Film ID:
NEFA 19435



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This glossy sponsored film by the Turners Film Unit of Newcastle depicts the complete production and distribution process of Express Dairy milk and other products, documenting the daily supply of fresh dairy products, with fast transport from rural farm to London, a slick operation in the 50s, with bottling, testing and distribution handled at the South Morden plant, and delivery by express “milk train” from its own private sidings on the Wimbledon – Sutton line. Includes footage of early supermarket shop interiors and the experimental Express Dairies College Farm in Finchley, London. The film closes with scenes from a cookery demonstration.

Title: Express Dairy Company Ltd Present:

Title: The Daily Round: The Story of Milk Production and Distribution

Credit: Produced for Express Dairy Co. (London) Ltd. Tavistock Place London WC1

Credit: By Turners Film Unit (Turners Photography Ltd) Pink Lane Newcastle upon Tyne 1

Credit: In association with the Public Relations Department of Express Dairy Company (London) Ltd.


F.B. Nicol ARPS

Commentary spoken by Frank Philips

Credit: The Company acknowledge with grateful thanks the assistance of J.R. Glyde Esq. in the sequences taken at “Garlands”

An Express Dairy milk float drives down a 1930s suburban road in Greater London. The street is empty except for one woman walking along a pavement. The milk float turns a corner where a few children are hanging around.

The Express Dairy milk van pulls up and the express salesman (milkman) in a peaked cap and uniform delivers milk in foil-topped glass milk bottles to a house on his daily round. He makes an entry in his delivery log book. A woman answers the door to him and hands over empty milk bottles, receiving two fresh pints of milk in return. She purchases a few more products and an extra bottle of milk. She holds up one of the full milk bottles. Close-up of the Express Dairy milk bottle.

The film then records the beginning of the milk production process at a farm in Sussex called “Garlands”, starting with a general view of the large old farm house of a working farm with “moss-tiled roof and picturesque gardens” and a pedigree herd. Close up of signs reading “Lugmore Herd” and “Pedigree Attested Ayrshires”. The next shot is of a field of pedigree cows grazing. The commentary gives statistics of the number of dairy herds in Britain who sell direct to distributors or to the Milk Marketing Board. A farmer herds the cows into the milking shed.

Inside the shed, a cow’s hind quarters and udder are washed down and sterilised before milking can begin for reasons of hygiene. This includes a good washing down of the cow’s hind quarters including the udder. A close-up follows of a worker’s hand doing a preliminary squeeze of the udders. A dairy worker fixes a cow up to the automatic milking system (AMS).

Next, there is a close up of the apparatus for milking – the Penning system - at the pioneering Express Dairies College Farm, Fitzalan Road, Finchley, in the London Borough of Barnet, farmed continuously since the late 1800s by Express Dairies. A woman in white uniform and wellington boots washes down a cow in a unit stall with spotless tiled walls. The commentary explains that many famous herds in the world have been started from stock raised on the farm. Ayrshire cows are hooked up to the milking apparatus.

Back at Garlands Farm in Sussex a Farms Inspector examines one of the herd for sickness.

An Express Dairy lorry drives into the Sussex farm with fresh churns for the collection of milk. The collector unloads the empty churns and loads up the full ones.

The lorry delivers the full churns to the Express Dairy “country reception depot” situated next to a railway line. The milk is off-loaded. An employee smells the milk for signs of tainting.

The female laboratory supervisor ladles out a small sample of milk from a churn for scientific tests at the depot laboratory. Inside the laboratory, a chemist examines samples. He logs the results. Close-up of the farmers’ milk log book records. Samples are again collected.

The tuberculin tested milk is then tipped into a receiving tank for cooling. The churns travel through a steam sterilising plant conveyor. The empty churns are then rolled out for collection, and return to the farms.

A worker closes the hatch of an Express Dairy branded stainless steel lined tanker that keeps the milk cool, which is then seen travelling along different city roads. The tanker drives into Express Dairy’s South Morden plant, “the most modern of its kind in the world”. Various shots follow of the plant’s railway, the South Morden Express Halt on the Wimbledon - Sutton line, with “private sidings that accommodate 14 tanks at a time”. A train with milk tank wagons pulls into the station. The white-coated laboratory technicians take samples with a ladle from the tanks.

The next scenes record the meticulous testing processes for the milk that take place in the well-equipped Express Dairy laboratories. A white-coated chemist tests samples at the South Morden dairy plant. The results are all accurately recorded in a log book.

A worker in white uniform connects a pipeline to the tanker that delivers milk to the pasteurising floor, switching on a pump and opening valves. The milk flows into a giant stainless steel tank, one of a row of tanks that hold farm or pasteurised milks. Various shots show the plant interior with a network of pipes and valves, a group of three workers looking over the system. Shots of the electrical control rooms. An operator changes one of the filter units in the processing plant, opens valves and checks equipment.

In the reception bay there are stacks of empty bottles in crates from the retail depots. The stacks are mechanically loaded onto lorries in the warehouse bays by numerous operatives, using fork lift trucks. Conveyors transport the empty bottles to the hydro-washing machines. Various shots record the process.

Next, there are various shots of the bottling plant interiors and workers supervising the machines as the spotless milk bottles emerge.

Back in the laboratories, the chemists now perform bacteriological tests to ensure bottles are “faultlessly clean”. The results are recorded in the log book.

Various general views and close-ups follow of the bottles filled and capped by machines in the modern bottling unit, its mechanical processes staffed by Express Dairy operatives. Empty crates move along a conveyor from the washing plant. Shots of the re-crating machine in action, the re-filled bottles moving through the machine process “untouched by human hands”.

Overhead view down a corridor of the Express Dairy building leading to the laboratories, hung with art deco lights. A random selection of the filled milk bottles are then re-tested in the labs by a chemist.

Milk delivery service trucks back up to the front loading bays outside the art deco Express Dairy building. Workers operate electric fork lift trucks to load up stacks of bottled milk into the waiting vehicles. An Express Dairy lorry heads off to deliver milk round London. The lorry pulls into a retail depot where fork lift trucks are again used to off-load the milk.

Exterior shots follow of Express Dairy Company shops in London, plus interiors of a self-service shop. The sequence ends with close-ups of Express products including chocolate drinks, cream, butter, pure lard, cottage cheese and yoghurt displayed in refrigerators.

Daily cooking demonstrations take place at the Morden plant. A woman (the Express Dairies chief demonstrator) in a crisp white shirt and skirt stands behind a table in the Express kitchen set up and demonstrates a recipe to an audience of women. The kitchen is fitted with all mod cons, including electric mixers. A tilted mirror fixed to the ceiling allows the seated audience to watch how the food is prepared. Close-ups follow of delicious looking savoury and sweet dishes displayed on a table, including strawberry blancmange, pineapple cheese cake, cottage cheese party snacks, fruit milk pudding topped with Express Dairy cream, a flavoured junket, a savoury dish and a cottage cheese salad.  The demonstrator gestures to the food arranged on the table.

An Express milkman loads up his float at a depot. The milk float does the rounds of suburban London streets. The opening sequence of the milkman delivering to a housewife is repeated. The milk float pulls up in a different street with mock Tudor style suburban homes.