Since at least as early as the 17th century, the shoreline and area adjacent to where the cooperage is located was used for fisheries and shipping-related activities: initially as part of a seasonal "fishing room" for processing and drying codfish and subsequently for an expanding mercantile enterprise owned and operated by the Taverner, Lester, Garland and Ryan families.
In an early painting of the Lester Premises (located at the Lester-Garland House) it suggests that a smaller cooperage may have been erected in the meadow in the 1760s.
Two key illustrations of the Lester Premises show what are thought to be cooperages. The earliest (produced by an unknown artist) is thought to date from the 1760s and shows a rather small, single-storey building with a steep-pitched gable roof situated at the north end of the premises behind two shoreline structures.
The second illustration of the premises shows what is thought to be a cooperage was produced by Royal Engineer Thomas Skinner circa 1800. It highlights what appears to be an entirely new and significantly larger, possibly two-storey building with a hip-roof, in more or less the same location, but with the main axis oriented in the opposite direction.
A third and extremely useful representation of the Trinity cooperage is from an early 20th century photograph of the harbour and north end premises taken from a point of land to the southeast. The photograph shows clearly the 2.5 storey cooperage with a gable roof in the area to the north of the Ryan’s Shop. It has a chimney at the north end and what appears to be two entrances - one situated mid-way along the east wall facing the water and the other on the south wall. This is the one that our cooperage is reconstructed as.
In 2007 construction began to rebuild this structure and it officially opened in 2008. It now operates as a functional living history museum where you can see the cooper at his work. The cooperage is one of only two living history museums in town and is a must see for any visitor. Although the cooperage is a new endeavour for the Trinity Historical Society, production has begun on many items which would have been made at the time the original building stood. On your visit to the historic town please drop by and see what the cooper is making.
The cooperage is open from mid-May to mid-October from 9:30 am - 5:00 pm daily. The price of admission, $20.00 per person, children 6 years and younger are admitted free of charge, includes entry to seven historic sites in the town -Visitors Centre, Lester-Garland House, Lester-Garland Premises (Ryan’s Shop), Cooperage, Green Family Forge, Hiscock House and the Trinity Museum - and may be purchased at the Visitor Centre. Visitors to Trinity are encouraged to purchase their admission pass at the Visitor Centre but may purchase it at any of the seven historic sites.