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January 2014: The Fastest Milk Float in the East

Milk float at Clifford's Dairy open day, c1980

This is a bit of a reminiscence session for those of us in middle age. Who remembers a Clifford’s Dairies milkfloat coming down the road?

This picture of kids and float was taken at an open day at Clifford’s HQ in Downshire Way, Bracknell. It’s undated but using our childhood antennae we’ve guessed that it must be either 1980 or 1981. The float itself is tiny and there has to be a risk that the extra yoghurt, potatoes and spring water in the back caused it to do a wheelie on its rounds.

The firm of Clifford’s began life in Middlesex in 1874, when patriarch William began selling milk from his two cattle door-to-door in Hounslow. This was in the days when milk was carried in pails on a yoke across the seller’s shoulders.

By 1907 William had a herd of seventy cows, a farm and a number of horse-drawn milk carts. The business expanded still further between the wars and began to use dairy herds in Berkshire. Eventually the company’s offices were moved to Bracknell in 1947, and there they stayed until Unigate bought the firm in 1993 and moved operations elsewhere.

Clifford’s part in Berkshire’s history was thus a small one, but a central point of childhood for a couple of generations.

Milk float at Clifford's Dairy open day, c1980


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30 response(s) so far…

Gary Holton
Posted on the : 15 Sep 2014

i wish the place was still there. It was the first job i had when i left school in 1973, and my father worked there before me. i remember gordon and his brother. and the personel manager john blaney, who did a butter sculpture for a dairy based cook book that i still have and use as often as i can.!!!

Russell Fishlock
Posted on the : 29 Nov 2014

My dad Fred Fishlock and I worked as hgv drivers up until it closed in 1993 My brother and uncle worked at the Wokingham Depot, I have many memories as a kid spending most Saturdays out in the lorrys with my dad in the BMC, Commers,Dodge Artics and then the dreaded ERFs and finally Volvos. It was a good place to work paid well but time moves on but can still keep those memories,

Mairi campbell
Posted on the : 20 Feb 2015

We were working at pre school nursery in twyford and I found 2 school size bottles of milk. Both with Clifford dairies engraved on them. What era do you think they are from?

Posted on the : 23 Feb 2015

Hello Mairi, one clue will be the date that the school supplied milk in those milk bottles. We may have records relating to the school here. If you would like us to look into it, please send us an email providing details of the school and the milk bottles using the Contact Us form. Perhaps the easiest way to find out would be to contact the dairy itself. Clifford's was taken over by Unigate in 1993 which in turn got taken over by Dairy Crest in 2000. I suggest that you contact them to see if they have a history or archive department who may be able to help identify the age of your bottles.

Vic Lyndon
Posted on the : 24 Mar 2015

Tell Russel Fishlock that as the Distribution Manager, I was the guy that introduced the ERF s that his dad Fred drove. I Used nearly 3 years vehicle replacement budget to do so. We needed more robust vehicles to work them 20 hours a day on 2 shifts. The BMC s wouldn’t stand up to that work load. How is Fred? He was a really nice guy. I’m 72 now and have lived in Hong Kong for over 19 years. It’s warmer than Bracknell. Give him my regards Vic

Mark Tucker
Posted on the : 3 Apr 2015

I was the driver on the open day. I was to drive the mini float around a given route with children onboard. My mum then used to work in the canteen. They were good old fun days,

Russell Fishlock
Posted on the : 22 May 2015

Hi Vic sorry to say my dad Fred passed away in Dec 1997 from a heart attack, he always talked about retiring but never really had many years after the dairy closed in 1993,Still I think he enjoyed his days at Clifford's driving those old trucks and just for the note I used to drive those ERF's and they were like going back to the 70's dreadful !!

Janet Stratton (nee Housego)
Posted on the : 4 Jul 2015

I lived in Binfield Rd from when I was born in 1945 until 1969 wnen I married. One fond memory of Clifford's was not only the lovely creamy milk ( the blue tits loved to peck the tops to get at it) but that in the 1950s we used to use the rolls of tin foil left over from making the bottle caps for Christmas decorations both in various community halls and home.

Tim Pigott
Posted on the : 7 Mar 2016

Does anyone remember a Mr Frank Steel, who worked at Ciffords Dairies from 1945-75? Any information would be appreciated. Thanks. Tim Pigott

nick churchill
Posted on the : 20 Mar 2016

does anyone remember geoff churchill he started for cliffords before ww2 and was at hounslow before it was sold to jobs dairy

Terry cox
Posted on the : 2 Aug 2016

I remember frank steel. I worked as milk round supervisor at Bracknell in 1968 and we'll remember frank who worked in the servery he was brilliant and nothing would get pass frank.I also remember Geoff Churchill at station road Hounslow when I worked there as a rounds an from 1960 to 1968

John jefferson
Posted on the : 14 Oct 2016

I worked for Clifford's for 28 years until 1987. The mini float was never on the road for deliveries, but was converted from a pedestrian controlled vehicle for use at community events. I knew Frank steel from 1959 at Sunningdale depot. I also knew Geoff Churchill when Hounslow branch was part of my area prior to 1974 when the Middlesex branches were sold to Job's dairy. Also knew Fred Fishlock

Dave Flanagan
Posted on the : 10 Nov 2016

My mum Lily Fountain (as she was then) left school in 1942, aged 14, and worked as a book-keeper for many years at the Hounslow depot in Cross Lances Road/ Station Road. She often collected the milkmen's books and took them to the office at the rear of the shop. The wages office was upstairs. She clearly recalls enjoying great banter with the (18?) milkmen. Names remembered are Bill Hamilton and Joe. She also remembers William Clifford, his sons Stanley and Gordon, Dorothy Lawrence (best friend), Meta Griffiths (manageress) and Mrs Clements (shop) and of course the horses in the yard.

David Churchill
Posted on the : 27 Nov 2016

Here we go these are the people I remember who worked at the either Hounslow with my Dad John stay Bill stay Dick Rance (manager) John smith John Jefferson (area manager) Mr Zimmerman (director) Steve in the stores Kevin hedges Ron groves Rowna ( bookeeper)) Joan (book keeper) Alan Holford (manager) Phil worms Bill Hancock Albert finch Charlie Martin Bill Bentley Elsie (Dawson?) in the shop Peter pocock (might have been at cranford) Until he retired in 87/88

Nick churchill
Posted on the : 10 Dec 2016

Anybody know if there is a history archive for Clifford's dairy?

Posted on the : 13 Dec 2016

Hello Nick Clifford The records of Clifford's Dairies, 1901 to 1992 are held here at the BRO (catalogue reference D/EX 2311). You can view the details of the catalogue via our online catalogue. If you go to the main home page of our website, there is a link on the left called Search the Catalogue from which you can access the online catalogue. If you would like visit to look at the material held here free of charge or would like us to do research for you (for a fee), please see our Visiting and Using Us page for details of our fees and how to visit. Please also email us via the online Contact Us form where we can respond directly (and privately) to you. The dairy closed in c.1993 and the headquarters closed in c.1996. It was during this time that it was taken over by Unigate, who in turn was taken over by Dairy Crest (in 2000). If you were interested in post 1992 material you may like to contact Dairy Crest to see if they have any other material of interest to you. Hope this is of help to you. Regards, BRO.

Posted on the : 13 Dec 2016

Apologies Nick Churchill for calling you Nick Clifford! Had Clifford's dairy on the brain there and ended up typing it as your name. Oops. Sorry, BRO.

nick churchill
Posted on the : 14 Dec 2016

thanks for the info BRO

Bridget Griffiths
Posted on the : 21 Jan 2017

My Dad worked for Clifford's Dairies from the mid sixties to the late eighties. He was based at the Marlow branch and sometimes covered Maidenhead and Henley . I had such fun times helping him out on the milk round and restocking the food cabinet when we got back to the depot . Dad wore the classic white coat white peaked cap and brown leather cross body money bag . He knew lots of celebrities on his milk rounds and I loved seeing their mansions as we chugged up the drive in the little electric milk float ! No rush in those days .

Bridget Griffiths
Posted on the : 21 Jan 2017

Forgot to say my Dad was Peter Metherell if anyone remembers working with him it would be nice to hear from you.

Lee money
Posted on the : 23 Jan 2017

My father worked at the Wokingham depot from 1970 After leaving jobs in Slough I am restoring an old Clifford's float, and looking for any photos or information, also and roundsman books, hats bottles any thing Clifford's to go with float when finished The float I have can send picture of the type . My dads name George money

Posted on the : 27 Jan 2017

Hello Lee Money You may find something useful for your restoration project amongst the Clifford's Dairy archive which is held here. You can see a description of what we have on our online catalogue. This comment box will not permit web addresses to be added, so please go to the main home page and then click on the 'Search the catalogue' link on the left of the page. Click on the "search the Berkshire Record Office catalogue" and search for Clifford's Dairy or enter the catalogue reference D/EX2311. If you then click on the reference number it will bring up the catalogue details for you and you can look into it in more detail. A quick look at it suggests that there are some photos in the collection, but possibly not of any floats. If you would like to visit to look at anything please see our 'Visiting and Using Us' page for details on how to visit. You can then email or call us to make a booking using the online 'Contact Us' form or telephone number listed on the left of our website. Hope this helps. Regards, BRO.

Lisa brown
Posted on the : 7 Feb 2017

Hi can someone help me with some information about Cliffords dairy farm trying to find out what his daughter's name was called because I'm trying to do a family tree and I don't know what my great Nan's name.

Posted on the : 8 Feb 2017

Hello Lisa Brown The records we hold for Clifford's Dairy are of a business nature and do not contain personal or family papers of the Clifford family I'm afraid. The introduction to the catalogue of these records only refers to the male line as they were partners in the business: William Clifford - William Charles Clifford - Gordon Clifford and Stanley Clifford. You can see this information on our website under the 'Search the Catalogue' link on the left of the main home page. Just search for Clifford or the reference D/EX2311. As the Clifford family originated from Surrey, it may well be that there is reference to them amongst the parish registers (for baptisms, marriages and burials) at Surrey History Centre. You may like to try contacting them to see if they can help. Regards, BRO.

Geoffrey miles
Posted on the : 25 Feb 2017

i remember this well. Would to know if there any one around that remembers me. Would love to hear from you what a great company to work for

Bryan Cox
Posted on the : 25 Jun 2017

I worked with Geoff miles in the building dept he was my manager I was there from 1960 to 1993

Jean (Russell) Heather
Posted on the : 26 Nov 2017

My father worked at the bottling plant of Cliffords in Bracknell in the late 50's. I myself worked in the office for a short period. I remember a chap named Crowe, who I believe was the manager. I also worked in the shop they had in Wokingham for a little while. I remember my dad bringing home rolls of used foil which the bottle caps had been cut from, we used them for Christmas decorations, they were red, blue, silver and gold We twisted them and hung them up like streamers. They were very effective. Happy days in Bracknell in the late 50's!

Esther Hopkins
Posted on the : 15 May 2018

I have a bottle from this Dairy and would love to find a home for it if anyone has an interest in such.

Posted on the : 16 May 2018

Hello Esther Hopkins We are always happy to receive archives relating to Clifford's Dairies, but afraid we can't take your bottle. Clifford's was taken over by Unigate in 1993 which in turn got taken over by Dairy Crest in 2000. Suggest that you contact them to see if they have a history or archive department who may be able to help. Afraid we cannot insert web URLs in these comment boxes so please use your internet browser to search for Dairy Crest's contact details. Hope you find a home for your bottle soon. Kind regards, BRO.

Posted on the : 16 Oct 2018

I do remember Cliffords. Does anyone remember HE and DR Randall who had 4 rounds in the Maidenhead area in the 40s and until 1956?


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