Tuesday 1 September 2020

Mine's a pint!

My topic in this post is about milk which used to be delivered in fat glass milk bottles from years ago. You know the ones with the cardboard tops? What prompted me to write was an email I had from Roger Miles who wanted to let us know about one of these milk bottles that he found on Bernards Heath which he thinks had been unearthed by a fox or maybe a badger. He says that the old claypits were used to dispose of St Albans' rubbish at one time.

Etched on the bottle, as you can see, is Sopwell Home Farm, W.G. Brown and on the base it has E. WIGG moulded on it. Well I knew about Sopwell Home Farm. It used to be attached to Sopwell House. W. G. Brown was the farmer. Ten years ago, I interviewed the lovely 90 year old Betty Terry for the Sopwell Project who told me that her father was the cowman on Brown's Farm in the 1920s - 1930s. Her family lived in Sopwell Gate Lodge but because of a dispute between her parents and Mr Brown over working in the dairy, they were kicked out: Sometime after we’d been there, Mr Brown wanted my mother to do the milk, sterilise it or whatever they do with it. The room was cold and damp and he wanted her to stay there and work and she had three young children to get ready for school in the morning so she just could not cope so they had a row, my Dad and Mr Brown, over it and he got the sack. Cos the house went with the job so we were homeless really. Mr Brown doesn’t sound very friendly.

I have seen bottles like this before. When I was doing my research for the Sopwell Project I visited Sopwell Mill Farm off Cottonmill Lane where the tenants showed me some of their milk bottle finds on the property. I was fascinated to learn that the bottles came from the three different dairy farms in Sopwell: Sopwell Mill Farm, Sopwell Home Farm and St Julian’s Farm. The farmer at Sopwell Mill Farm was Frederick Coaker who residents recall delivering the milk on his horse and cart. Apparently he wasn’t a very nice man either. He was described as a bit crotchety. The Muirs ran St Julian's Farm – the farmer was Archibald Muir and they also delivered their own milk. So all three farmers delivered their own milk. They must have shared each other’s bottles too.

Has anybody else found any of these bottles and does anyone know anything about E. Wigg from Watford? Google didn’t. Please share if you do by writing a comment. 


1 comment:

  1. Didn't find anything about E. Wigg either, but came across an interesting page: https://www.1900s.org.uk/1940s50s-milk-bottles.htm