Personal Memories of Richmond Hill Dairies

Pemberton, Wigan


Moving on with satisfaction and good memories

picI travelled up to the dairy from Worsley Hall mostly on my Hercules push bike, but I like my contemporaries was able to buy and run motor bikes and cars from the age of sixteen, firstly with a 250cc BSA C10L then a 350cc Norton Model 50. I progressed to four wheels when girlfriends came on the scene, with an Austin A30 and an A35 van in quick succession, although my first real car was a Volkswagen Beetle purchased second hand from Zetland Garage in Southport. It turned out to have been previously owned by Derek Rimmer one of our long standing customers who lived in the large detached house just inside Springpool in Winstanley. He supplied me with some seat covers he had removed before selling it, I saw him regularly when I attended Harris College in Preston, he was a lecturer there at the time. It has been very difficult to put dates to particular events referred to in the text, although my earliest memories go back to primary school days, it was probably 1950 or 1952 when I started to "help" Ronnie Beddard on the Worsley Hall part of his round. Some customers would give me chocolate bars when I called for the money on Saturday mornings, later these became tips which I used to convert into chocolate bars at Roly Makinson's confectioners shop on Ormskirk Road. At Christmas we seemed to have a system of pooling the tips. As far as I remember apart from the odd bottle breakage I caused little damage during my time at Richmond Hill although I did have one embarrassing accident. Due to weak door stays the Austin A55 pickups were prone to sustain damage to front wings if the doors were caught by a gust of wind. The grey pickup had just been returned from Jimmy Ind's garage at Abbey Lakes after having such damage to the offside wing repaired and was looking pristine again. On this particular day it had been parked outside opposite the gates with its load of empty bottles because of congestion in the yard, and when the yard was clear I decided to bring the vehicle in for unloading. I had just passed my test and had up to that time only driven the Bedford van with the sliding doors and instinctively didn't think to close the driver's door once inside. Looking over my left shoulder to guide the vehicle into the yard I was blissfully unaware of the danger until the swinging door caught the gate post and was bent back into the newly repaired front wing. I must have looked suitably contrite when I went to explain and apologise for there were no repercussions and fortunately I didn't have to pay for the damage, what a relief! With only schoolboys pocket money it would have taken ages to pay off the debt. It is with a certain amount of affection and nostalgia that I look back on those happy times more than forty years ago and realise what a great influence the people there had on me and what respect I had for them. My experiences at Richmond Hill were to say the least character building and did a lot to develop a rather shy youngster into a more mature confident individual with an inquisitive nature and a useful work ethic. Life took an unexpected twist in 1960 when I failed my GCE A level exams and took a full time job with another employer whilst continuing weekend work at the dairy. I met my wife in 1963 at the age of twenty one, we married in 1967 and moved to Garswood. At this point my knowledge ends, after playing such a big part in my life for so long, sometimes to the exclusion of social activities (out of choice I might add) I finally left Richmond Hill Dairies for the last time, with good feelings and a wealth of very happy memories. The dairy had changed so much over the years of course, a certain amount of expansion having taken place and vehicle deliveries gradually replacing the horse drawn, the company was also experimenting with electric vehicles. I received a very fine canteen of cutlery as a wedding present which was put to immediate use and remains in daily use today, a constant reminder of those halcyon days.

Palfreyman 2010