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Electric Milk Floats

Astonian

gone but not forgotten
That story reminds me of when i was growing up in cromwell terrace lichfield rd aston
when every think was delivered by horse and cart the baker the milk man the raqg and bone
and comwell terrace was a long big terrace up a hill
but every time these trades man called in the fortis and fifties the women used to race each oher down the terrace to the kerb and try and get the horse muck bebore any body else
the three main contestants with there bucket and shovel was the goughs ; the marshall whom kept chickens as well in the garden next to our garden fence
and every saturday evening around seven oclock old man mashall would come out with his pen knife and select a bird from the pen he would catch it in front of us and ring its neck and with drawn is pen knife from hs pocket in his waist coat and slit the hens throat
and take him in for there sundays lunch he grew mint andvegies ; so he always tryed to beat the contender for the horse muck fo his garden ten there was the brants
always trying to beat old goughs with her bucket and shovels its was a laugh
old goughty always made big cakes fruity ones and always gave our family one
every morning as we was a big family of kids in the terrace
those were days before automation lads and i used to enjoy charging around handsworth delivering the milk for midlads dairies it was a great area and great people
from one end of handsworth to the other but sadly now its become a no go area after dark
with the younger generation but those floatscould really go some speed
i always finished at the barrel and the old red lion pub on saturday after noons
around five oclock it was a big round
good old days i say ; best wishes astonian
 

Radiorails

master brummie
At the tender age of sixteen, when I came to live in Devon, I had work for a few weeks as helper on a local milk round. Generally workers in service trades, at that time, were not allowed to take holidays during the summer tourist season. I was surprised to find the small dairy had four electric floats. One advantage was that in the early morning they were much quieter than other vehicles and were able to climb the steep hills here which horses found more difficult.
I well remember the Midland Counties Dairy cars and the hand guided ones shown in the recent posted photograph. One principal difference for milk delivery men between here and the Midlands would be the steep narrow roads of many Devon towns not to mention the number of steps one would have to climb. One place I vividly remember was overlooking the harbour: seventy eight steps to deliver one half-pint of milk. Another delivery up a long flight of steps was to the home of the young woman who, some eight years later after service with the Royal Air Force, would become my wife.
 

Lloyd

master brummie
I asked the Wythall Museum "Expert" on electric milk floats about this picture, and he replied thus:

"GOP 832 (fleet no. P8) is an August 1946 Graiseley 7/8cwt. One of about 12-15 of the type purchased by BCS.
Its chassis (no. 1058) failed on/around 30/9/50. A new chassis (no. 3468) was fitted under the same body.
It was withdrawn and scrapped December 1952.
Can we get a copy of the photo? Rare view - in fact only decent one of a BCS Graiseley I have seen.
Thanks."
 

horsencart

master brummie
That reminds me I must try again to get a decent print from the film wot I shot (sorry) of the Hawleys Electric Bread Van towing the ex Midland Red D7 chassis



I asked the Wythall Museum "Expert" on electric milk floats about this picture, and he replied thus:

"GOP 832 (fleet no. P8) is an August 1946 Graiseley 7/8cwt. One of about 12-15 of the type purchased by BCS.
Its chassis (no. 1058) failed on/around 30/9/50. A new chassis (no. 3468) was fitted under the same body.
It was withdrawn and scrapped December 1952.
Can we get a copy of the photo? Rare view - in fact only decent one of a BCS Graiseley I have seen.
Thanks."
 

Simon4130

master brummie
It had a very short working life really, many electrics lasted for decades. I like the crates of empties stored on the roof, can just image the result of going up or down a steep incline!!!
 

oldMohawk

master brummie
Thanks to the Wythall Museum for the very interesting details, I'm impressed. They can certainly have a copy of the photo which was only 3" x 2" and I had reduced the file size for upload. I have got a file of size 320kb. I have returned the photo to my brother-in-law but could rescan it next week in higher resolution.

My brother-in-law's mother took the photo to go in a magazine she regularly made for something called 'Hands Across The Sea'. We know little about this, other than according to Google there is a song of that name.
Her magazine was a single home-made copy containing local information and photos. She sent the magazine to a woman in Whitley Bay who passed them on to towns in other countries (possibly Canada) and in return received similar home-made magazines. An early 1940's version of an internet forum !

With regard to the milk round, the float was re-stocked half way. A Co Op truck dumped a load of full milk crates at the corner of Birdbrook Rd and Dyas Rd and the milkman unloaded his empty crates to take on the full ones - just think - 'full milk bottles, metal milk crates' unattended.
The float returned to the Depot via Birdbrook Rd, Harleston Rd and Goodway Rd which was a gentle climb.
oldmohawk
 

Lloyd

master brummie
It had a very short working life really, many electrics lasted for decades. I like the crates of empties stored on the roof, can just image the result of going up or down a steep incline!!!
The Graisleys were notorious for breaking chassis frames, which were only steel tubes and doubless rusted from the condensation inside, not helped by the dairy's insistence of overloading them to body capacity rather than maker's working load specifications!
 

Lloyd

master brummie
Thanks to the Wythall Museum for the very interesting details, I'm impressed. They can certainly have a copy of the photo which was only 3" x 2" and I had reduced the file size for upload. I have got a file of size 320kb. I have returned the photo to my brother-in-law but could rescan it next week in higher resolution.
Thanks oldMohawk, I've sent you an IM.
 

philbee

birmingham born and bred
hi all
i used to work at birmingham coop transport in windsor street in the 70s a lot of the mechanics were old hands in the coop and had served their time on milk floats a lot of the chassis were quite an age but all they needed were batteries changed and a repaint to the latest colours some of the parts required were remanufactured as they were not available "off the shelf" due to their age they had depots at st james place,garrets green ,handsworth, the bakery at stechford,ten acres and stirchley coop (TASCO) plus others that i cannot remember.
it would be interesting as to what happened to all the floats when they started closing the depots there were quite a lot of them scattered around birmingham all scrapped no doubt!
phil
 

Lloyd

master brummie
Milk floats have a long and arduous life, often being rebuilt, modernised or rebodied two or three times during it, so the chassis are quite worn out when they finally go. Most of the former bread and laundry delivery electric vans were converted to milk floats when those services ended, adding economic 'new' vehicles to the fleet replacing earlier floats.
They were built and maintained to last, unlike today's vehicles on Transit-sized diesel chassis which are designed for a short low-maintenance life, which is cost-effective as they are mass-produced so considerably cheaper than battery electrics.
 

oldMohawk

master brummie
At the tender age of sixteen, when I came to live in Devon, I had work for a few weeks as helper on a local milk round.
Your post about helping on a milk round in Devon brought up old memories I haven't thought about since the 50's.
A group of us from our street went on a two week camping holiday in 1954 (mentioned with pics elsewhere on the forum) and we were smitten by the blonde daughter of the local dairy owner. She used to drive a milk float and deliver milk around Combe Martin. We tried to 'chat her up' even going into the dairy shop for bottles of milk, and clotted cream we didn't really need, but although friendly she was not at all impressed by young 'city slickers' from Brum..
oldmohawk...
 

stars

master brummie
Hi
I came across this photo of a milk float in Hockley

Milk_Float.jpg





Regards Stars
 

flashbang

proper brummie kid
l don't know how true this is so please don't take it as a fact.
Many years ago l was asked by an engineer if l knew why a milk float was called a float....
l didn't so he told me..

Futuristic
Light
Open
Automatic
Transport

The same man also sent me for a bucket of steam,
A left handed screwdriver
A long stand
A bubble for a spirit level....
 
B

BernardR

Guest
An interesting suggestion - I thought it might pre-date electric floats to the sled type things often used to transport goods over cobbled streets but he may well have been telling the truth.
 

Radiorails

master brummie
we were smitten by the blonde daughter of the local dairy owner. She used to drive a milk float and deliver milk around Combe Martin. We tried to 'chat her up' even going into the dairy shop for bottles of milk, and clotted cream we didn't really need, but although friendly she was not at all impressed by young 'city slickers' from Brum..
oldmohawk...

I bet she was true Devon dumplin'. What is more I guess her father or mother - or both - had warned her about 'they furriners from up country' with their fanciful ways. Great memories OM, that often only require a small word, comment or so to rekindle them.
 
S

Stitcher

Guest
img054.jpg


I know nothing about this picture other than what you can see. Birmingham Co-op laundry
 
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paul stacey

master brummie
all recent photo's of milk floats show them with a two or three crates, who remembers when they were loaded from floor to roof and the milky had to start at 4am in the morning to finish by 12pm.
 

oldMohawk

master brummie
all recent photo's of milk floats show them with a two or three crates.

On this Milk Float pic I posted earlier, the Milkman seems to have a good load on, the crates on top look precarious, and it could be interesting if he stopped suddenly.
oldmohawk
FamilyPhotoMilkFloat.jpg
 
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S

Stitcher

Guest
paul, you are so correct, when the horses were replaced with electric floats at Hall Green milk depot the floats had to be loaded higher because they were smaller.
 
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