Memories of Childhood – Door to Door Deliveries

Tuesday 26th January

We think we invented convenience, with the internet, 24 hour shopping and microwavable meal but back in the fifties we had our own form of convenience and it was door to door deliveries.

The first I can remember was the milkman, and this was no electric float – this was a horse and cart.  Straight from the farm, the milk unpasteurized, warm and creamy, the farmer’s wife doling milk out of a metal churn with a pint ladle while the horse patiently waited until heading for the next house.  We lived with my Nana and she never had a fridge, she kept her milk in the north-facing pantry on a marble shelf.  And we also had Farmer Clark delivering fresh fruit and vegetables three times a week, all grown in his market garden which we could just see from the top bedroom window.  I was sometimes allowed to hold a crust of bread for the horse as his soft blubbery lips scooped up the bread from my tiny hand.

Then we moved to the new council estate and though it was only a short walk into town we had lots of door to door deliveries.  The milkman, now with his new electric float; fresh bread I seem to remember too being delivered every day.  Weekly we had a hardware van selling all sorts of brooms and dusters, polishes and mops, and a grocery van too I can recall.  But my favourite was the Corona lorry; Cherryade was my favourite, and they had those complicated ceramic stoppers with the big wire clip and the bottles were returnable and you got a penny off for every empty bottle.  There was also the Co-op butcher’s van almost every day; this was practically a social service selling a shilling’s worth of mince or two sausages to old people every day.  In summer there would be lorries selling punnets of strawberries or peas.  And I am probably forgetting some others too, so all in all we were well looked after, only going into town to shop once or twice a week.

Then the Supermarkets opened and people flocked to them; cheap prices and free parking and people loaded up their cars and the door-to-deliveries dropped off one by one, even the milkman is now a rare sight, we buy our milk in 4 pint plastic bottles and the farmers get screwed.   This, by the way, is called progress.