Upton Millennium Project Times Remembered - Industry in Upton
Upton was mainly a rural community until the 1950s.

"There is still a strong legacy of the industry and enterprise of the families who lived in Upton in the earlier years of this century. One's initial reaction is to assume that the old Upton has been swamped by modern development and nothing of the past survives. But this is completely wrong and although many things have changed on the surface there is still a strong legacy of the industry and enterprise of the families who lived in Upton in the earlier years of this century. These family names are the key to the story of Upton and the Wyatts, Hollands, Palmers, Dacombes, Arnolds, Ballams, and Hibbs, to name but a few at random, were the people who laid the foundation of its rural industries and local services."

Upton Brickworks

Sited in Upton with three tall chimney stacks visible for miles, the clay was originally dug out by hand, put on waggons and taken to the end of a wire ropeway, which transported the clay buckets to the mixing pans and firing kilns nearly a mile away. Upton Brickworks had been making bricks for nearly . 100 years by the ti me of the Second World War and with mechanisation, automation and modernisation, escalating sales of the engineering quality bricks ensured it remained one of the biggest employers of local labour. Ownership of a further 120 acres of land containing the valuable clay seams meant demand could be met for further generations.

"A larger scale industry for which Upton was known from the 1890's was brick making at the site alongside the railway line, producing a good quality hand moulded brick from the white clay which was dug from the pits there. The firm had a continuous kiln, which meant the men worked long shifts of twelve hours. Many of the families lived in the row of houses known as Frampton Terrace which still stands, but life was hard particularly when the men were stood off in the winter and had to seek work on the local farms. Production boomed in the 1950's when a new kiln was built and over fifty men were employed there. The brickworks eventually closed down in 1968, not so much that the clay was running out, but with the high cost of coal for firing the kilns the company could not compete with the cheaper sand and lime bricks. The pits were filled in and houses now stand on the site."

"There were the big clay workings, they had an endless ropeway down to the clay pits which were on part of the heritage land, the conservation area, the 19 acres that belongs to the Parish. The brickworks, that was the clay pit, had an endless ropeway there, which they used to hook the buckets on with one arm and they were carried up continuously and tipped to make the bricks. The empty ones were sent back and the belt used to be going all the way round all the time with these buckets coming up full of clay, then they were tipped and the empty ones were put on at an even distance between them. They were never brought up by tractor or lorry, all the clay came out of the pits by this endless ropeway. It was quite a sight to see."

"My father worked in the brickyard then. He was a clay cutter. And of course there was a gang of men there - I suppose about 6 or 7 men cutting clay all the time, you see, for making bricks. Their pit ran right back to where the working men's club is now. That was a part of the clay pit there. It's been all filled in and built on now, as you know. Then when they'd worked that lot out (the clay there), they went right up in the common and they made another clay pit in the middle of the common. And they used to bring that back down on overhead wires in buckets. It was like what they take the skiers up on, these wire ropes, well the clay used to go up in buckets on that, up into the brick works. That's how they got the clay up from there."

The works had a continuous kiln, which kept the men working long hours in shifts of 12 hours.

"In Upton they made clay bricks. They were made in a big roller and compressor, which compressed this clay and forced it out of a nozzle. Estimated by a man's eye, the worker would chop the length of clay off to the same dimensions as a house brick, but 12 bricks wide. He would chop that off and a ram would come out and press these clay bodies through wires, which would convert that into 12 individual house bricks. Those 12 individual house bricks would come on down a brass table, highly glossed brass table, where at the end of that table stood a man who took 8 of the bricks as in 2 fours. At the side of that table were two boys, me and another Upton boy, and we would take 2 each. Now the bricks that we took were common, ended up as common bricks. The bricks that the man took in two batches of four were put through a sandblasting machine and came out as reds and Farnhams; Farnham is the name of the sand that they would blast on to it, wherever it come from, so it was a different kind of red. There were two different colours of Upton bricks. The names of the bricks were commons, Farnham and red so when you went to buy bricks from Upton Brick Company, you bought common which was un-sandblasted just clay, red which was obviously what it said red, and Farnham which was another shade of red. Lime bricks in Hamworthy were made of sand and lime compressed in a compressor and baked whereas clay bricks made in Upton were made of pure clay. They were then taken away on these trolleys that we boys loaded up to be put through a big dryer to dry them and then taken on out and put into a big kiln which was actually 12 kilns in a circle. They would be putting dried bricks into number 12 and drawing baked bricks out of number 8 so that there was an ever continuous circle of fire going round this brick kiln and as it passed by the kilns, they would draw the bricks out and put new dried bricks in to be baked so you had two processes. You had dried first and then baked. We only did our specific jobs all the time. I didn't at the time because I complained to the company that as a grown boy I should not be lugging all this clay around, which was heavy so they decided that maybe I was right and the boys ought to be moved around. So we were moved around the yard like electrician's mate, fitter's mate, drawer's mate which was what I wanted and fought for, otherwise you got bored stiff." ,

"They had what they called a German kiln in there which was a continuous kiln. They used to take the hot bricks out one end after the fire had burnt them and gone on round, and while someone was stacking green bricks in the other half, so the fire was continually going round. There used to be a man called a burner, who used to go round with his little shovel and hook. He would hook the lid off, like you would off the top of a Rayburn, and drop two shovels full or three shovels full of coal and put the lid back and there was a whole series of these all the way round the kiln. The kiln was an egg shape, or oval, whatever you'd like to call it. It was quite a thing, and the heat was tremendous. But as a boy, my elder brother worked there and that used to give me an excuse to go up and I got to know the burners. We used to go up with them at night times, when we had nothing else to do in the cold winter nights, and we used to go on the pretence of taking them something and sit in their little hut and have cups of tea with them and that sort of thing, and go round and watch them feed these kilns."

Many who started work as 'the boys' worked through the different jobs in brick making:

"I knew Vic Parks manager of the brickyard, he gave me a job and I worked there for 6 months. I started down in the clay pit, right down the bottom, and I used to bring the clay up in buckets in overhead cables, remember them? You know how people ride on them when you go to Butlins, they ride on these buckets and go round the camp, well it's the same ride there. They had a big wheel up this end which went round and cables went right down over the commons to the clay face where they used to fill the bucket with clay for it to be brought up and as it came into the building, so the man there pulled them off the cable, in the end it was tipped out into huge piles. It was a big building, goodness how strong it was, there were huge piles of clay and he had a big pan about 10ft across and put a mixture of clay and water in this with 2 big wheels. The heavy wheels used to run round on an axle and run over this stuff to grind it down and force it down through a hole in the bottom. It then came through rollers which rolled it very thin and when it came down it was forced out like a meat mincer and it came through as a long slab the size of a brick but in a long slab. As it came through, a man had a handle which had a wire attached to it and he would pull off a piece that would make 12 bricks. He cut off this long oblong slab and pushed it along the flat bed until it got into a place where there were 12 wires stretched. Then he pressed a lever which had an arm with a blackboard on which pushed this long slab of clay shaped like a brick through these 12/13 wires and you got 12 bricks cut through the top. Every time he did that, he pushed the slab in and it pushed the 12 bricks out. There was a table, which had like oily paraffin, all slippery, so you had 12 bricks cut off and they came through together. Then you had 3 men stood round the table at the bottom, hard work there, you had to take the bricks off and they were quite heavy and you stacked them on a trolley. Well you couldn't go very high because they squashed but about every foot you put a board in and another stack on the trolley. Not too bad for a few but you also had a handle to use with 2 prongs on the stick so that you could hold them that way and put a hand behind the other brick and stack them up. As soon as you filled that trolley up, they pushed it away and brought another trolley in. I cannot remember how many trolleys we did a day but quite a lot. But from there they were pushed on this rolling iron through a drying place and eventually went into the kilns to be dried and heated. This kiln would bake them to make them hard; I only worked there 6 months and I know this chap would feed the fires with this fine coal dust. He pushed this container full of coal, puffing away on his cigarette, all the way up to the top and into the grill. Then every so often you had these manhole covers and you would lift them up and the fire was down there and you would stoke them up. I don't know how you got underneath the rail but someone had to clean them out. Someone went in and would leave the bricks down there for so long and they were all round the building. You had openings where you stacked the bricks, I can't remember how they shut them but they stacked them for about 2 days to bake and then they left on to the next one and then they would open up and take the next lot out and stack it there. On the trolleys you got more money and I can remember I was seventeen and a half years old and earning £5 a week doing that job. I can remember it was a summer time because I was called up and went into service in November so I went there during the summer and I used to cycle home and I was so dehydrated I suppose, I used to drink a big bottle of lemonade every time because I was so thirsty."

However the working conditions were basic:

"That was quite hard work and the chap used to have to get the bricks out of the kilns and that was really hard work and it was hot and it was fumey. I went up there one day and I couldn't stick it, you've got sort of coke fumes and then you feel bad. They didn't give you anything, there were no proper toilet facilities, nowhere you could get a cup of tea, the foreman used to bring a bottle of cold tea to work to drink, that's what he used to drink cold tea. The floor was dirt floor, it was an old fashioned brickyard."

Clay Mining and Digging in Upton

There were other sources of clay as well as that used for Upton Brickworks:

"The Beacon Brickworks were in existence. Their method of getting clay out, not only was it an open faced clay pit where they dug it out by the shaped shovels with the long shaft on, but they also had mines underneath the hills where they used to send the 2 skips down on a railway and the clay would be dug out underground, loaded into these trolleys and then pulled back up the top and then tipped into the back of lorries to be taken away, because they didn't use clay in Hamworthy to make clay bricks, they only made sand and lime bricks there. They used all the sand that's in abundance there on the hills which they've now virtually run out of."

"And then there was clay that used to come down from Beacon Hill in horse and carts, and they used to weigh on the weighbridge as well, you see. The clay waggons went down to Junction Station (Hamworthy Junction) and that was put on the railway there and it went to Stoke. That was China Clay from Beacon Hill, and that was mined in Beacon Hill - they used to mine up there, they had miners there. Underground. There was quite a lot that used to go on in those days - everything was sort of manual, you see. Quite a few men from Upton worked there, it was all sort of local labour. But when they started to mine there, I think there were 2 miners from South Wales to do the mining at Beacon HilL"

Dorset Clay Products took over the premises of Dornay Days, a small arms factory, after the Second World War. The main entrance to the workings was by the "Welcome to Poole" sign in Blandford Road.

"There was another one called Dorset Clay Products. They used to dig their clay out from somewhere down towards Hamworthy, Aliens Lane way, and they would pull that up on a railway line with skips on. They used to make chimney pots and all manner of things, gullies and pipes for sewers and all that sort of thing at Dorset Clay Products."

"When I left the army in 1952, I was given a 6 week rehabilitation course by the army to get myself back into civilian life and I took a job at Dorset Clay Products. They kindly offered me a job with full pay to work there and work the skips that were pulled up from maybe % mile away on this ropeway and railway line up into the top of the works. It was then all tipped under big rollers where it was squashed out and made into clay which was pliable enough to do the mouldings of chimney pots, pipes, all sorts of things that were made out of clay in those days. The trains used to come up and stop across the crossing at Upton while they unhitched a certain amount of the carriages. The rest of the train was left further down the line and braked, while they shunted their own Dornay Days (or later Dorset Clay Products) into their own railway siding."

Dornay Days

"Dorset Clay Products took the factory over from the ammunitions factory which was called Dornay Days, which used to make shell cases and bomb cases in Factory Road at Upton. I can picture the women riding to work with their turbans on and their smocks, riding up the road to go to work on these machines in Dornay Days. But when the war finished, that went out of fashion."

The Upton Blacksmith

The forge was situated on the site of Upton Court next to the Library. As well as shoeing horses, they would do wheel binding and in later years, wrought iron work. Wheel binding is a very skilled operation, as one resident remembers:

"They used to put the iron hoops on wheels and the blacksmith was allowed to go up on the common (Turbary Common) and cut turf, then they used to put it in the shed to dry and then use it to make a fire. He would get the iron hoop red hot then put it on the wheel and then pour water all over it to tighten it up on the wheel. They used to do all that, and I used to watch them pretty well every day when they was doing those sort of jobs, when I was young. The turf fire was outside the forge in the yard. They had an iron plate - a big round iron plate about the size of a wheel, with an iron pole up through the middle, and they used to put the wheel up over the top of that. When the iron hoop got hot they used to catch a hold with big pinchers, put it over the top and hammer it down over the wheel, then they used to water it with cold water to tighten it up."

The local youths delighted in watching the Shire horses being shod.

"There was the blacksmith's shop and that was run by Mr Bill Courtney. Well I spent a lot of time out there when I was young, watching the horses being shod - because he had horses there practically every day. I'll always remember one thing I used to like to watch - if he'd got a big Shire horse in there and it was what we call a 'kicker'. He had a stock and used to put the h'orse in it. A stock is a wooden arrangement (very strong); and the horses never had a lot of room once they were there. Then they used to put a rope around the horse's leg and pull it tight through a hole in a wooden upright and tie the horse's leg tight to the upright so that he couldn't kick when they were shoeing him. Sometimes they used to kick up pretty tidy, you know, the horses - quite big horses they were in those days, as well."

Memories returned through smells:

"There was a blacksmith's shop, it wasn't a very smart looking building by any means but Mr Courtney was the blacksmith when I knew of it and we used to bring our ponies and horses up to Upton Cross to have them shod. It was quite exciting really because he would be working away making the shoes and he'd put them in the furnace with a pair of long tongs and he'd blow up the coals underneath till they were flame red hot and when the shoe was sparkling red hot, he would bring it out and shape it on his anvil. I shall never forget the smell of when he applied this hot shoe to the horse's hoof, the smell of burning hoof is quite nostalgic."

Another memory of bygone times included a regular visitor:

"The forge was at Upton crossroads where Upton Court is now. Old Mac Sweeny used to shoe horses and do his blacksmithing. Once every few years a gypsy lady, a real nut brown gypsy lady with her hair in plaits and ringlets and a scarf round her head used to come with a painted van. She used to park behind the forge and all the brass cans, water cans and kettles hanging about, all spotlessly clean, she used to mend the bellows. That was her job, she travelled all around the countryside repairing the bellows in blacksmith's shops. That was quite an interesting lady, it was not that long ago. It was only 40 years ago since she came."

"The other thing I can remember is the smithy at the Upton Crossroads, basically where the library is now; the old smithy there with the old man who used to run it called Old Mac. I can remember going in there when I was a kid and pumping the bellows when he was making the horseshoes. In those days they didn't have an electric fan to blow the air into the forge, they had this very big oid bellows which you pumped up and down with a long handle. There was an old gypsy lady, who would come round occasionally and refit the leather on the bellows. She used to come round in one of the old gypsy vardos and park in the corner right next to where the Upton Crossroads is now. The vardo was a lovely old painted horse-drawn gypsy caravan."

Hollands Poultry and Egg Packing Business

"The Holland Brothers poultry and egg packing business was typical of a local firm that had its roots' in farming. The brothers had kept hens on their father's Hill Farm, and although Jim Holland followed a career as an industrial chemist at Holton Heath cordite factory, he eventually in 1947 after a motor ' cycle accident gave it up to concentrate on the business. The breakthrough had come about in the early years of the war when they secured a licence from the Ministry of Agriculture to set up as an egg packing station. The government had decreed that all eggs had to go through a licensed dealer to curb their sale on the black market. Hollands collected from all the local farms and after grading the eggs distributed to nearly 300 shops in Poole, Bournemouth, Weymouth and Blandford. They also distributed the powdered egg brought in from the States. After the war they launched a new hybrid breed of hen from America and their hatchery produced over one million chicks a year. In time though they were overtaken by the technology of the large scale producers and lack of room for further expansion."

Some people still remember their days at Hollands:

"While I was at school I worked on Saturday mornings at Hollands poultry farm. It was a thriving business with a large shed where eggs were packed. The eggs came from farms, smallholdings or just individuals who kept a few hens in their gardens and sold the surplus eggs. People either brought the eggs to the packing station or they were collected by one of Holland's vans. A lot of local women worked at Hollands and I helped packing eggs. The eggs were 'candied' under a light to check for freshness or defects and then rolled along a small conveyor belt which graded them by size, A,B,C or small and extra small, stamped the size on each egg and then tipped them off into a circular sort of tray with separate sections for each size of egg. The packer picked up three eggs in each hand and placed them on cardboard trays holding two and a half dozen. These trays were put into wooden boxes for delivery. You had to be pretty quick with the packing or you ended up with a mass of broken eggs. I worked from 7.30 to 11am every Saturday and earned about 1 shilling an hour It doesn't sound much but a cinema ticket cost one shilling or one and nine pence."

"I also worked at Hollands during school holidays on egg grading. There were a lot of Upton ladies working there during the War and I used to have lunch with some of them with Mrs Dance, who lived nearby. Artie Clothier was the foreman. We graded eggs by passing them in front of a strong light, then stamped them. Any broken eggs were put into a glass jar for sharing out at the end of a shift. I was very popular, to Artie's horror, I broke a lot of eggs but I was an expendable employee and soon became one."

"Hollands also produced day old chicks which were hatched in large incubators. They were large enough to walk into and the eggs were on large shelves. The eggs had to be turned to ensure even heat every few hours. When Mr and Mrs Holland were away on holiday, their assistant stayed at their house in order to check these incubators. Because she was on her own, I also slept in the house to keep her company when she checked the chicks, as overnight it was a fairly lonely place and dark. They had some yard lights but there were no street lights. Night time was very black then without all the lights from illuminated buildings and factories as well as street lights. These days it doesn't ever seem really dark. We went to check the incubators at about 11 pm which was quite exciting for a 14 year old at that time. I found this fascinating because there would be a huge tray of eggs just hatching with some chicks out of the shells and others just emerging. These chicks all had to be 'sexed', ie checked to see whether they were hens or cock birds. This was done just after they were born because they were sold as day old chicks. Customers came to the poultry farm to buy them and they would buy hens or cock birds. The chicks were put into perforated cardboard boxes for transport. Chicks were also sent all over the country to customers. I can remember seeing stacks of these perforated boxes on Poole railway station waiting to be transported by train far and wide."

"I had a job at Hollands Poultry Farm for a while, just up the Poole Road. They did eggs and chickens, had a big incubator there and used to hatch their own chickens. Where Hannafords used to make an incubator for few hundred eggs, Hollands would have them for 500-600 or a thousand perhaps. I did general labouring and sometimes went to market to take the eggs with Mrs Holland. At Hollands I was paid 10 shillings a week."

Wyatt Builders

The Wyatt family owned the Saw Mills in Ropers Lane in 1880, they provided timber for the railways and to the Admiralty for Portland Harbour. John Wyatt started a builders business and built the house 'Elmwood' near the present pedestrian crossing beyond the old railway line in 1880. That became the Wyatt family home but the old Mont Dore and Gablehurst building at the crossroads was also built around that period. Frank Wyatt, the son of John Wyatt, served his apprenticeship with Burt & Vick, builders of Poole, and then in the 1914-18 War served in the Army in France and was badly wounded. He started his own building business in 1919 with the help of a lorry given by his father.

He married a daughter of the Upton Fancy family and bought the land where Wyatt the builders are now on Dorchester Road. In 1923 he built the family house 'Lymme' next to the yard.

"In the years from 1923 to 1940, Wyatt built the Limberlost and Maylyn Road and a number of houses in Upton, the 2 rows of semi-detached houses opposite the builders were built for Mr Hibbs in 1937 and the row of detached houses next to the builders were built earlier in the 1930s. The pair of semi-detached houses behind the yard were also built in the 1930s for rental by key workers."

"In the 1930s the contract for house building in Dorchester meant that the men were taken to the site on Monday and worked through to Saturday lunchtime, sleeping in the houses as they were completed. Also the maintenance contracts for the buildings at Bovington and Lulworth Camp were obtained and these contracts were still in force up to the 1950s."

"In 1951 Wyatt had more than 100 workers from Upton, Lytchett Minster and Lytchett Matravers and housing estates around Upton. The Wyatts owned a lot of building· land in Upton, Lytchett Minster and Lytchett Matravers."

A number of Upton residents live now in homes built by Wyatt from 1880 to the 1980s. A number of roads in the Upton area are named after members of the Wyatt family - St Davids Road, Franklyn Road, Maylyn Road, Gwenlyn Road are just a few.

"I left school at 14 and went to work for Frank Wyatt, the builder, and I stayed with him 2 or 3 years. In them days you had to ride your bicycle to work, and I can remember riding a bicycle from Frank Wyatt's yard to Lulworth Castle and doing a day's work (pick and shovel and things like that), and riding a bicycle home across the Lulworth Ranges. That went on for probably a couple of weeks. And sometimes one of the lorries would come out about 5:-00, and you was lucky to get a ride home - other than that you had to pedal. It was just general labouring in them days, you know - that was all I did in them days. Then, you see, you got local work, and sometimes you used to go on maintenance work, like putting slates on a roof and all things like that, you know, different things, pointing, as you got on you used to learn different things."

"Well when I went on for Frank Wyatt, I think I earned about sixpence ha'penny an hour. I think that would make me up to about 25 shillings a week. Of course you didn't get a lot of overtime - hardly any overtime on Wyatt's you know."

"The population of Upton started to grow rapidly after the Second World War and the first council houses were built on Poor Common, which became known as the Beacon Park Estate, in the late 1940's and 1950's by Wyatt, the family of local builders who have been established in the area for at least four generations."

Marsh Dairy (or Dairies) circa 1928 - 1969

Marsh Dairy was a family business owned by Mr George Hiscock, who lived in a small cottage in Marsh Lane. His sons and daughters helped him with the relentless hard work, a daughter remembers:

"My father started his milk business calling it "MARSH DAIRY". In those days, the milk was delivered by horse and cart carrying twelve gallon churns, and then pouring the milk into a six gallon bucket and a three gallon one. Milk in those days was sold by measure, called a dipper, to the customer, it was quite hard work at the time and long hours on the rounds. The churns of milk were picked up every evening from Udall's Farm up Randalls Hill. In the winter it was freezing out in the dairy. During all of this time I also had to give my father a hand working in the dairy before going out at night, like washing the bottles as well as bottling the milk after it had been put through the cooler either before I went out or when I returned."

"We had to help wash all the bottles from the milk round using a proper bottle brush in very hot soda water. We had cardboard stoppers, had our own bottles of course, with Marsh Dairy on them, there were quart bottles, pint bottles and half pint bottles. There weren't any third pint ones. We all had our own names on our bottles, in fact a man used to come round and collect what we called the foreign bottles and if he had any of yours from another farm or dairy, you would have to buy them back. Dad would often come back with a pot plant because somebody couldn't pay their bill. It was quite late working in the dairy and freezing at times, it was also a 7 day week even Christmas Day delivering, they never had a holiday and only went to the pictures once together."

"By then it was all zoned where he used to go round Upper Parkstone, it was all zoned to Oakdale. We served it straight from the churn, dipping you know, people used to come to the door with all sorts of things like saucepans, cans and washhand jugs and all different things."

"After several years he bought a Morris Van which made life a lot easier. He had more free time to look after his animals as he kept pigs, chicken, ferrets, not forgetting his gun dog, as he loved to go rabbit shooting; and of course there was always plenty of gardening to do, not much spare time."

"It was not long before pasteurisation came in. As Dad could not afford to have the machinery put in, it meant buying our milk from Oakdale Creameries. Although most of the milk was bottled with the silver tops, we still carried 12 gallon churns with 3 and 6 gallon buckets as some people still preferred to have it dipped."

"My mother and father had the dairy for forty seven years, and had lived in the Marsh all their married life. The business was sold to Mr Arnold of Jubilee Dairies in 1969."

Jubilee Dairies

"You can whip our cream but you can't beat our milk"

"The Upton Cross Dairy run by Mr Arnold and his wife was another example of a family business that flourished by dint of hard work and enterprise. The Arnolds came from four generations of local dairy farmers and began distributing milk with horse-drawn floats throughout Upton, Hamworthy and Poole. Those were the days of brass churns and ladles that measured out the pinta into your own jug. Pasteurisation and bottling came along and they went over to electric floats in a distinctive cream and red livery. Their proud motto was 'You can whip our cream but you can't beat our milk'.. Their dairy shop near the crossroads was the first place to sell frozen food long before the days of supermarkets, but when (on retirement in 1979) Mr Arnold sold out to Unigate, their premises were swept away and a block of flats now stands on the site."

"We didn't have our own dairy cows so we bought the milk off of Curtis' down at Oakdale and we used to go up there and bottle it all up by hand with the cardboard tops. I finished up with 15 rounds every day and more than 15 vans. The vans were petrol to start with, that was a big mistake really, with petrol we were going out farther and farther down Sandbanks and round there you see, and I was doing all right but then when it came to pay, the customers didn't want to pay. So I cut it right down to doing 2 rounds at Upton. Well then I was getting on my feet alright and I had 10 good years over there and I built it up again by buying up all the dairies round Upton."

"I bought the Cox Dairy, then I bought Dean's at Hamworthy and Barnes. I had an agreement with Unigate Dairies that I wouldn't pinch their customers and they wouldn't pinch some of mine and we stuck to that."

Another family member said:

"The family has been in farming for 3 or 4 generations, in and around Upton. We've had milk rounds in Upton and Poole and districts; they were horse and carts in those days. We used to do milk rounds with the horse and open cart in those days, there were two big brass churns on the back. Before bottles came in, we had buckets and brass churns which had taps on. We had buckets we used to carry and dippers, what we called one pint dipper and one half pint dipper and we used to fill the buckets from the brass churns from the tap at the bottom from the back of the cart. The churns were 17 gallon churns, wide at the bottom and they went up to a point or lid at the top. The dipper was in the bucket, but the churns had what we called a plunger, on the top you had a round brass cap piece matching with the top and the plunger was down in the churn, it had an arm that went down into the churn. Every now and again, especially if you had been stuck for some time, the cream used to rise to the top of the milk and you had to plunge the milk to mix it up otherwise one would have skimmed milk and the other would have the cream. Every now and again you had to plunge the milk. We delivered to all the surrounding areas, Hamworthy, Poole, Parkstone."

An Upton resident worked for the Dairy and remembers:

"I did all the bottling for my round, we had churns. A churn was round, different sizes, different heights, about 3 or 4 foot high, the neck slopes in as a milk bottle would slope in, goes up to the top, slightly widens, open top and then a big round disc like lid with a knob on that fits right down the side. It was made of metal, galvanised. It had a tap at the bottom. There were 1 pint, 1/2 pint bottles and a 1/3 pint for schools. When you had a milk round you had to bottle up, I did all my own bottling up the night before, when you finished your milk round. I used to do a milk round in Oakdale, Creekmoor, Poole, Hamworthy."

"When you came back from your milk round, the bottles were all put into a washer, a huge washer. There was a big round machine with a plate on the bottom, there were spacers between all the way round, and you put your milk bottle on and you pulled the handle down and the nozzle of the bottle would be fitted from that handle. The nozzle would go into the milk, then that would fill automatically, go round and do each one until you had completed the whole circle. When the whole circle was completed, you went back to the first one you started, pull the lever downwards this time, take the milk bottle off, go behind to another machine, shove the milk bottle up into the nozzle and that would put your cap on. Then you put it into a crate and that procedure would go on until you'd done the whole load for the next day. Then you carried your crates into the freezer, not a deep freezer, a cooler fridge for the next day. Our first pint of milk was 4 pence half penny. Before the war it was two pence a pint. A loaf was three pence half penny."

The Freezer Centre

As well as the milk rounds, Mr Arnold opened a freezer depot:

"I had a big depot and then opened a shop there and then we had a deep freezer and that went well, people used to come and buy. I started one fridge and people kept coming in so I bought another; then the ice cream people came in and they said "you boys ought to sell ice cream, you try it". So we tried it and it went well and then we got more stuff and we had over 40 fridges and I had to have a manager there then. I kept the dairy round until 1 sold out to Unigate when I stopped altogether."

"I employed 7 girls in the offices over the dairy, it was quite an organisation. It went well for 10 years and then other people started, Tescos, with the deep freeze and they all started doing the same and cutting the prices and that wasn't any good."

Upton Caravan Park

Mr Arnold then built the Caravan Park situated behind the library but not without a lot of hard work and expense:

"There was a big pond at the back where I started the caravan site, I filled the pond in. Phillips, he helped, he worked with me for years he did, he filled the pond in and put some roads in there. It caused a lot of problems, lost some sleep on that. Had Phillips from Newtown to fill up the pond and it took them weeks and weeks to fill it up. They had the bulldozers and trucks there for putting in stuff. I brought 2 lorries in of my own, I gave £42 each for those 2 lorries but they didn't half go. I got a couple of school kids driving them up and down with the hardcore because the brickyard next door was closing down and they let me have all the rough stuff they had, the rubble. They had some from the First World War and we shifted all that, a hell of a job it was. It gave me the guts ache, everybody was saying I was a fool just chucking good money after bad and one bloke said to me "I can't go on no farther, this is ridiculous, I definitely can't go on" because he said to me "we keep tipping loads of dirt in there and rubble in there and all the bubbles keep coming up, we're never going to finish this." So I went down there and I was going to call it a day but then he said "You're lucky its stopped, the bubbles have stopped and we can get on and cover" and I said "I told you we'd be alright." The land is about 2½ acres roughly, we had to have drainage and I got the contractors to put the drainage in properly and then we had all the telephones in the same hole and the gas, got mains gas down there, we did that all the way round. We have 51 homes there now but we had more but had to space them out because of the regulations."

"Then when I sold the milk business, my wife was ill and I wasn't too special myself. It was about 1979 when we sold up. We sold up and retired."

Many of these industries have now disappeared for various reasons, but the caravan park is still going strong. An industrial estate has now been built to cater for a wide variety of businesses ranging from building, printing, double glazing, parcel post and even motor car racing. The Upton area will always be used for industry because of its excellent infrastructure and transport system. Work will continue to be available for the local residents.

6696 views - This page last updated: Thursday 18th February 2016 5.53 pm