventually smiles.

    Sequence follows showing Jim at work in the Coopers yard. He planes a piece of wood using eye and experience rather than measuring tools. Narrator explains how barrels are made over shots of the barrel taking shape. Narrator observes that this is "an art that is perhaps dying" but a skill that is handed down from generation to generation.

  • Tags

  • Data

    British Pathé
    Issue Date:
    Media URN:
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Film ID:
    Time in/Out:
    01:16:54:00 / 01:19:54:00
    CP 105
    Sort Number:
    CP 105
  • Appears in...

    Entertainment & Humour Trade & Industry
    Laughter Shepherd Neame Hazing
  • Stills

    0:01 0:02 0:03 0:04

Comments (2)

  1. jamied says

    Just to confirm that in the first line, the spelling should be "Whitbread's".

  2. British Pathé says

    Thanks for the confirmation.

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