The Demise of the Milkman’s Horse

May 29, 2008 at 10:58 pm 7 comments

by Loraine Ritchey

That is when I have decided things have gone topsy turvey in this old world and you no longer know where you are anymore…for me it was the doing away with the Milkman’s horse.

I was very , very tiny but I can remember “Charlie” the Milkman’s horse – even though we lived in London – in a semi detached.

Every morning the clinking of milk bottles and the clip clop on the concrete meant I would be able to feed sugar lumps and apples to a great beast of an animal. ( He probably wasn’t that big but to me he was magnificence personified).

I wasn’t alone all the kids and mums in the street would be out, rain or shine, getting their milk, turning back their freshly washed milk bottles ( no forced recycling- times were tough – this was no throw away society) . Neighbors would chat –

How is Mrs. so and so doing – I hear Joes’ mum is poorly- Joanie you had better watch out for the Fredericks chap he is a rotter-

You knew where you were what was respectable behaviour , what would be acceptable – what would not be tolerated – It was a time when “society” made the rules – not into what legal category poor behaviour fell- and how you you get away with this but not that ..

You were sent to Coventry by society – the blind eye was not turned- your neighbors gathering around the Milkman’s horse saw you kept your nose tidy .

And then came the mechanized milk cart-
the children no longer delighted in their milkman , the horse was replaced by puppets on TV – Muffin the Mule

Bottles with notes left on the doorstep for the milkman to collect- slowly the neighborhoods went into their own little houses – cut off from a neighborhood society due to the loss of the Milkman’s horse-

Then supermarkets and big plastic bottles caused us to “progress ” further into civilization and with it the ambiguity of what is acceptable. Society has suffered due to the demise of the the Milkman’s horse – Bring back the Milkman’s horse – I want my guidelines back!

Entry filed under: Brit take, commentary, opinion. Tags: .

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7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Paula  |  May 30, 2008 at 12:27 am

    Does anyone remember the Milkman in Lorain? We had to use one for Goat’s Milk when Jean was lacotse intolerant in 1980.
    Did anyone have a farmer come down their street with vegetables?
    Charlie Chips?
    Ice Cream Man?
    Ahhhh memories.

  • 2. Kelly Boyer Sagert  |  May 30, 2008 at 12:57 am

    I remember the Creamery delivering milk to our house . . . my grandmother would have Charlie Chips delivered to her house . . . and we would chase after the ice cream man down the street every summer . . .

  • 3. muley  |  May 30, 2008 at 1:31 am

    ….I can remember swiping a bottle of milk from Andy’s hardware on sat mornings on the way to “hot waters” for a day of fishing. This was about 1962 or so. Can y’all remember the tricycle ice cream carts? My uncle ran Sealtest on 28th and Broadway, it was my first job.

  • 4. renee dore  |  May 30, 2008 at 7:56 pm

    My Dad was a Charlie Chip delivery man here in the area in the 60’s. I used to go with him often on his routes. I still have one of the cookie cans from the first time they were offered.
    I remember the horse from the Lorain creamery- our street was one of the last neighborhoods he visited. I remember visiting my grandmother in another state and she had paper milk cartons- I wouldn’t drink milk from the them. It had to be from a glass milk bottle. The milkman to me resembled Captain Penny from TV. That was the hilight of my day- when the horse would come down the street. it broke my hear when he didn’t come around anymore. Renee Dore

  • 5. renee dore  |  May 30, 2008 at 7:58 pm

    oops- that was “broke my heart” when the horse stopped coming down our street. Renee

  • 6. Jan Steinman  |  September 10, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    It’s “back to the future!”

    Although I don’t use a horse, I make twice-a-week deliveries of raw organic goat milk to a small village about 10km from our farm.

    Where can I get one of those spiffy milkman uniforms?

  • 7. Judith Fortus  |  October 9, 2011 at 10:22 am

    I’m afraid it will take more than bringing back the milkman’s horse to reestablish the guidelines! Although it’s a lovely idea.
    The only one I remember is the old rag and bone man who gave you a yo-yo in return for whatever your Mum handed over.

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