1934, my father, Mr William Bailey, moved from the village of
Martin, about 10 miles from Fordingbridge, to Hordle Lane, Downton.
There, in response to an advertisment in The Western Gazette,
he bought a one-round business from Mr Fred Parker, for the sum
The acquisition came complete with one roundsman, Les Haines,
and a motorcycle and sidecar.
The business was called Yeatton Dairy, named after Yeatton Farm,
and occupied buildings rented from Fred Parker. Initially, deliveries
were made from a large churn mounted in the motorcycle's sidecar,
the total output being 8 gallons a day.
At this time my father was lodging at the Downton Post Office and General Stores, about a quarter of a mile away, which was owned by Les Haines' mother.
After a few months, my father bought a small Singer van in which
he and my mother, then Winifred Grant, went to Ringwood Market
every Wednesday to buy eggs. In the following year, my mother
moved from Ibsley, near Ringwood, and they married and moved
to a bungalow in nearby Sky End Lane.
Within a couple of years, Yeatton Dairy progressed to using bottles,
these being wide-necked pints and half-pints made by United Glass
Bottles, printed in red, and sealed with cardboard caps. Included
in the wording on these bottles was "....and at The Beehive,
Station Road, New Milton". This refers to an arrangement
with the three Misses Haynes, Amy, Violet and Mabel, whereby
The Beehive, a cake shop and café which commenced business
in 1934 and closed in 1994, sold and advertised Yeatton's milk,
and in return the Dairy advertised The Beehive on its bottles.
Dairy accounts could also be paid at the shop. This alliance
lasted until 1961.
The business grew steadily and in 1938 the leases on both the Dairy buildings and the bungalow expired simultaneously, necessitating a move to other buildings at Ashley Common Road, Ashley, New Milton, (this land has flats built on it; the lane which originally led to the Dairy is now called Poplar Road, and there is also a cul-de-sac called Bailey Close).
This property was rented from Mr Norris, a farmer who had been
forced to give up work due to illness.
At this time the name of the business was changed to Hygienic
Dairy, this being seen as a more descriptive name of a business
which relied on a reputation for clean milk and hygienic conditions.
My parents' house was adjacent to the Dairy and they kept
chickens and a few cows to supplement their supply. The Dairy
also bought in butter, magarine and lard from Fairoak Dairy in
By the time the Second World War started, the output was up to 100 gallons per day and four horse-drawn floats were in use, as well as the Singer van.
In 1941 the three roundsmen, Les Haines, Eddie Rouse and Les
Warren were called up for National Service, and land girls were
brought in to deliver the milk. Land girls were quite often town
bred with no experience of horses, dairies, or country life in
general, the result being that my father, in addition to his
other duties, had to harness up the horses and floats every morning.
Needless to say, the land girls' inexperience led to the occasional
incident, such as the time when a milk float approached the Dairy
at high speed and obviously out of control. Every horse worth
its hay knows its way home, and so when it reached the yard entrance,
the horse executed a sharp left turn, resulting in the float
overturning, the horse ending up on the office doorstep. Apparently
the horse was alright, but the land girl needed a few stitches!
Land girls continued to work for the Dairy until the 1950s, and
two girls, , stayed for the rest of the life of the Dairy.
During the War, the Dairy still bought in supplies from Fairoak Dairy. This was rationed to two ounces of butter, two ounces of margarine and one ounce of lard per customer. In 1943, the area was divided up between the local dairies, ('zoning'), and each one served the nearest vicinity. The customer had no choice of dairy, and the dairy had no choice of customer!
Also during the war, Hygienic Dairy started supplying its milk to four local schools in embossed 1/3-pint bottles.
1940 to 1948, the Dairy had its own retail outlet, in the form
of a small (8' x 6'!) shop on a local caravan site called Parklands,
at Old Milton, now a housing estate.
As well as selling milk, cream, butter and all the usual dairy
produce, the shop also sold ice cream, cigarettes, sun-hats,
sand-castle flags and toys.
1948 my father bought and moved to a dairy premises a short distance
away, in Ashley Road, along with a farm at Lower Pennington,
called Manor Farm, both from Mr Albert Browning.
At the farm he kept Guernsey and Jersey herds which, together
with milk collected from other local farms, made up his total
output, now up to six rounds plus some wholesale supply. Sterilised
milk was bought in from a company called Pridoux, now part of
Dairy grew with the purchase of several smaller dairies, some
of which didn't actually have a name, but were individuals delivering
milk from their own farms or smallholdings. Butter and cream
were made from surplus milk, these being very popular and selling
well - I remember the butter being a deep yellow colour, something
today's butter lacks.
The milk floats were mainly Morrison electrics, with the addition
of two Morris Commercial J-Series vehicles, and a Ford 8 van
(a black one bought from a local undertaker!). Generally the
Dairy's colours were a cream background with green lettering.
The two remaining horses, Trixie and Queenie, had been pensioned
off in 1955.
At the time the Dairy was sold to Edgar's Dairies on 30th March 1961, milk sales were 800 gallons a day, spread over 13 rounds.
One employee, Phyllis Phillips, who had started work at the Dairy in 1945, went to Edgar's with the sale, and remained with them until their demise at the end of 1993.
was once the Dairy yard is now called Ashley Mews, and all the
original buildings remain, although some of the loading ramps
and other structures were demolished. The buildings are listed
and have been fairly tastefully converted to offices.
Author: Malcolm Bailey
This article first appeared in the Winter 1991 issue of Milk Bottle News.