It’s quite a privilege having the last master cooper in the UK working just around the corner. In fact it’s far too easy to get on the bike and pop round. Although I’m always careful not to take up the time of Alastair Simms and his team, it’s always special when you go round. Not just the wit, repartee and banter neither, nor the tales of barrels, brewing and brewers, it’s more the smells and sights and feel of a working cooperage. It’s hard to describe what the cooperage smells of, a weird blend of fresh wood, old casks and history.
I know there’s a few cooperages with a purpose built visitor centre and well worth a visit they are too. White Rose is different though, it’s a real un-sanitised working environment, one that you need to go and experience.
Well, there is the opportunity coming up for a visit because on Saturdays between June 11th and August 13th, by prior arrangement and payment of a tenner you can have a tour of the cooperage, a demonstration and a chance to drink a little beer.
As well as experiencing something unique you will also be helping apprentice cooper Kean Hiscock who has been selected to play for England Lions Rugby league U19 tour to Canada in September. All proceeds will be donated to pay for Kean’s expenses. If you’ve never met him he’s an exceptional young man, and a belting rugby player to boot, who recently signed his indentures and was presented with his tools by Master of the Worshipful Company of Coopers, Vivian Bairstow, at a ceremony held in Briggantes bar, York.
So, do yourselves a favour get on the phone or email Alastair at the cooperage and arrange yourself a unique insight into the world of coopering and help Kean pay for the £1500 he needs to play for England in Canada.
White Rose Cooperage is at Unit 191, Street 6, Thorp Arch Trading Estate, LS23 7FP which is about 2.5 miles from the A1(M) motorway at Wetherby and is approximately equidistant between Leeds, Harrogate and York.
Telephone: 01937 845627