24th February 1920. The Disappearing Milkman.

Today in 1920 a group of gentlemen assembled at 13, King’s Bench Walk in the Temple, London, for what was to be the first meeting of the National Milk Publicity Council.



The delivery of milk has changed over the years, from the pouring into the customers’ own containers, to bottles, and the announcement in 2014, that Dairy Crest’s last glass, milk bottle plant was to close, no doubt set in train a wave of nostalgia for a lost way of life.

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Picture the scene say in the 1970s, at 7.30 am, when usually a couple of foil-topped glass milk bottles, colour-coded, were at the front door, some having been pecked by the blue-tits.


Then 94% of deliveries were in glass bottles according to Dairy Crest. By 2012 it was 4%. People’s early mornings then, was disturbed by clinking bottles and the whirr of the electric milk floats.

The inevitable decline had set in by the introduction fridges in the 1950s, along with the 1990s deregulation of the milk industry. Then supermarkets started to sell cheap milk in plastic containers.


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One of the more memorable, of the many campaigns to advertise milk, was the terse 1958 slogan, ‘Drinka Pinta Milka Day’, the posters of which, on buses and hoardings, became a part of many a street scene.

The power of this, as with so much advertizing, was the clever use of poetic meter termed Trochea which has 2 syllables-strong and weak, or stressed and unstressed.

The golden age of poster hoardings, as represented by such adverts has passed, leaving our streets the worse for that.

Ref: bbc.co.uk/news/ Tom Heyden re Pics. of three bottles/milkman/bird.

Ref: milk.co/dairy council.

Ref: google images.

Ref: wisegeek.org/what-are-metrical-feet?

Ref: litherlandcollectables.com.

Ref: Dairy Council History /milk.co.uk.

Ref: Hobsbaum, Philip, Meter and Rhythm and Verse Form, Routledge 1996 p.23.


Each metrical foot has a name: Trochea has 2 syllables of strong and weak as in the word ‘Peacock’. An iamb has 2 syllable of weak and strong as in the word ‘Reprieve’. They are most likely to be found in English poetry and form the main body of ‘feet’ in poems.

Another way to describe a metrical foot is to say each is made up of a particular part of weak and strong stresses.

Much of Shakespeare’s work is written in Iambic Feet.



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About colindunkerley

My name is Colin Dunkerley who having spent two years in the Royal Army Pay Corps ploughed many a barren industrial furrow until drawn to the 'chalk-face' as a teacher, now retired. I have spent the last 15 years researching all aspects of life in Britain since Roman times.

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