Milkmen – and women – still have lots of bottle
Forty years ago, almost everyone had their milk delivered by a milkman. It was an iconic part of British life and comedian Benny Hill even had a Top Ten hit with his song about ‘Ernie: The Fastest Milkman in the West’.
But fierce competition from the supermarkets meant that milk floats – fast and slow – became a rare sight.
That is all about to change though, as the milkman – and woman – is making a comeback. For the family which has owned and run Mawdesley based Rowland’s dairy for decades, the milkman never quite went away. ‘We have been in this area since the 1920s and we do everything ourselves – from milking our herd of 180 black and white Holsteins to pasteurising, bottling and, of course, delivering,’ says Shelia Rowland, whose father founded the dairy and who still runs it with her children and grandchildren, as well as a small team of dedicated staff.
Milk deliveries are making a comeback and its partly thanks to environmental
concerns about plastic containers
The Rowland family believe there are several reasons for the renaissance – including the fact that people want to know exactly where their food has come from and Rowlands can trace their milk every step from the field to the doorstep. Another major factor is that many people are searching for ways to reduce their use of plastic.
‘There has been a huge amount of publicity about the damage that plastic bottles are causing both to the environment and to wildlife. That doesn’t happen with the traditional glass bottle in which we deliver milk. Switching to glass is an easy way for us all to do our bit,’ says Shelia’s daughter, Stephanie.
‘Customers only have to give them a quick rinse and put them back on the doorstep as we sterilise them here at the dairy, so they can be safely re-used. Mind you, the old age problem of birds fancying a quick drop hasn’t gone away although a tile or cup over the top usually does the trick.’
The family’s herd produces 6,000 litres a day, which means that they can run eight different doorstep rounds, as well as supplying local shops and other milkmen who don’t have a herd.
Marcus Rowland guiding cattle accross the road at Tootles Farm