Milkmen raise a glass to 80 years

PUBLISHED: 06:16 16 March 2006 | UPDATED: 14:36 12 May 2010

Norman and Reg Noades

Norman and Reg Noades

TWO generations of milkmen from Therfield are celebrating their 80th year of serving the community. Norman Noades, 80, and his son Reg, 47, of The Hoops, are the third and fourth generation of the Noades family, who have worked hard over the years to keep

TWO generations of milkmen from Therfield are celebrating their 80th year of serving the community. Norman Noades, 80, and his son Reg, 47, of The Hoops, are the third and fourth generation of the Noades family, who have worked hard over the years to keep The Hoops milk business running. Norman's father Harry, first advertised the business in The Crow on April 16, 1926. The advertisement read: "Five to six gallons morning's milk daily for sale. H Noades, Therfield." For 25 years, the family delivered the milk on a bike with a side car and put milk in metal cans on springs. They had 12 cattle on their farm and sold the milk for threepence a pint or threepence and ha'penny if delivered. But, in 1936 the Milk Marking Board regulated farms. Norman said: "We had to keep account of how many cows were being milked and how many calves we had, which was a lot of work for a 14-year-old to do." However, the job did not get on top of Norman and when his father died in 1941, he and his brother Cyril helped their mother Lucy take on the business. After all Norman, his brother Cyril and their five other siblings grew up working for the family business. "Cyril was always late for school because he was too busy delivering milk," Norman said. When Norman left school at 14-years-old he delivered the milk on a bike. "It just came naturally," he said. However, during the Second World War times became hard. "War time was the worst time we experienced because the milk was rationed," Norman said. Each customer had two-and-a-half-pints a week and children under five and expectant mothers had one pint a day. Their everyday lives did, however, become easier in 1952 when the Noades family had to gradually let go of their cows and buy in milk from Allan Anbridge in Ware. "It made life a lot easier for us because at the same time dairy regulations came into effect, which meant milk from cows could not be sold on." When Cyril died in 1997 at the age of 77, Reg stepped in and helped his father run the business. But, two years ago Norman had to stop working and now Reg delivers the milk by himself every other day to Therfield, Kelshall and Reed. And Dairycrest in Fenstanton delivers their milk at 2.50am every morning. Arthur Foulser, a family friend from Therfield said: "It's lovely to still have milk delivered in a milk bottle. "They act like village policemen and check on people - there's a nice community caring situation going on." Norman said he enjoyed delivering milk to the community because he knew everyone. "When I was at school we never went outside the village for anything. We had a butcher, a baker, two groceries, a hardware store as well as two blacksmiths and farriers. "But, people would and could not do that nowadays. They would rather go out of the village to large supermarkets, and because of this, milkmen will disappear in the future. "There is no longer a need for them like there used to be. Our deliveries, for example, have gone down and down.

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