THE LAST MILK FLOAT IN WEST HALLAM and Surrounding Areas.
By Jeff Wynch and Elaine Sarson November 2017
The gentle whine of an electric motor and the clink of bottles are not heard very much these days. Not so long ago they formed the soundtrack to everyone’s early mornings as the often unseen milkman made sure that the nation’s cereal bowls never ran dry. The dairyman is not extinct, but he is an endangered species, getting around mostly in a noisy diesel truck instead of an almost silent electric vehicle, serving the dwindling number of customers who out of habit, loyalty or necessity still pick up their milk from the doorstep rather than the supermarket.
Until 3rd November this year the last electric milk float in the area, and as far as I know, for miles around, quietly patrolled West Hallam, Mapperley, Stanley and Stanley Common, delivering 22 gallons a day, four days a week. And yes, milkmen do still talk in gallons. This is a far cry from the late 80’s and early 90’s when Andrew Wint, the owner of the float, was the “Personality Profile” of the month in the July 1993 issue of the West Hallam & Mapperley magazine. Then he employed two people full time and one part time with three floats delivering over 200 gallons a day plus juice, potatoes, eggs and other produce, six days a week. In Ilkeston no fewer than 21 floats glided around the streets: thirteen operated by the Co-op, six by Northern Dairies and two by the Shaw brothers. When Andrew started his business in 1980 there were three independent dairymen covering West Hallam, Mapperley, Stanley and Stanley Common.
Andrew’s milk float and Dave, his roundsman for the last 10 years, both retired on 3rd November, but even in the 1990’s Andrew could see the writing on the wall for home milk deliveries. He had always raised beef cattle and kept free range hens, but now it was time to diversify even further, a step made possible by the purchase of Oakfield Farm on Belper Road. As the milk side slid into a natural decline in the face of competition from the supermarkets and new shopping habits Andrew added turkeys and sheep to his livestock. His wife Karen set up an equestrian business and now has a riding school and tack shop, and runs pony club and other events at the farm. Eventually Andrew opened a farm shop selling his own meat products and eggs alongside fresh fruit and vegetables, plus beer from the Nutbrook Brewery, an independent local brewery which just happens to be based at Oakfield Farm! It is thanks to this diversification that the milk round, which started in 1975, lasted so long.
Andrew’s previous milk float cost him £650 and lasted 13 years. This second and final one started life as a street cleaning vehicle in Brighton and Hove and spent some time as a factory runabout in Birmingham before being used to deliver beer in Nottingham. When its batteries were stolen the owners listed it on Ebay where Andrew spotted it and bought it for £460. Unlike the other local dairymen Andrew never made use of the charging facilities at the Co-op depot on Derby Road, Ilkeston. In the winter of 1992 when the snow and ice brought down the local power lines he towed his vehicles to Heanor so that he could charge the batteries. Not surprisingly Andrew can claim never to have missed a day’s deliveries in his life.
Incidentally the old Co-op charging bays and refrigerated store, although no longer in use, can still be seen in the yard behind what is now the Bristol Street Motors Nissan Dealership. I understand that they are not likely to be there much longer. When they are demolished it will be the end of an era.
But it is the start of a new era for Andrew, Karen and family. Building is underway for a new farm shop, coffee shop and restaurant. They hope to have the new farm shop open before Christmas and the coffee shop and restaurant early in the New Year. Until then you can still enjoy the locally produced meat, fresh fruit and veg in the current farm shop, as well as scrumptious home made cider and Nutbrook Brewery’s selection of locally brewed beers.
Taken from Magazine July 1993
Our "personality" this month is a man who has visited most of the homes in this area on a daily basis—and yet he is rarely seen. He is, of course, Andrew Wint, the milkman. As always, we invited him to tell us something of his early life and family, and to choose a favourite holiday.
Born in Stanley Common a little over 30 years ago, Andrew attended Crown Hills Primary School— now sadly closed. He then went to Ilkeston Grammar School where he studied four 'O' and 'A' levels.
His career began at the age of 14, when he helped the local dairyman, Mr Boam, by delivering milk before going on to school. Leaving Ilkeston Grammar School at 18, Andrew went to work for Mr Boam full time as a milk roundsman and farmworker. At 19, he was given the opportunity to buy the milk round, which he has run ever since.
In 1983, Andrew was married to Karen, who helped with the milkround until the birth of their first daughter, Angela, in 1985. Karen still helps with the clerical side of the business, as well as coping with two more daughters, Alison, born in 1987, and young Amanda—not quite 2 years old.
The day begins at 3am with tea and toast, and then Andrew is away on the milkround. This has now expanded into three rounds covering West Hallam, Stanley Common, Stanley and Mapperley, and so he employs two full-time and one part-time assistant. By Sam the round is finished, and he goes home for breakfast number two!
After a few hours sleep, Andrew starts on his second job—as a farmer. He has a few acres of land and raises beef cattle. Until recently, he also had a goose and gander—Rosie and Jim, and raised goslings. Sadly, Rosie was taken by the fox leaving only a pile of feathers!
The milk is delivered daily by Dale Dairies to Andrew's farm, and stored in a large refrigerator ready for delivery.
Andrew and Karen rarely manage a holiday—though they did visit Euro Disney last year—their first week-end away for 12 years! They can usually only manage 4 or 5 days away at a time. A favourite holiday would be to visit Russia, to see and experience a different culture and lifestyle, though Karen is keen on a trip down the Nile to explore the temples and pyramids of ancient Egypt.
There is little time to enjoy books and music, though Andrew would take a mystery novel or two with him. As far as a luxury item is concerned, the only one they could think of would be a nanny to cope with the girls so that they could go off sightseeing, but I am not sure that a "human" luxury item is permitted.
Andrew and Karen live in a very pleasant corner of Stanley Common—well off the beaten track in a valley. The house is called—not surprisingly—Valley Cottage. As I left the Wint's home at about 4.30 in the afternoon, Andrew was about to load up the potatoes for the next morning's delivery.
His is obviously a very busy lifestyle, but I get the impression that he enjoys every minute of it.