Milk Rounds and Old Shops

Last week, we looked at “everyday people” – the people and services that we see every day, and take for granted until they disappear. Until a few years ago, everyone had their milk delivered door-to-door in glass bottles. Now most people get their milk from the supermarket, and I buy soya milk in cartons!

Lots of people also remembered the village “bobby”, complete with his tall police hat, truncheon and bicycle, scaring the living daylights out of young trouble-makers and apple-scrumpers.

And then there were the family-run shops and businesses that serviced Derbyshire towns and villages. Many patients had links with these businesses: cobblers, gentlemen’s outfitters, and grocer’s shops. Thankfully, some of these local institutions are still going, in the face of supermarkets and international chains.

Here are some of our memories!

A milkman from the 1950s.

A milkman from the 1950s.

Milk Rounds

I got up at 4.30am to do my milk round
It was over by eleven – the family firm.
We’d do the rounds in a Bedford Van
And help friends to move house in it.
Blue tits perched and pecked the cream.
Rich gold top, with beak holes in the foil.

In the country, we’d deliver milk differently
We’d have a churn on a horse and cart.
People would bring their own jugs,
And pour out the milk to take home
And put in the pantry or cellar head.

Nowadays, people get supermarket milk –
Those big bottles break the fridge shelf!

An old-fashioned bobby on his beat!

An old-fashioned bobby on his beat!

Pin and buttoning

We were scared of the policeman
But we still got up to all sorts of stuff
Pin and buttoning – making it sound like
Someone was tapping on the window,
But it was a button, blowing in the wind.

The local bobby lived in the police house
In the village – not too much to do really.
He was never off duty – he knew everybody
And everybody’s business.

He wore a tall hat, and a cape,
Rode a bicycle, had a silver whistle
A wooden truncheon, and handcuffs.

The sergeant came into the pub every night, singing songs.
He knew what everyone was up to.

You could get locked up for the night.
Believe it or not, there was once a riot in Bakewell
And the police handcuffed the culprits to the railings.

A Greengrocer's traditional approach to apostrophes!

A Greengrocer’s traditional approach to apostrophes!

Shops of the old days

Timothy Whites’
Boots’ the Chemist.
Tall bar stools and little booths
In Miller’s café.
Home and Colonial in Buxton
Measuring butter in Parks.
Milligan’s for clothes, bedding and towels.
Potter’s – still going strong.
Bespoke gentlemen’s outfitters.
The Co-op had tubes for money
Cashiers upstairs somewhere
Handing you your change.
C&A in Stockport.
Mycock’s butchers – pork pies
Sausages, tripe and black pudding.
A load of old cobblers in New Mills.


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