Personal Memories of Richmond Hill Dairies

Pemberton, Wigan


General and other Cleaning Activities


Bottle Washing
Set against the back wall of the main building directly in front of the double doors was the bottlewashing machine. Operated by two persons, the first feeding bottles collected from rounds into the machine on the right hand side, inverting them into cups rotating anti-clockwise towards the spray heads dispensing hot water and sterilising agents. The second standing on the left taking clean bottles off and placing them upside down into clean crates to drain.

Crate Washing
To the left of the bottle washer was a long narrow machine for cleaning milk crates using jets of hot water and sterilising agents. Dirty crates were pushed in at one end, one after another clean crates emerging at the other.

Cleaning Milk Churns
When the contents of milk churns had been emptied into the pasteurisers the empty churns would be cleaned for delivery to farms the following day. This was done outside in the yard just to the left of the small door beneath the stairs to the office where a steam pipe and a steam block were installed for the purpose. The steam pipe also had a flexible hose connection for heating water in the churns to assist removal of residues. A quantity of clean cold water was put in the churn to be washed which was then heated with the steam pipe on the flexible hose. The residues were then removed from the inside using a stiff bristled hand brush and the contents poured down the drain on completion. The churns were then rinsed by rotating them in a zinc bath of clean water just inside the dairy door and then sterilised by inverting them on the steam block and opening the valve to release the steam. This process left the churns and their lids both sterile and dry ready for storage and use the following day.

General Cleaning
At the end of a days operations the pasteurisers, cooler and bottling machine were cleaned and sterilised with hot water and sterilising agents, milk residues being removed with stiff bristled hand brushes in a similar manner to cleaning the churns. The dairy floor had suitable drainage for the water to escape but conditions were always damp, however the floor would always have dried out by the start of the following days operations.

Moving Crates within the Dairy
Crates of milk or empty bottles were moved about the dairy in stacks from single crates to six high using a couple of two wheeled trucks with forks which hooked through the lower crate. An early type of fork lift truck, tilting to raise crates off the floor onto the wheels rather than lifting, no hydraulics, purely mechanical. Movement of crates around the dairy between vehicles, machines, fridges and back again was made easy by these simple tools.

Palfreyman 2010