Home Deliveries

Ken—You were talking about the milkman taking his milk out of a churn. That rings a bell with me. When I was a kid living in Rose Street we had the Woodcray Manor milk, and a chap by the name of Doug Hamilton was our milkman, a young man who used to come along on his trades-bike. And I well remember he had the churn in the front of his bike and he would balance himself with one foot on the front step.

Mum would give him the jug and he would ladle out a pint, or whatever, into the jug. But the thing that always worried me, and fascinated me, was the fact that everlastingly, he had a dewdrop on the end of his nose. That used to worry me.

Cecil—The same thing was passing through my mind because I remember there was a chap at school, Len Pike. His sister Mary is still around here somewhere. I saw her a while ago.

Len, when he left school, became a milkroundsman. I remember he always used to come round to the backdoor, and my brother was about three years old at the time, and Len always had a word for him. And when it was real wet weather Len wore one of these trilby hat things. When he was bending down over the can to ladle out the milk, the rain ran off his hat into the can.

Ken—Talking about a trades-bike—you mentioned early on about errand boys at the shops doing deliveries about the town. Perhaps we ought to have a word about how they did these deliveries. They didn’t carry them around by hand obviously.

Cecil—No. They had a heavy trades-bike with a big pannier in the front usually. Parcels would be dumped in there. When a housewife went shopping, especially when she went to the grocer’s, she would have her shopping list.

Ken—That triggers another memory, with me, actually. You must remember old Rawlings in the Market Place—a grocery shop. His errand boy was Jack Rance who lived by the side of the Wesleyan Chapel in Rose Street. And I lived in what had been The Eagle public house on the other side of this church.

Jack was going away for a few days. Now Jack was quite a tall lad— two or three years older than me—and he said to Mr Rawlings, “Snowball will do it”. He always called me Snowball because I had a lot of white curly hair, “Snowball will do the round”.

I went to Rawlings and he gave me this big bike with a stack of goods on the front. I couldn’t ride it at all but I pushed it through Cockpit Path, up to Fairview Road, where I had to take it. I got round the corner and the whole lot fell over. I was panic-stricken. I didn’t know what to do with it. It was far, far too heavy for me to lift. I don’t know how I got out of it. I think I probably just walked away. Anyway that’s another story.

Now we did talk about the delivery by horse and cart and that really was everything. We spoke about the milk floats. But of course all deliveries in the town and vicinity were done by horse and cart for many years.

Cecil—Yes. Bread was delivered. I remember there was a bakery down the end of Rose Street. She was delivering loaves around Wokingham until quite late on .

Ken—Oh yes, up until 1960 more or less. Mrs Carter, Cyril Carter’s wife.

Cecil—A horse-drawn van with a place on the back.

Ken—There was the Co-operative Society. All their bread was delivered by horse and van—all the coal merchants, and of course, the other thing was the railway wagon with old Bob Hyde and Tom Philips.

People today go round the Town Hall and see the horse trough with all its flowers in it We both know that it was removed from its original site. For very many years that was the means of the horse having some refreshment. I remember them queuing up to use it. Nowadays, of course, it’s pretty but not used.

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