The Charles Cooper was an amazing wooden sailing ship built at the Hall Shipyard in Black Rock in 1856. Part of a sailing group known as “packet ships”, its remains are the last surviving remains of this type of vessel. Packet ships carried both cargo and people in its cross-Atlantic voyages and were the first ships to run on a set schedule.
In its later years, the Cooper engaged in the global trade and was returning to the Atlantic by rounding Cape Horn in 1866 when it met its unfortunate fate. The southern tip of South America was long known for its fierce storms and treacherous winds as the Cooper tragically learned experiencing severe damage to its hull in its last voyage.
It was able to continue its sail northward arriving in the Falkland Islands where it came to rest in Port Stanley. It remained in the harbor for over 100 years being used for a time as a “floating” warehouse. In recent years, its deterioration required its removal and its remains were moved to an industrial dock where they sit today.
We recently learned from the Director of the Falkland Islands Museum and National Trust of their plans to place the bow of the Cooper (which is the largest remaining section) on the grounds of the museum for permanent display and to name this area Cooper Point. Additionally, seating at the point will be constructed from some of the Cooper’s timbers. This is very exciting news and, hopefully, the Cooper’s bow will survive for many years to come.
And we are planning a BR 375 presentation on the Cooper in September as a “kick-off” event for Harborfest. Stay tuned for more information as we finalize the details. And special thanks to Andrea Barlow, the director at the museum, for assisting us with our plans.