Do you remember milkmen and paperboys. WIll they ever come back?

  • Once upon a time in a land long, long ago called England, we used to get these people who would come round to your house at some ungodly hour.


    One group of these people were called the Milkmen, no, not some group of zombies, but men who delivered milk to your door. Yes, to your door! No having to lug milk home from the supermarket, they brought it to you.


    They would come in almost silent electric vehicles with their bottles chinking away on their vesicles called milk floats, they didn't float. You left out the old bottles and they would collect them and give you new bottles full of luscious new milk and if you requested it, bread, milk, juice and other goodies. This was decades before online shopping and home delivery.


    Another group, this time a group of young urchins also used to visit homes, they were the paperboys. I used to be one.


    As a paperboy, I would go up to the local sweetshop/newsagent at around 6.30am, collect a load of papers and then set forth on my bike delivering papers. My first wage for a week's work was £1.30. I was absolutely delighted, I had my own money to spend on sweets and stickers for football books and comics like the Beano and Dandy. Took about 30-40 minutes to do my paper round and saw some interesting things sometimes too...8o


    So, whatever happened to these groups of near nocturnal delivery people? Did they get eaten alive? Where are they now?

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  • I suppose like many traditions in Britain, we have killed of this tradition ourselves.


    As far as milkmen goes, I remember the conversation in my house when we were thinking of ditching them, about twenty years ago now. It went something like this:


    Me: "Tesco is doing milk for half the price of what we pay."

    Family member: "Lets get rid of the milkman."

    Me: "Yep, I'll tell him tomorrow we don't want him any more."


    And that was that. The next day I told the milkman we didn't want him any more and I could see he was dejected as this was something he was hearing with increasing frequency as he could see his livelihood go down the pan.


    Now we have the all powerful supermarkets who control everything. Sometimes we get exactly what we deserve.

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  • We do have a milk man delivering down our road but there's not usually many crates on the float and he doesn't make many stops. We don't much like milk and only use it in cooking so I get the dried stuff. We used to have two distrbutors locally but one closed and the other scaled back operations and much of the land was sold off for housing and flats.


    When I go and get the paper first thing there's plenty of paper boys (mostly) sorting out their bags in the local newsagents and I also see quite a few cycling round our area so they've not died out here yet.


    When I was a lad there used to be bakers coming round delivering, knife sharpeners and even fish men. All gone now. People, particularly housewives, don't have free time to wait in for tradesmen but want to get on with their many pursuits other than housekeeping.

    History is much like an Endless Waltz. The three beats of war, peace and revolution continue on forever.

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  • Now we get Deliveroo and Tesco drivers and couriers. However the well intentioned push for better wages, rights and conditions will soon destroy these jobs and we will be giving our local drone a cheery welcome as it hovers at our front door.

  • I know we've spoken about Deliveroo before on this site, but I don't think I have ever seen them.


    As you say Hoxton, it'll be drones soon doing all deliveries, another massive tranche of jobs eliminated.

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  • We do have a milk man delivering down our road but there's not usually many crates on the float and he doesn't make many stops. We don't much like milk and only use it in cooking so I get the dried stuff. We used to have two distrbutors locally but one closed and the other scaled back operations and much of the land was sold off for housing and flats.

    That was exactly the same with my area. Had two local companies and now there seems to be a company from a neighboring borough doing a few ad-hoc deliveries. I think there is one delivery done my road now, although that is an improvement to the recent state of the milk delivery industry.


    Wealthier parts of London are increasinly using milkmen again, what do we recjon, are they set to make a comeback?

    When I go and get the paper first thing there's plenty of paper boys (mostly) sorting out their bags in the local newsagents and I also see quite a few cycling round our area so they've not died out here yet.

    You get a few morning ones, but as most kids get paid a tenner just for loading a dishwasher every week, most can't be arsed with it.


    Our main paper "boys" are Bulgarian and Kosovan twenty somethings. They deliver everything from newspapers to takeaway leaflets, which we get rather a "few" of here..

    When I was a lad there used to be bakers coming round delivering, knife sharpeners and even fish men. All gone now. People, particularly housewives, don't have free time to wait in for tradesmen but want to get on with their many pursuits other than housekeeping.

    Used to have a fish man in my time and insurance man.


    If my late nan wanted to pay tradesmen, she would leave them their money in their own piles on her sideboard. The coal man, milkman, fishman etc would just enter her house which was unlocked and take only their own money. Unimaginable today.

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  • Gosh, I remember the coal men, lugging hessian sacks of coal on their backs off the flat bed truck to fill up the coal bunker. Health and safety would be having fits. I remember at my grans up in Hays, Middlesex the rag and bone men, usually gypsies, coming down the street shouting "Rag and Bone" with horse drawn carts.


    But if anybody says the good old days, I'll say dentistry.=O

    History is much like an Endless Waltz. The three beats of war, peace and revolution continue on forever.

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  • Too young to remember the coal men, but we still have the rag and bone mean, although as with everything else in London, that profession is now run by the Eastern Europeans.

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  • we still have milkmen round here! Always used them. Cotteswold Dairies have a big fleet of milk floats .


    http://www.cotteswold-dairy.co.uk/doorstep-delivery.html


    I cant speak for london , but as well as the above, we also have a weekly scrapman route, he drives an open back Daf sherpa & will take any old metal, car batteries, scrap fencing etc.

    There are 2 different ice cream vans call daily , and the Grocer wagon. All traditional & current here...long may they continue too.

    Loon.

  • I also remember the coalmen. They were scary, and the coal that used to spit out of the hearth so we had to put a tarpaulin in front to save the floor. Buggered the air something wicked but was a cheery thing in bad times. They also used to deliver logs. I used to chop them up with an axe round the back as they lay next to the coal heap.

  • I remember "real" coal at my grans. You'd see the tar dribbling out and occasionally small jets of gas. Clean air act did for most of that.

    History is much like an Endless Waltz. The three beats of war, peace and revolution continue on forever.

    4312-gwban-gif

    If my post is in red it is moderation. Take note.

  • We still have a paper boy I am very pleased to say. Nice well mannered lad, not 100% reliable as to time but he usually gets here before 8 except on Sundays when it's about 9.45. When he was off sick once his mother delivered them which I thought was a nice gesture on her part, making sure everyone got their paper.


    The only thing is, and you'd better believe this because it's true, he's Afro Caribbean, no problem there but he tells everyone his nickname is 'Tigger.'


    And I'm dreading having to go out in the street and call him back for some reason, especially if there's a lorry going past. 8|

  • We have a Milkman who along with a full range of dairy products delivers potatoes and other seasonal vegetables.

    3 paperboys. A couple are pensioners who deliver our 2 free weekly papers and a guy on a bike who delivers the Manchester Evening News direct from the printers.

    A Fish Man who comes once a week and always stops in the same place at roughly the same time so there is usually a queue waiting for him.

    A Scrap Metal dealer who drives along watching out for anything left out for him, he's actually licensed so it's reassuring to know the stuff he collects is disposed of correctly.

    A Coal man who delivers coal, charcoal, wood and, if you give him a call, he will also sort out Calor Gas.


    All these guys have been coming for years and considering we only live 3 miles from the centre of Manchester they seem to be thriving despite the competition they must face.

  • Interesting, Jo.


    With all those delivery people, do you also get Tescos et all also doing deliveries in your area?


    Looks like my area is not reflective of the country as a whole, which is not too surprising... Some might argue that London is barely English/British any more.


    We used to have some elderly people deliver papers for a while, I expect they were grandparents of the paperboys, but generally most older workers tend to work in places like B&Q.

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  • We are well within the area of every Supermarket but the area I live in seems to be inhabited by people who appreciate the extra services that local businesses can offer and, apart from the M.E.N delivery all the other deliveries are linked, in the main, to local businesses that have been family owned for 2 and 3 generations. Even our Fish guy lives locally and drives to New Smithfield Market, the UK's biggest inland fish market, and chooses us the best fresh fish going.

  • A Scrap Metal dealer who drives along watching out for anything left out for him, he's actually licensed so it's reassuring to know the stuff he collects is disposed of correctly.

    We occasionally have what are politely called 'travellers ' to collect things like that. We don't actually ask them to but anything metal or any electrical item which has a wire attached vanishes if left in view of the road. Unfortunately so would the entire contents of your garage if you left the door open.

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