THE milkman – a man who delivers bottles or cartons of milk directly to the door – is a phenomenon dying out in modern Britain. Milkmen have served communities for more than 100 years, delivering morning milk by cart or, more recently, electric float. Traditionally, the milkman would also supply other dairy products, such as cream, cheese, yoghurt, butter and eggs, and sometimes soft drinks, too. Originally, milk needed to be delivered to houses daily, since poor refrigeration meant it would quickly go off. The rise in the use of home refrigerators was the first issue to hit milkmen, and then the coming of supermarkets cut the need for milk to be delivered daily.
As a lad, I used to deliver milk, carrying the bottles up stairs and collecting the tokens. In winter, the milk would freeze and, in summer, the birds would peck holes in the milk bottle tops. And the cream in the milk would rise to the top of the bottle, a minor bonus for whoever got to pour it on their corn flakes. All gone, nowadays.