Wine cooler

Essential information

Opening times: 
National Maritime Museum, First floor, The Atlantic gallery

This 19th century wine cooler was made from the timbers of a captured slaver.

On 1 February 1829 Lieutenant Henry Downes was in command of HMS Black Joke when he came across and captured the slaver El Almirante. In commemoration of his 'gallant conduct' Commodore Collier had timbers from the ship fashioned into this wine cooler. The base is made using timber from the Spanish war ship Bahama captured at Trafalgar.

The Black Joke was one of the best-known vessels involved in the Royal Navy’s anti-slavery patrols. The Black Joke was originally known as the Henriquetta, and was a Baltimore-based, fast-sailing slave trader. However, she was captured by HMS Sybille in 1828, renamed HMS Black Joke and detailed to patrol the coast of West Africa for other slave ships. Because of her speed, the Black Joke proved highly successful, capturing Spanish and South American slave ships in the late 1820s and early 1830s.