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A Brush With Milk

A Brush With Milk

In 1985, Wincanton Transport kindly provided sponsorship for the National Motor Museum’s commercial vehicle section.

One of the themes in this display was “Deliveries to your door”. I was reminded of this when looking at the incredibly detailed displays in the shops at Beamish. We did not aspire to that standard. Our street scene has as it’s backdrop, a pub, a bakers, a butchers and a private house. A 1914 Albion lorry stood outside the pub delivering crates of beer, a Model-T Ford bakers van by the bakers shop, an “Arkright” type delivery bicycle outside the butchers and outside the house a Brush milk float.

Wincanton had kindly provided the 1947 Brush Pony milk float which had been restored by Unigate Dairies. When it was delivered it had no milk bottles! Where do you go to find old fashioned milk bottles in quantity with the period push in cardboard tops, also the metal crates they came in? I had no idea where to look, but somehow found a collector of milk bottles who had some surplus. We bought the lot from him including the smaller sized bottles which were provided to schools to be drunk by individual children. He also had the cardboard tops as well which, due to the risk of theft, we had duplicated. The milk crates came out of a pond, but I cannot remember how I heard about them.

They took an awful lot of cleaning, preparation and painting before they looked acceptable! Express Dairies are credited as being the first to experiment with small electrically driven milk delivery vehicles. This was in 1932. Brush of Loughborough were well known makers of electrical equipment and started making electric delivery vehicles in 1946. The Museum’s example is one of the oldest surviving.

We could not afford to buy-in museum quality reproductions of loaves of bread for the bakers. Our designers came up with the idea of taking real loaves and covering them with fibreglass, they looked good and lasted a long time.

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