Identity Statement for Regular Dublin Operative Coopers Society

  • Reference code: IE UCD TU29
  • Title: Records of the Regular Dublin Operative Coopers Society
  • Dates: 1843 - 1982
  • Level of description: Fonds
  • Extent: 2 boxes
  • Context
  • Content and Structure
  • Conditions of Access and Use

Institutional History

The coopers, or hoopers, are as old as brewing itself and so must date back to the very origins of Dublin. The coopers are on record as having been active as a 'craft' in the fifteenth century. The Society's own stationary claims the year 1501 as its foundation year. However the date entered in the file of Registrar of Friendly Societies annually gives 1666 as the year of incorporation, and this is confirmed by the Report of the Commissioners in 1835, attesting that Charles II had granted the society its charter.From 1666 the society was corporately known as the Master, Wardens and Brethren of the Corporation of Coopers. By 1695 the coopers were established in the West if the city, near St. James's Gate.

In 1767 the society stood seventeenth in precedence out of a total of twenty five guilds in relation to the City of Dublin franchise, and seventeenth also in order of procession. By this time the coopers seem to have become known as the Guild of St Patrick V, an exclusive part of the Guild of St Patrick which applied solely to coopers. 

The coopers were numerically one of the more important guilds. In the procession marking the centenary of Daniel O'Connell's birth in 1875, the coopers were practically at the front with a larger banner than most. Between 1610 and 1651 seventy coopers were admitted to the franchise of the city and between 1774 and 1824 one hundred and five were admitted freemen of the city. 

The decline of the scoiety, like other guilds, began between 1731 and 1820, when the Dublin Society and Royal Dubli Societies were founded, usurping influence over Dublin's industries. 

In the nineteenth century the coopers were active in the Chartist Movemnet and their records are therefore particularly good for illustrating social and economic problems, including emigration. The offices of the scoiety after 1900 were at 9 Merchant's Quay, 5 Blackhall Street, 67 Connaught Street and 22 North Frederick Street. 

The society joined the Trades Council and Labour League in 1886, to the Dublin Council of Trade Unions in 1971 and to the National Federation of Craft Unions in 1976. The society dissolved itself at a special general meeitng on 24 MArch 1983, the Registrar of Friendly Societies being officially notified on 30 May 1983.

Archival History

This collection was deposited in UCD Archives by the Irish Labour History Society on 12 May 1983.

Scope and Content

Constitution and general administration, minute books (1883-1917; 1943-1979), financial administration, cash books, members correspondence, members ticket books (1843-1934), members contributions books (1841-1944; 1953-1957), relations with the I.C.T.U., disputes and arbitration.

  • Access: Available by appointment to holders of a UCD Archives reader's ticket. Produced for consultation in original format. Original material will be retrieved at 11am and 2pm only. 
  • Language: English
  • Finding aid: Descriptive catalogue
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