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There were 400 coopers in the docks in the late 19th century but just 45 were left in 1966. Apprentices could rise to become foremen coopers or ultimately vault keepers. The wine cooper was a skilled crafstman but after wine began to be delivered in bulk most of them had to spend much of their time knocking up boxes. The last 2 coopers employed by the PLA were Len Preston and John Ardley who were made redundant in 1982.
© PLA collection/Museum of London