Saturday, 6 February 2010

The Delivery Men

In the 1950s when most mothers stayed at home in Summervale, many tradesmen would call on a regular basis. Mr.Bailey used to bring the milk round in churns on the back of his car (was it a Ford or Morris?).   image

I think I remember a horse and cart! Probably before you moved in.

I remember my grandmother taking jugs out to collect the milk in. I seem to recall your Mum doing that too Jean! One summer I remember collecting the milk for my grandmother (Ethel Durham) and when I brought it back inside  she told me to place the jugs in a bowl of cold water. It was a hot day and the milk could soon go off - no fridges in Summervale then, I think! However, all the prefabs had cool shelves in the pantries and these helped to keep some things cool.  I have no idea when this round ended and whether or not Mr Bailey switched to bottles. Any idea anybody?

The  first milk bottles had cardboard lids with a hole in the middle -

Us girls used to put two together, wind wool around and around until the hole was filled. Then cut through all the wool around the edges , wind some more wool between the two pieces of cardboard, tie a knot to make


And they said childhood in those days were boring!!

Although there were at least two bakers in the town I remember we had our bread delivered to the house. The delivery man was a wide-smiling Italian called Tony.  He used to say: "You wanta  de hovees (Hovis)". Not being used to Italians then, we thought he was rather funny. When he had gone my brothers and I used to imitate him. I wonder if he had been a POW who had stayed on in England after the war. Does  anyone else remember him?


I remember that a special lorry came round to collect the pig swill but I don't know what happened to it. I recall that there were special bins for the swill.

All food scraps were put into the pig bins to feed local farm animals. We had one opposite our house on the edge of the green and the smell was dreadful in the summer as was the sea of maggots surrounding it Yuck. It was a large metal bin placed inside a concrete collar to prevent it falling over I assume. I still have a scar from when I tried to lift it!

Here is a photo of Janice & Peter Symons who must have been standing next to it -


I can clearly remember gypsies calling at our house selling their wares. Sometimes we would buy wooden clothes pegs from them and I remember buying some wild flowers once. My mother was a bit annoyed about this when  she got home, and we never bought any flowers again. I don't think we ever had our fortunes told!
Can anyone remember any other traders calling?  I have a vague idea that a knife sharpener used to call on his bike to sharpen scissors,knives,shears and so on.
More happy days!
Best Wishes
Peter Westmacott


  1. Oh what a lovely post. I do remember everything, even my husbands father was a knife sharpener. Memories . Thank you

  2. I remember Mr. Bailey bringing the milk on a horse-drawn cart. He used to wear a tan canvas-type smock and leather gaiters up to his knees. The mothers would take out tin milk jugs and he would ladle them full, directly from the metal churn. Every now and again he would tell us that he had the "special" and us kids would run back home to get a cup. Then he would give us each a smaller amount of the very top cream from the milk, which we would drink right there. It was cool and simply delicious.
    -Adrian Hooke

  3. Thinking about the "special" milk, does anyone remember the "Morgan Sweet" apples? Once/year, in the late Autumn if I remember correctly, word would get out in Summervale that the Morgan Sweets were ready. They weren't sold in the store, you had to know-someone-who-knew-someone and usually you got one per person in the family. They were unbelievably sweet and delicious. Morgan Sweets are old West Country cider apples, but I have no idea where they came from in the Ilminster area.
    --Adrian Hooke

  4. Oh, and thinking about the pig bins, does anyone remember the Guy Fawkes night when my Dad blew one up? He (Arthur Hooke) was famous in Summervale for home-made fireworks, since we couldn't buy any so soon after WW2. We used to start making them sometime in October, baking wood into charcoal in cans on the coal fire, getting sulphur crystals that were sold for sheep dipping and potassium chlorate from the chemist. We experimented with rockets and "pretty-ones", but the "bangers" were his speciality. One Guy Fawkes night Arthur made an enormous banger, put it in a pig bin near the Circle, lit the fuse and put the lid back on. It went off so fast that the lid jammed on for a moment and finally it blew off and the whole contents of the can exploded. There were bits of rotten vegetables and bacon rind flying everywhere and next morning the trees were festooned with all that stuff.
    -- Adrian Hooke


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