Remembering the Bognor milkmen of old
One of our diminishing services is that of the daily delivery of milk to our doorstep.
For many of us we usually find the milk float in front of us on the main Bognor to Chichester Road.
However this has not always been the case, so I thought we should have a look at the history of this customer service.
Around the 1830s it would have been a common sight to see herds of milking cows passing along the streets and lanes around Bognor.
For example Dungcart Lane, which is today known as Hawthorn Road is one road that was used for this purpose.
We should remember that at this time much of the land surrounding Bognor was in fact pasture land with numerous farms. It was the farmers who were to become the dairymen who first delivered milk to our doorstep.
One of the earliest references I have found dates back to the 1840s when there appeared to be two main families who were trading as dairymen.
Firstly the Boiling family who were situated in Chapel Street. John Boiling ran the business from the 1840s and his son, Philip, took over from the 1850s. Unfortunately I cannot find any further reference to this family.
Another name that is synonymous with milk in the town is that of the Munday family, who for over 150 years have been involved with dairying, printing and also as coal merchants.
However the dairying only lasted for a small number of years. George Munday first operated as a dairyman from a site in Gloucester Road in the 1840s.
This site used to have a Tuck shop on the corner with the junction of the High Street. George’s grandson, Alfred, grew up in the dairy trade and worked there for several years, but he eventually decided he did not wish to work on a Sunday so transferred to the coal trade.
Alfred will be remembered by some for the development of the Glenwood Estate, which was to occupy part of the land that the Munday family owned for over 60 years.
Another branch of the family, James and Frederick, operated from Dorset Gardens in the 1850s while Charles Munday operated from the Upper Bognor Road in the 1860s and 1870s. Dorset Gardens eventually became part of London Road.
By the 1860s another family had appeared in the scene, the Sait family. This family was to remain within the town for over 100 years.
In 1878 Edward Sait was a dairyman living at Bersted Lodge Farm, near to the site of today’s Hotham Park House. He also operated his business from premises in Dorset Gardens, at a time the land opposite was still grazing land.
Ultimately this area became engulfed in the newly developing London Road.
By 1903 he had premises at 35 and 37 High Street, where they were known as The Bognor Creamery.
Here he sold homemade cakes and dairy produce until about 1930, and was considered a great asset to the town’s prosperity.
Sait was the first to sell ice cream in Bognor, which was considered to be a real luxury. He gradually expanded until he eventually had shops in Aldwick, Felpham and Middleton on sea.
In the 1930s Sait advertised as “Sait Gold Medal Dairies” which boasted that they supplied the highest quality and cleanest milk in West Sussex.
However in the 1920s the Company was taken over by the Chichester Dairies, although they continued to trade under the very familiar and friendly family name.
A further family group is that of Money. James W. Money was born in 1869 and eventually lived in Chichester Road when he came to Bognor in 1908.
He opened a dairy in Station Road, which he continued on until 1919, when it was formed into a Company.
James then transferred his interests to Manor Farm in North Bersted and continued farming until he retired in 1924. Money’s Dairy eventually established itself in Station Road at No. 5 and their advertisements confirmed that they were a Dairy and Grocer, as was the trend in the 1970’s.
I am sure that many people will have stories to tell of the milkmen who delivered milk on a daily basis. It seems to have almost been an institution in its time.
There have over the years been a number of Companies, who operated locally, such as Mortimers in Bedford St., Express Dairies in Clifton Road.
In North Bersted there was A.E. Turner and Son and in the Upper Bognor Road there was a farm and I know that some people can even remember the horse’s that would be stabled there.
It is also difficult to visualise that the Co-op dairies had a site on the junction of Ockley Road and Argyle Circus. I can remember this and when my parents visited they would also pay a visit to the dairy to buy some Devonshire cream.
Those were the days!
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