Some months back, I was involved in putting
together the Whitstable Old Boys FC section of the web site in
conjunction with Peter Wade. During the course of the discussions,
Peter showed me this wonderful old shot of one his ancestors.....
Bill was a milkman working for the local Bartlett
and Bisson dairy.... which explains the churn on the cart in the
background and the large container in his left hand. In those
days, milk didn't come in disposable plastic containers or even
reusable glass bottles. The milkman arrived with a container and
tipped it into your very own china jug. It may not have met modern
standards of hygiene... but it would certainly have been smiled
upon by those concerned about the ozone layer and melting ice
All this might sound bizarre to our younger
readers.... BUT I haven't reached the really good bit yet.....
because our Bill didn't just carry a milk churn. He came fully
armed with a shotgun!
As Peter explained to me, Bill's round included
country locations on the edge of town and he supplemented his
income by hunting and selling a rabbit or two! His expertise with
a gun may have come partly from the First World War. He served in
a Dragoon regiment before being invalided out of the forces
following a shrapnel injury to his shoulder. After working for
Bartlett & Bisson, he went on to ride shotgun for Petts at
their West End Dairy in Nelson Road!
Life on the rounds certainly didn't harm his
health. A report in a local newspaper celebrated his 65 years of
marriage to Nellie Wade. At that time, Bill was 85 and Nellie
86.... and they lived in Essex Street.
During his time at Bartletts and Bisson he earned
one guinea per week.... that's £1 and one shilling in old
money.... or £1 and 5p in the new stuff. He gave a pound to
Nellie and kept a shilling for himself. Well, the cartridges had
to be paid for somehow.
He was never mugged on his round.