Howard's Dairies

Pictures of a time gone by

The following pictures were rescued by Roger Worster, when one of the Howard’s Dairy sites was being demolished. We believe these photos were originally taken for publicity purposes and therefore taken in and around the local area, but are wonderful pictures capturing a time gone by.

The first  photo shows a lorry collecting  milk churns, possibly from one of  the farms in Benfleet which supplied the dairy.
Roger Worster
From farm to dairy for bottling.
Roger Worster
Head 'em up and move 'em out. These next 2 photos show the old horse and cart wagons leaving the dairy and out on the road delivering.
Roger Worster
Roger Worster
Moving into more modern times we now see the electric milk float taking over from horse power.
Roger Worster
The milkman appears to be very customer friendly in this shot.
Roger Worster
Remember those days of being the milk monitor, and drinking those bottles of warm milk in mid summer with the thick layer of full fat cream on top?
Roger Worster
No refrigerated deliveries here.
Roger Worster
Could this be the first lorry with cooling facilities?
Roger Worster
This photo shows one of the Howard's Dairy shops. Not much like today's supermarkets. Here you can sit down and pass the time of day with the staff.
Roger Worster

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  • I’ve got a bottle clearly marked if anyone would like it. I found it whilst digging the garden.

    By Sonia L (16/10/2023)
  • Hi, we have dug up and found a bottle from this farm but it isn’t for milk it’s for orange juice. Can anyone shed any light on this?

    By Lau pol (11/09/2023)
  • Having our front drive block paved and the digger has uncovered an intact Howard’s dairies bottle.
    One side it says Howard’s Dairies,
    Contents 1PT
    On the other it has the HD logo and under that Westcliff.
    Wondering how old it is.

    By Cliff (23/07/2023)
  • My mother Hilda Dawe (née Kime) left West Leigh School when she was 14 in 1927 and went to work for Howard’s Dairies on the London Road near St Clements. By the time she was 16 she was managing the shop. Looking back she realised she was on child’s wages with adult responsibility. Periodically a man would come to check stock which would be tallied against takings. If anyone had not weighed accurately or miscalculated, the shortfall was taken from her wages. She got on really well with many regular customers.
    Early on in the war she moved to the Poplar area and I think managed a Unigate Dairy. At that point Southend was deemed to be dangerously vulnerable to bombing which they thought would not get as far as London.

    By Mary Cooper (30/06/2023)
  • My father has quite a few Howards Dairies milk bottles, including one with an advert on for pork sausages, I’ve searched the internet and can’t find any at all. Can anyone throw some light on it?

    By Julie (26/01/2023)
  • I would be interested in anyone who has any milk bottles especially from any Essex Dairies 😀

    By Paul Luke (15/10/2022)
  • Howard’s small milk, Westcliff, bottle dug up in Doddinghurst. Hubby thrilled to find. His Grandad owned a dairy in Pilgrims Hatch, he has a small milk bottle with the family name on.

    By James Wiffen (30/09/2022)
  • Hi, My father Dennis Hubbard also worked there we lived at 16 St Clements Ave until 1969 and then transferred to Bishops Stortford when it changed to Unigate

    By Denise Cooper (16/08/2022)
  • Just found an old milk bottle with Howards Dairies embossed on it.
    It also says either Bunton or Brunton under the name.
    This was found in a garden tip at Holt in Norfolk,
    don’t know if it was from your Dairy.

    By Graham Mann (14/04/2022)
  • My grandfather was John (known as Jack) Hills and was the manager of Howard’s Dairies in Thorpe Bay – the family lived above the dairy and I remember it well and have lots of fond memories.

    By Sue Wellman (nee Hills) (10/04/2022)
  • We have been digging under the foundations of our house and today we found a Howards Dairies pint milk bottle totally intact in the dirt!
    The house was built in the sixties, so that fits, going to keep it as a memento as i am old enough to remember the milkman coming round myself!

    By Estelle (14/11/2021)
  • I used to work as a young boy for Ernie, The Milkman, Howard’s Dairies. His horse was called Hercules. The area was Southend. Early 60’s. Does anyone remember him? Fond memories.

    By Mark Skinner (13/11/2021)
  • I remember our local Howard’s Dairies (later Unigate) milkman Ernie “Bruce” Woodcock and his distinctive call as he came up the garden path. He always had a cup of tea waiting.
    If we werent in, he’d come in and make it himself (key was always left in the back door -in fact it stayed there for 30 years until it rusted and fell out…).
    Different times I suppose.
    Anyway, the Echo did an article on him when he retired, I assume it’s still in their archives somewhere.

    By Martin (21/10/2021)
  • Hi, does anyone remember the old hut off 231 Benfleet Road where the groom lived and grazed the horses in the woods? I’m not sure if I got it right.

    By lillian (19/08/2021)
  • Just found a old milk bottle in my garden while doing some digging. 1/3 glass so was for school children.

    By Jodie Perfect (19/04/2021)
  • We lived in Lindisfarne Ave., almost opposite the Westcliff Dairy and my mother enjoyed very efficient deliveries of milk, from the horse-drawn float. What fascinated me as a boy was how the horse knew which house took milk, and walked-on during the delivery so that the float was alongside the next customer’s gate. Always more eager to move when going back to the Dairy, even though uphill.

    By Stephen D W (14/01/2021)
  • Sara Smith,
    Do you know when the Clements began the dairy or if they bought it from someone else?

    By Sharon Hewlettt (12/01/2021)
  • I have found larking, off The Point Canvey Island, a Howard’s Dairy bottle in mint condition.

    By Nick (11/01/2021)
  • Does anyone know if the Howard’s fish and chip shop in Benfleet down near the station is owned by any descendent of the Howard’s family? Also does the lady who found the Howard’s Milk bottle still have it? I’d be interested in purchasing it from her as an artefact. Otherwise I hope you keep it in a special place. Paula.

    By Paula Jenkins (19/12/2020)
  • I don’t know if you are interested but I found a Howard’s dairy milk bottle in the undergrowth of Epping Forest Aug 2020. I was litter picking. It was filled with dirt and had obviously been there some time.

    [Certainly an interesting find but we are a strictly digital archive and do not have anywhere to store this sort of fascinating item – Editor]

    By Lmstr (18/09/2020)
  • This is going to be very sketchy. My sister worked in the offices on the main road just outside Southend , so many many years ago, and I miss her.

    By Chris Couzens (09/03/2020)
  • Having worked for Howard’s Dairies for a number of years during the sixties and seventies it was always a family firm and everyone got on as it was a great place to work. During my fathers and my time there the Directors were the Clement brothers and Martin Reed played a role in the running of the firm. Late sixties things were starting to crumble and the retail shops and warehouse closed about 1972. Great times and memories.

    By Brian james Baker (08/03/2020)
  • Can I just check that the dairy for processing sterilised (long keeping) milk was at Hadleigh? Quite a distance from the Leigh/Westcliff dairy! Also, does anyone know when the London Road dairy closed when operated by Unigate? Thanks, Mark

    By Mark Hudson (06/03/2020)
  • My dad did numerous cartoons for various ad campaigns. I’m happy to share if you’re interested.

    By Julie Crumpton (28/02/2020)
  • My great granddad, Herbert Read, was the manager of the London Road bottling depot for many years having started as a milkman before 1914 war, my dad Harold Hall worked there as did my great uncle Earnest Read, my mum also worked in the shop. As a child myself and cousin used to play tag around the bottling machinery! Once we made holes in the foil milk bottle tops as they came off the conveyor belts, but my great granddad was such a kind man he didn’t tell us off! My godfather was Laurie Shipway, who also worked there.

    (Susan has supplied us with photos of her Great-granddad, please click this link to see them)

    By Susan Ryall (11/11/2019)
  • Hi John Jones
    Just wondering if you have any pictures of the house in St Clements Avenue or the house number. I live at number 17 and have numerous tarmac and rubble paths when digging in flower beds. Just thinking these might be linked to the dairy.
    Regards. Chris

    By Chris Hill (19/06/2019)
  • My grandad was Alf Pepper his horse was Don. They retired from Howard’s Dairies in 1961. My mum said he was the last milkman with his horse in Southend area. I have a newspaper article and photo. Number 92 was written on my grandad’s cart with his horse back in 1961, does anyone know the meaning of the number?

    By Julie (07/02/2019)
  • I was the stable boy back in the 60s getting a horse ready for the milkman in the mornings. I still remember having to keep the stallions separate. Also, my dad used to work there, after 40 years he retired, great days.

    By Holland WD (14/10/2018)
  • The bottled milk on the truck is Sterilized milk and therefore needs no refrigeration. The shape of the bottles and the ‘crown caps’ make it recognisable.
    The box trailer would be an insulated trailer which contained refrigeration but needed an external power source not available in those days on the tractor.

    By John Jones (01/09/2018)
  • My father was chief engineer at Howard’s dairies from 1944-1981 and was based at 1261 London Rd which was their main bottling depot in Leigh-on-sea.
    We lived in St Clements Avenue in Howard’s dairies house right next to the bottling plant and so I have many memories of the company.
    I also have some photographs of the company and it’s activities.

    By John Jones (30/08/2018)
  • The first post about my Great Great Grandfather, James Broomfield, owning a dairy on Broadway, Leigh on Sea is documented in Kelly’s Directory 1902. Previous to that he had been a dairyman in London (Lambeth area). Anyone have any more information on early dairies in Leigh?

    By Sharon Hewlett (01/04/2018)
  • My Great Grandfather, James Broomfield, apparently owned a dairy on Broadway, Leigh on Sea. Does anyone know anything about it? My notes say, ” When he came back from New Zealand, he bought the dairy in Leigh-on-Sea. James ran the dairy for many years until he sold it to a man, last name of Howard. Howard eventually merged with another dairy and called themselves ” United Dairies.” Does anyone know this part of the dairy history in Leigh?

    By Sharon Hewlett (12/03/2018)
  • Hi, new to this site and already impressed with the posts and photos. I am researching my birthplace in Rectory Road, Hadleigh and the shops/buildings nearby. I have found a photo of Howards Dairies in Rectory Road, corner of Church Road now the site of Choice. Has anyone any details of this shop, when it opened, closed or demolished to make way for the shops? Information or photographs would really help in my search… thank you Mick

    By Michael Souter (25/02/2018)
  • Sorry this is long but I hope informative. Some information was taken from some writing I asked my father to do quite a long time ago when I was researching the family history.
    My great grandfather was F.W. Clement who owned Clement dairy. The brothers , Arthur, Frederick ( my grandfather) his twin called Ernest, bought Clement dairy off their father. Ernest sold his part at some point and left the company, later wanted to come back to the firm which was refused. Ernest had several businesses and made fantastic ice cream and pies according to my mother although never came back into the family business.
    My grandmother, went to work for Clement dairy ( later marrying Frederick Clement ) as their book keeper. At that time , Milk was 1 3/4 a pint and they had 9 rounds and every customer had a hand written bill every Friday. They worked with estate agents to get the names and addresses of people buying new houses and paid them 7 shillings and 6 pence for a three pint a day customer and 2 shillings and 6 pence for a 1 pint a day customer.
    Small parcels containing butter, cream, and an egg in a nice box with Clement dairy were used as a goodwill gift to new customers. Before long they had 18 rounds.
    They were going to build a bottling plant at 1261 London road and that triggered the amalgamation with Howard’s dairy and the Clement name disappeared. A water diviner had told them there was water on the site of the bottling plant and they had expected to find it at 400ft an agonising time ensued and they finally hit water at 800ft.
    My grandfather Frederick went to war as a dispatch rider and was stationed in France for 5 years in Belgium and France while his brother Arthur continued in the milk business F.W.Clement in the Broadway Leigh-on-Sea Essex until it amalgamated as Howard’s dairy with H.G. Howard as chairman . My grandfather, (Frederick ) and Arthur as joint managing directors and Alec Steel as non executive director. At that time there were around 50 welsh cob horses pulling milk floats as well as a number of hand carts. My grand father used to go to Lampeter, west Wales to the annual horse fair to buy the Cob horses for the business.
    My father (another Arthur) and his brother John Clement both came into the business of Howard’s dairy I am not sure what year and sadly both have now passed away. My father left Howard’s dairy and John stayed on.
    Howard’s was absorbed into United dairy in the 1950s. My uncle John eventually became Chairman of Unigate in 1977 to 1990
    Just for info; Unigate traced its history to 1885, when (according to legend) Guildford grocers Charles and Leonard Gates were seized by pro-temperance sentiment, poured away their stock of wines and spirits and converted their yard into a dairy. Their business flourished in succeeding generations and expanded into baby foods under the brand-name Cow & Gate. In 1959 it merged with United Dairies to form Unigate.
    Who would have thought Howard’s would become part of a huge history of the milk business. I hope I have managed to fill in some of the gaps. Or maybe you already knew.

    By Sara Smith ( nee clement) (13/02/2018)
  • Lovely to see these pictures. My Father was Arthur Clement, whose Family were Clement Dairy many moons ago. Howard’s dairy is very much part of our family history too.

    By Sara Smith (nee Clement) (12/02/2018)
  • My Grandfather Frank White worked for Howard’s Dairies in Benfleet. Happy days. He drove a horse and cart as I remember. Loved my summers in South Benfleet. School closed in Scotland in June so we stayed with my Grandparents in Fleet Road for the 2 months school holidays.

    By Lesley Robb (08/02/2018)
  • I also worked at the sterilised milk depot at Hadleigh, for a short time. I remember Brian Baker his dad, Freddie Fern Percy Lamb, Dougie Berrington, Tom Ward, Bill Brown, Brian Pilsworth, and Ken Bryant to name a few. When the milk came out of the ovens it was stacked on the bank to be loaded when cooled. That was called the hot bank. Nice in the winter and very hot in the summer. My Dad Laurie Shipway worked for Howards Dairies for a number of years mostly in the boiler house. Good memories.

    By Brian Shipway (01/02/2018)
  • Julie, you said your grandad was the last milkman in Westcliff to deliver by horse and cart. Was his name Andy? We had horse and cart delivery into the late 50s possibly early 60s. The horse was called Katy.

    By Jean Sibley (28/01/2018)
  • I worked as a milkboy for Howards at Shotgate from 1964/68. The two milkmen were John, and the superviser was Terry Hare, a great guy. Their depot was in Rayleigh. The people of Shotgate were very generous. Great times.

    By Chris Benning (01/08/2017)
  • My Dad, George Elford drove the Dennis HGV lorries through the 60’s based at the Southchurch depot. My Grandad, Philip Williams drove a horse drawn float up until they stopped and then worked in the bottling plant.

    By Dan Elford (29/07/2017)
  • My Dad has a publicity photo from a newspaper many years ago, my Granddad Alfred Nash was photographed as the face of Howard’s Dairies. My Dad used to help his Dad in the days of horse drawn milk floats, their favourite horse was called Billy I think. Anyone who remembers this, please comment or message me. Xxx

    By Jacqueline Skinner (14/07/2017)
  • My grandad was the last horse and cart milkman in Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex .

    By Julie (12/06/2017)
  • Worked for Howards based in Rayleigh. Had a round in Wickford serving London Road and Nevendon Road. Wonderful Customers. Wickford was just developing then. Milk was priced at five old pennies a pint. Around two and a half pence in todays money. I delivered around 800 pints per day then, more on a Sunday. Mr John Clement was a director at the time.

    By David Cask (30/05/2017)
  • My memories of Howards Dairies go back to about 1962.  My Bungalow backed onto the fields owned then by Howards Dairies and we took great delight at watching their cows and calves feeding in these fields. In the hot weather I used to take up a bucket of water to them when they were standing under the large Oak tree whose branches spread out into the field.  Sadly Howards Dairies are no longer at Jotmans Farm, which is now predominately for Horses. This land unfortunately is now being earmarked for development, as if we need to make Benfleet and surrounding areas more congested.

    By Mr. L. W. Cousins. (01/03/2017)
  • I worked at Howards Dairies at Oak Road, Hadleigh in the Dairy and driving the lorries. We started the bottling plant at 700 am every morning bottling “sterilized” milk as the milk tanker from Norfolk had to be pumped out and on his way home. The bungalows on the right of the road housed workers from various departments. Ron Calthorp was my boss and Ken Bryant ran the milk cleansing plant in the Dairy. Howards will always have a place in my heart as I met my wife there and both of my children were born whilst I worked there also. Very happy memories of days gone.

    By Brian Baker (08/11/2016)
  • My father worked at Howard’s dairy in the late 50’s and early 60’s and we lived in Oak Road number 12 it was a Howard’s dairy house. I was as wondering if anyone has any photos of the houses from that time. Thanks Sue.

    By Susan Parks nee Penfold (21/10/2016)
  • I helped our Howards milkman back in the early 50s. I used to meet him at 6am on Saturdays + Sundays at the bottom of Glenmere Park Ave on Kiln Road. I worked until Midday or later, depending on weather, and he would give me 2 shillings (or 10p depending on your age). Also the school milk was stopped by Mrs Thatcher saying it was not needed by children any more, in fact cost saving for HMG.

    By Brian Bellamy (29/08/2016)
  • The history of Howards Dairies in ThorpeBay c 1910

    Calling any knowledge of 202 Eastern Esplanade, ThorpeBay

    I am researching a First World War connection to ThorpeBay, involving Red Cross / VAD facilities along Eastern Esplanade. Enquiries have indicated that the property situated at 202 (now a Chinese Resturant) may have been called ‘The Glen’ aka ‘Glen Holiday Home’. However, other information suggests that the same premises was used by Howards Dairies about the same time – so I would like to try and clarify the situation if possible. 

    Click here to view a photo associated with this comment.

    By Paul Watson (26/08/2016)
  • Hi – I am Tony Howard the great great grandson of the family and have just stumbled upon our history!  If anyone has any more pictures or information I would be very grateful if you got in touch via email  These pictures are absolutely brilliant!! thanks, Tony

    By Tony Howard (08/03/2016)
  • Concerning school milk, yes it was 1/3 pint and its a shame it stopped. Those were the days when you left school with a little dissipline and an education unlike those that now leave unable to add up without a calculator. Roger Worster! if you lived in Brook Road please get in touch. If its you we can play a game of RISK!!! Memories 

    By keith little (12/06/2015)
  • Lots of nostalgia with these photos of Howards Dairies lorries in all their splendour ! My father and I were HGV drivers for Howards during the 1960s at Oak Rd, Hadleigh. The churn lorries waiting to unload were at the dairy London rd, Leigh.The livery was dark blue with yellow roof and wheels very smart.

    By brian baker (29/12/2014)
  • Lovely Howard’s pictures.  Does anyone have any further pictures milk or dairy related from local dairies? 🙂

    By Paul Luke (23/02/2014)
  • In about 1958 as a child of about 11/12 years Myself, my Brother Graham Reed (RIP) and our friend Roy Hutchins, all of mid Thundersley Park Road, used to help our local milkman (John, I think) in his Milk Float on the top and most difficult part of his round. This was done as often as we were available, because we received a bottle of very sweet sickly orange juice in payment. We often had to help push him out of the mud and puddles in the very many unmade roads of the time.

    By Michael Reed (21/11/2013)
  • The picture of the children drinking the milk does bring back a lot of memories, but I think they were actually 1/3 pint and never 1/2 pint bottles. Special production for schools and never retailed.

    By Michael Reed (18/11/2013)
  • Does anyone remember the open boxes of broken biscuits for sale from Aluminium Tins about 1ft x 1ft x1ft each standing on the floor in front of the counter in the Benfleet store. I think they were Plain (Sweet like Nice, Rich Tea, Digestive etc.), Cream (Custard Creams, Bourbon etc. Chocolate, (Probably Chocolate Digestives but My memory fails me here and Crackers, (like Cream crackers, Water Biscuits etc.) Not quite what current Hygiene regulations would allow, but we all survived I think

    By Michael Reed (18/11/2013)

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