My Milk Round

Braziers Dairies

By Terry Trainor

My Milk round with Braziers Dairy. As a young boy I used to help the milkman on the weekends and in the school holidays. This meant getting up at four in the morning and walking the two miles to Braziers Farm in Oxhey Lane .

These were great days. By the time I arrived at the dairy my usual milkman Bill had already nearly loaded the float with milk. My job was to get all the specials, like the creamy gold top, sterilized, butter milk and small bottles of orange juice. There was a shop in the yard that sold bread, biscuits, yogurts, bacon, eggs, thunocks toffee biscuit bars. The shelves were filled with everything you could buy from a corner shop. My favorite breakfast at the dairy was a hot pork pie with Dairy Lee Cheese on the top.   At about 04.45 hours we set off to deliver the milk. The float we had was a four wheeler.

Most of the other floats only had three wheels. As it was a four wheeled electric float it went a bit faster than the others and as the convoy of floats set off down Oxhey Lane we gradually overtook most of them. The start of the round was Watford Heath and we would look to see who wanted what, loaded ourselves up and ran through gardens and across drives dropping off the milk.

One of the most annoying things was when somebody had left a note in the empty bottle. It meant that you had to put everything down. It was pitch black as the street lights had not come on yet, so we had to run back to the float to read it in the headlights. If it said, no milk today, one of us would have to run back to take the milk back again.   From Watford Heath we would gradually work our way on to South Oxhey Estate. We used to run like the wind so we could get to Bill Taylors Café in Prestwick Road before it got crowded. Most mornings we had a breakfast special. The special was a legend on the Estate and forty five years on I can still see the breakfast being put in front of me by a girl who worked as a waitress. Bill Taylors Café is something I will never forget.

All my friends remember the café down to the finest detail. As you walked through the door a wall of heat warmed you up. We went to the counter and Bill would say,” usual today boys?” and we would sit on the table next to the two pinball machines. These machines were fantastic put a tanner in the slot and if you were good you could get replays and be there all morning. On the milk round we did not have time to play but the coloured flashing lights made me feel good.   After a while when the breakfast turned up it was a work of art.

On the plate was fried bread, plum tomatoes, an egg, beans, sausage and crispy bacon. The side dish was a slice of toast and a steaming mug of hot tea and I used to put four sugars in it. Today there are many food programs about fine dining and how things should be cooked. Bill was way ahead of his time everything he sold in the café was a joy. A Wide variety of milk shakes banana, lime, strawberry, and vanilla, chocolate all with a big blob of ice cream. This was all whooshed up in a metal beaker.   There was always too much in the beaker to get in the fluted glass he gave you the metal beaker to refill the glass. So you really got two glasses. There was a glass cabinet with loads of different cakes and sweets. After we had finished the next road we delivered on was Fairfield Avenue . On A Saturday I had a leather pouch over my shoulder with plenty of change in it. About eight o’clock we started knocking on doors for the milk money. Milk was about ten old pence a pint for silver top. And the red homogenized, the creamy gold top and the horrible sterilized milk was a couple of pence more.

Most people had bills that had shillings and pence. If a bill was nine and six they would probably say keep the change. At the end of the day on a Saturday tips may be as high as ten shillings. My pay on a week day and a Sunday was five shillings and on Saturday it was seven shillings and sixpence. With my ten bob in tips the money for a child was really good. On a Saturday we had to call back on the customers we delivered to before eight o’clock . We used to be offered so many cups of tea at the weekend we had to turn most of them down.

I have often told my grandchildren about working at Braziers on the milk and one of my favorite stories was that in the winter we used to go into the fridges at the farm to get warm before we started. They politely listen and then giggle at the thought. But milk was stored at four degrees to stop it from freezing so if the weather was minus five the fridges seemed warm.

This page was added on 28/03/2012.

Comments about this page

  • I was born in Portsmouth and the milkman I helped lived over the road from me so I used to get a lift to the dairy and help load I would earn about £2.00 a week during school holidays and like others I enjoyed every minute.

    By paul (15/06/2018)
  • Janice, a book would be great. I have lots of photos and bottles from the Braziers Dairies in my collection of 15,000 milk bottles. I knew Les Brazier from Kenton Lane and worked for Roy for a few years.

    I’m glad while working there I recorded on video and photo the goings on of the various depots in Watford, Chesham and Aylesbury which of course is all now a thing of the past.

    By Paul Luke (25/08/2017)
  • I worked for Ron Millers dairy from 1970 till 1988 I knew Mick Sheward very well as we liaised on numerous occasions for Easter and Xmas etc for goods etc which we bought from Braziers Dairy. I also worked at b&m dairies for Anthony Brazier for a number of years. We used to meet up with Mick and his wife for firms dinners etc what a lovely couple they were still think about them now.

    By Arthur elliott (03/08/2017)
  • Janice Brazier – i’d like to get in touch to pick your brains over the Brazier family history and the farm – which has been sold and probably due for demolition soon

    By Neil Hamilton (31/05/2017)
  • This is so lovely just happened to google my nan for info on my family tree
    and this wonderful story appeared about my nan Doris Bowles thank you for sharing Colin.

    By Tracy bowles (20/05/2017)
  • I have been showing my Brother Jim, “Our Oxhey”, as having moved to Wallingford in the 1960’s had lost touch with Carpenders Park & South Oxhey. The reason for mentioning this is that, after reading about Brazier’s, he reminded me that our sister Dorothy was friendly with a Betty Brazier, who’s Son managed a farm in Hampermill Lane, and that she knew Betty from the 1940’s. We both were wondering, if Janice Brazier can confirm if  our recollections are correct, as sadly, our Sister Dorothy is no longer with us, to provide further memories, of this friendship.

    I can remember my friend Peter Bunny mentioning a Betty, when he visited Mrs Brazier with his parents, also telling me that I would get into trouble if I got caught wearing Mrs Brazier’s wellingtons, when I went to collect “Windfall’s” from the orchard, Mrs Brazier kept her wellingtons in the boiler house !.

     

    By Arthur Hall (27/09/2016)
  • I remember Sid and Roy Brazier well, I grew up on their farm, Hill Farm in Chesham. I remember driving round in the back of Sid’s white pick up truck checking the cattle with him and my dad. I would love to get in touch with the family, especially as the farm is up for sale now. I have lots of fond memories of what feels like my only true home. I also have lots of unanswered questions about the farm which I think only the family could answer. Please Janice could you get in touch. Thank you 

    By Wendy Toft (01/08/2016)
  • When I arrived in Firbank Drive in 1953 the milk cam via a horse and cart. As I was at work during the day I missed out on what the horse sometimes left behind to feed my roses!

    By vivien buckley (24/01/2016)
  • Before  the demise of Brazier Dairy we had a milkman delivering for over 35 years- he never once let us down- we knew him only as John.He retired just about the time Braziers closed down in Oxhey Lane and we left the area.Not bad service- thanks John.

    By Adrian Watkin (23/01/2016)
  • My previous comment failed to mention a serious incident that occurred in 1944, which was that about a V1 Flying Bomb which exploded in the bottom end of the field, next to the orchard where Mr & Mrs Sutton’s caravan was situated. The exact area, is where the N R A constructed a flood storage reservoir, for the Hertsbourne Stream, opposite what is now the entrance to Carpenders Park lawn cemetery.

    Mr & Mrs Sutton’s home must have been the closest to this Bomb, which fell on the 27th July 1944.

    By Arthur Hall (25/07/2015)
  • I can remember a Kenny Sutton living with his parents in a caravan at the bottom end of Brazier’s orchard, His father had a Riley Car. Kenny and myself were allowed to play in a shed which was shaped like an anderson shelter. At the top of the orchard near the house gardens and stables, were pig styes, and rabbits  in cages, which Roy Brazier sold for pocket money. The rabbits were looked after by an old Man called Jim. Years later I met Kenny in Watford High Street. he was then a professional photographer. 

     

     

     

     

     

     

    By Arthur Hall (17/07/2015)
  • My Nan and Grandad (Billy Sutton) moved into their touring caravan which they set up in the orchard at Braziers Farm to avoid the bombing closer into London.  They were on good terms with Mrs Brazier and with Sid (referred to always as “Old Brazier” and with Roy.  My mother and I also occupied the orchard for a short time in a shepherds hut until my father came home from the war.  I had a very happy childhood there and remember being taken to see the dairy and the domestic rabbits.  Nan and Grandad finally moved into a house in 1952!

    By Martyn Cubitt (19/06/2015)
  • Carpenders Park Dairies, was originally S.A Brazier Dairies, and was owned and run by Sid Brazier (Known as the Governor, or ‘Guv’ ) and his son Roy. Mrs Brazier ran the shop in the main house. You are right Janice, you could write a book about the ‘Braziers’. I enjoyed working in the dairy with Roy, when not at school, & that was from 1940 – 1946. When I reached 14 I had to leave school, & go to work, the dairy started to grow, & expand  from that period. I often saw & spoke to Roy, who liked to joke about me being a shrimp at that time, & having to stand on a milk crate when helping to wash milk bottles. Happy memories.

    By Arthur Hall (16/04/2015)
  • How lovely to read all these memories.  My great grandfather gave each of his sons an amount of money to make their way in the world.  Three of them bought dairies, Jack – Kenton Lane, Sid – Oxhey Lane and Ron Preston Road Dairy.  All three brothers had sons who took over the dairies and then grandchildren who took over before the milk rounds became a thing of the past.

     The Braziers are a very large and mostly close knit family.  Perhaps we should write a book of all our (and these) memories.

    By Janice Brazier (03/04/2015)
  • First memories was Jack the Milkman ..when we lived in Fleetwood way..nice old chap .Then there was Brian Bywaters ..when we lived off Prestwick road…Dad would ask him in at Christmas for a TOT of whiskey ..he needed it in them days .it was always freezing near christmas ..think his daughter was in my year at school..I do remember him clasping the little tot glass with his gloves with the fingers cut off…spose that was so he could pick up the emptys …not just a job was it ..braving the elements at that time of morning ..seems like yet another british tradition .on its way out ..Even the dairy farmers are not getting a fare deal now …

     

    By Peter thubbron (23/02/2015)
  • I helped a milkman who’s name was Rex Freeman, I was about thirteen so it would have been around 1971, I helped Rex for about four or five years then we moved away, I would love to meet up with him again if anyone knows where he is ?

    By Keith Thompson (12/12/2014)
  • I also worked at Braziers…only to help my dad out at the time, Michael Sheward, who sadley passed away June 18th 2013′ on his 73rd birthday, he was short staffed at the time asked if I’d help for 2 weeks, ended up staying 2 years, great time , very nearly convinced him to paint van pink …. Had a few accidents milk flying off back of float while going round a roundabout, drove in a ditch in the dark , , and a car drove in the back of me, , always dad to the rescue … 

    By Tracie Sheward (12/05/2014)
  • My Dad worked for JH Braziers as a rounds foreman at the Kenton Lane farm depot, Kenton from the mid 1960’s until the mid 1970’s. They were an excellent family firm, and I have very fond memories of helping my Dad on the various rounds at Kenton. I remember the three brothers, Ted, Ray and Les, who as a child were very kind and good to me. When my Dad first started they had Brush 3 wheel floats and a few Morrison Electricar 4 wheelers. I think there were 25 rounds operating from Kenton, and in time they had a more or less exclusive Wales and Edwards 3 wheeler fleet, that were absolutely immaculately kept, in Dark Green and cream livery, the company name was hand liveried in black and gold. Bottling was carried out on site at Kenton, and as with the South Oxhey site, it had an excellent servery with all sorts of goods available that were delivered by the roundsmen and I remember also we used to deliver a goods service in a 4 wheel Morrison electricar to mainly elderly people who had mobility problems in the main. It was the Ocado of the 1960’s. I did rounds with my Dad all over Kenton, Kingsbury, Harrow, Wealdstone,Queensbury, Stanmore and the Wembley and Northwick Park areas. The Milkman were usually very well turned out, some with peak caps, smocks and aprons, and seemed to be a cut above the average. They were happy days for me, I vaguely remember the Preston Road branch closing, in the late 60’s or early 1970’s. I see a Braziers (Wholesale vehicle) most mornings in Banbury, Oxfordshire, where I work, and although I don’t think it is JH Braziers family, I think it was the same family that ran South Oxhey. It was great to read your stories, and if anyone has any photos, please post them, I am sure we will all be please to see them.

    By Colin Corne (07/12/2013)
  • My Dad, Jim Mulcahy, worked for Braziers Dairies (Carpenders Park) from the late 50s until he retired in the 1990s, I used to help him on his round, for many years the Hatch End one and I remember the Convent. We never had a horse but a 3 wheeler milk float. In the later years my Dad used a van and did commercial deliveries to shops and restaurants. I remember the Yard and the shop, and the cows looking over the fence. I was about 5 when I started helping and did so right up until I left school and got a job. I used to get 5 shillings but would often get tips as well, 25p you can’t even get a bar of chocolate for that now!!

    By Barbara Mortimer (17/03/2013)
  • I wonder if anyone knows if this Brazier’s Dairy has any connection to the Brazier’s Dairy which operated in the 1920s in the Stratford (London) area? I know that for a time this was based in Crownfield Road and my Greatgrandfather, then his 2 sons, owned it. My Great Grandfather moved out to Little Baddow in Essex in the 1920s (possibly 1927) acquiring a small dairy farm.

    By Marilyn Kyle (nee Brazier) (13/01/2013)
  • It was very interesting to read the stories about Braziers – we relied on the milkman so much in the early days of the estate for groceries – we lived in Woodhall Lane and I can remember walking up the cinder track turn left into Oxhey Lane right at the top of the lane and across the road was the farm shop – my Brother Sidney Searle helped the milkman every morning before school and weekends.

    By Josephine Parsons (nee Searle) (12/01/2013)
  • Was your Brazier’s R.F. Brazier of Preston Road. Three Brothers had dairies,the other two were, S.A.Brazier, Oxhey Lane, Carpenders Park. & J.H. Brazier, Kenton Lane.

    By Arthur Hall (04/01/2013)
  • We lived in Belvedere Way (off Preston Hill) from 1948 until 1962 and had our milk delivered by Braziers. I recall my mother (now 93 at Dec 2012) filling out a small notebook each week with a list of groceries. These would arrive in a cardboard box. She still recounts the time when her and her neighbour Doris Bowles were waiting at Preston Road station for the 79 bus when their milkman pulled up and offered them a lift. They sat on the back of the milk float with their legs dangling (no H&S worries in those days!) and laughed all the way home. My late father who was a bit more straight laced was not so pleased when he found out and said it made them look common. Happy days.

    By Colin Pike (30/12/2012)
  • Hello. I am particularly interested in the Convent which Mr. Hall has mentioned. I am researching a lady who lived there (as a paying guest) until she died in 1932. I wondered when the convent was knocked down and what happened to the people who used to work there, but were not part of the ‘holy order of nuns’. Thanks.

    By Jenny Bloodworth (14/09/2012)
  • I should have mentioned that the ‘Estate Office’ was at No.65 Carpenders Avenue, and was called ‘St Meryl’s Estates Ltd’ (Estate Office) and had a sign similar to a ‘Public House’ sign which was removed and replaced with a Brass name plate on the front of the house. Both Mr Absalom and Miss Farr (Mrs Absaloms Sister) worked in the office.

    By Arthur Hall (11/07/2012)
  • Brazier’s shop was formerly a ‘Walk in’ Pantry or Kitchen with windows looking into the dairy. Entrance was from the side, and a serving hatch was on the left, a second hatch was added at a later date by Mrs Brazier’s Father,when more customers started to shop at the farm, Mrs Brazier always served at the 1st Hatch, and a Mrs Boyle served at the second hatch. Customer area was just part of a passage leading into the house and lighting was not very good. The Watt’s family lived in ‘Gardeners Cottage’ Lower farm ‘Highfields’ prior moving to a Bungalow in Carpenders Avenue, we were friendly with her son Roy.

    By Arthur Hall (10/07/2012)
  • Unfortunately Roy died a couple of years back. He moved out to the area with his parents from Kenton I think. They lived in the small farm cottages until Little Carpenders – the big old house fronting the road came up for sale and purchased it. The shop was run from downstairs. The house is younger than the farm and dates from the 1860’s – it would have probably been the estate agents house for the Carpenders estate opposite. Its been derelict for years. I managed to get inside a few years back – its like a real time capsule though absolutely rotten now. All of the fireplaces were stolen years ago, I have a number of pictures I will post. Its probably well beyond repair now and will only be a matter of time before its demolished or falls down! I used to know a Mrs Watts from Carpenders Avenue who did a Braziers round.

    By Neil Hamilton (01/07/2012)
  • A very interesting page, for which I was very pleased to read, as the first part read like my own experience when I was 8 in 1940. Braziers then was part of the Brazier family, there was Preston Road Dairy (R.F. Brazier). Kenton Lane Dairy (J.H. Brazier) and Carpenders Park Dairy (S.A. Brazier) Which was opposite the Army Base ‘Highfields’ in Oxhey Lane. S.A. Brazier was a small dairy run by Sid Brazier his Wife and Son Roy who I believe was either 14 or 15 as he had left school. The dairy comprised of a large house (Which I believe still stands in spite of neglect), Stables, Pigs sty’s, and Dairy. The Dairy was next to a Farm owned by Mr Absalom who lived in Oxhey Grange, this farm was purchased from Mr Absalom at a later date by Sid Brazier. Because of world war 2 most eligible men had been called for service, the Dairy therefore, was run by Sid Brazier (Liked to be called Guv) Mrs Brazier & Mrs Boyce ran the shop, and poor Roy though big and strong for his age had to endeavour to carry out as many jobs as he could. He would prepare the Horses & Carts ready for milk delivery, work in the dairy washing bottles, and filling them, there were 4 types of bottles Quarts, Pints, 1/2 Pints, and 1/3rd of pint (Used for schools). There were 3 Milk Rounds, No.1 was the Hatch End area, No.2 Comprised of Carpenders Ave, Alva Way, Harrow Way, St Georges Drive, and Compton Place, No.3 Comprised of Penrose Ave, Greenfield Ave, and The Courtway. Round 1 delivery was carried out by Roy Brazier, No.2 By Mrs Watts, and No.3 By Mrs Seymour. I always helped Roy as it was an interesting round, delivery in Hatch End was always to the tradesman’s entrance, but if you were helping on a Saturday, the customer left a tip for you. The convent was strange, as we never saw anyone, you rang a bell, and a voice would say hello Roy, and what milk was required, a compartment would then revolve, revealing a shelf with the empty bottles on it, Roy would then remove the empty’s and place the new bottles of milk in the compartment, and then revolve it back, he would then wait until he heard someone say, thank you Roy. When we finished the round, Roy would give ‘Midnight’ the horse a drink and then place a nosebag for him to eat, and then unload all the empties. Roy would thank me for my help, and I would go home, sometimes I would buy a ‘Lyons’ Individual fruit pie for 3d from the dairy shop. I continued to help Roy at the dairy until I left school in 1946.

    By Arthur Hall (29/04/2012)

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