In the 1960s my Father, John Vining, and I decided to create a milk round in Chandler’s Ford direct from Hiltonbury Farm and deliver to a growing population wonderful Raw Jersey Milk direct from the farm.
From the Hiltonbury Herds beginnings in 1947 by my Father, we were at that time milking around 40-50 Jersey cows in a long shed that housed 36 at a time, so had to do a changeover during milking to accommodate all the cows. It was very time consuming and labour intensive.
Later we moved into a modern Herringbone Milking Parlour but that’s another story.
Our milk at that time was collected every morning by milk lorry and it would arrive around 8.00 am and the 10 gallon churns would be loaded by hand onto the milk lorry and sent on their way. It was a terrible misdemeanour if we were late and the lorry had to wait around.
As an aside a year or two ago I went to the Dorset Steam Fair and in the Farming Antiques Tent all the equipment I used to milk with and cool the milk back then was on sale. It made me feel very old.
The decision to diversify into retail was a big step in those days as the household milk was delivered locally by South Coast Dairies in bottles and virtually every one had milk delivered in bottles. Who remembers Gold Top and Silver Top?
We were far ahead of our time
We were not able to handle glass bottles and all the sterilising that would entail so we were far ahead of our time and decided to deliver the milk in cartons.
We first purchased a box of cartons labelled Hiltonbury Farm Fresh Milk and sealed them with a metal clip by hand, very time consuming and laborious but we did not want to spend on automatic equipment until we were assured that the “Chandler’s Ford” public were willing to embrace the idea.
So off I went canvassing. Door knocking up and down Hursley Road, then onto the new Hiltingbury estate and the response was amazing. I would get the orders and next day would have to milk, then carton the milk direct from the cooler, load my Ford Van and off I would go to deliver this wonderful product to the people of Chandler’s Ford.
New Carton filler machine
Not long after we started we invested in a New Carton filler machine that enabled me to fill 3 cartons at a time and this machine then heat sealed the wax tops saving a great deal of time and effort.
One of the main resistances was not the fact it was unpasteurised and raw milk but that it was in waxed cardboard cartons. People were so used to having milk delivered in bottles they were very wary to start with until they discovered how useful the cartons were to recycle as flower pots and other innovative recycling ideas. They made brilliant firelighters!!
The round grew and we offered other farm produce, the main one being fresh double cream that was a beautiful and very popular product. We also sold eggs and chickens to order, potatoes in 14lb bags and our renown Christmas turkeys.
A specialist Milk van
We had to invest in a larger van and had a specialist Milk van build and sign written that had a separate back cold compartment, all very modern.
The milk had to be delivered every day and the challenges of the winter of 1963 were big to say the least, and I had to deliver milk with the tractor and trailer but our sales rocketed as the milk floats of our rivals had great difficulty getting around in the coldest winter for 200 years.
Around this time my sister Heather had left school and wanted to also join in the work on the farm so in 1964/65 she joined me on the milk round and did the cream making and putting the milk into cartons to help share the work load.
My sister Heather: Farming Woman of the year
Heather went on to Sparsholt Farm Institute the returned to Hiltonbury in 1975 to take the herd over as I left to pursue another career connected to farming.
The Milk Round business continued for some years but was eventually sold to our biggest rivals for various reasons, rising overheads, labour problems, the end of an era.
1n 1976 Hiltonbury Farm was taken for development and the Jersey herd moved to Velmore Farm (Opposite Asda ) run by my sister Heather who did an amazing job building the herd to Championship status. She was extremely successful as can be show in the photograph but she decided to retire in 2001.
On retiring some of the herd was sold but the main bloodline was continued at Longdown Farm by her Son Oliver Neagle.
Uplands Farm in Botley
Oliver was given the opportunity to move to a Uplands Farm, Winchester Street, Botley, SO30 2AA and he has done an amazing job, building the Hiltonbury Herd to a total of 400 animals including all the cattle, heifers and young stock.
Things have gone Full Circle now because Oliver has just started selling his Jersey Raw milk direct from the Farm in Plastic 2 litre and 1 litre bottles and it is beautiful milk and it is wonderful to be able to purchase at the farm to support local farms.
I take a trip over there once or twice a week and bring back some of the golden food with 1/3 fresh cream on the top, it has to be seen to be believed
Oliver is I understand soon to install a vending machine for milk and fresh eggs at the farm so if you want really fresh milk take a drive over to Botley SO30 2AA Uplands farm and you will also be able to see the cows from where this wonderful product comes from.
It has gone Full Circle indeed well done Oliver and Julie and The Hiltonbury
Jerseys a great entrepreneur building a way to keep our wonderful Hiltonbury Jerseys continuing.
This is the link to their Facebook Page: Hiltonbury Jerseys.
- Farming in the Winter and Christmas at Hiltonbury Farm
- History of Hiltonbury Farmhouse
- The Vining Family and Hiltonbury Farmhouse
- Oh Happy Days! Fond Christmas Memories in Chandler’s Ford 1950s – 1960s
- Growing up in Chandler’s Ford: 1950s – 1960s: The Big Freeze in 1963 (Part 7)
- Growing up in Chandler’s Ford: 1950s – 1960s: Paper Boy; North End School (Part 2)
- Growing Up In Chandler’s-Ford: 1950s – 1960s by Martin Napier
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