Monday, 8 July 2013


Trying to piece together my Grandfather's life before he joined the Army in 1940 has been slow. Frustrating, as within living memory I could have had the answers. I have been researching my ancestry since the mid 1980s and there are still questions that I should have asked.

At his marriage to my Grandmother, Lilian Edith Matthews in November 1939, George's occupation is recorded as a dairy labourer. This appears on his enlistment papers in 1940. So, where did he work?

I recall back in the early 1970s being allowed to "visit" him at work. Perhaps with my Grandmother who called in to the Unigate depot in Stoke Road, Guildford. My, the noise was dreadful and the smell of milk truly shocking. Even now I can not bear the smell of milk, especially warm milk.

My Grandfather retired from Unigate in May 1973. He was 2 months past his 65th birthday, but had been asked to stay on a couple of months as a colleague by the name of Atkinson was off sick. By then he had been employed by the company for approximately 34 years. A true job for life.

At his retirement he received the then standard, gold watch. My Grandmother was sent flowers and Mum remembers them being taken for a meal out.

Milk bottle dating to 1930
I have been plotting the history of Unigate and have found it fascinating. It seems that initially my Grandfather had worked for the Guildford based company Lymposs and Smee.

Lymposs and Smee went into Voluntary Liquidation in 1955 and from what I have been able to establish were acquired by the Home Counties Dairies, which effectively became part of Unigate.

Unigate themselves was the result of a merger between United Dairies and  Cow and Gate who were a well know Guildford business. Certainly the Unigate Company address was in Stoke Road Guildford and that is where I recall the depot being.

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