Terry and Sandra Williams recall feeding the horse that pulled the milk float!

Resource Type: Audio | Posted on 24th February 2012 by Liam Physick

Terry and Sandra Williams talk more about the outdoor pub, or more accurately off licence, on the corner of Tunnel Road and Heathcote Street: Terry would regularly buy a bottle of Bulmers cider for his father, and all the bottles would be returned: they would also recycle jam jars, milk bottles and lemonade bottles. Next, they mention the bins built into the backyard walls of their houses: the rubbish would be collected once a week in a horse-drawn cart. Terry remembers the horse falling down in winter when the burden was heaviest. They then move on to mentioning the horse-drawn milk float: the horse was able to stop at all the houses without the milkman’s intervention, and would put its head inside each house and be fed!

Interviewee: Terry and Sandra Williams

Date of Interview: 22nd November 2011

Interview Transcript

Jodie: When you said about the outdoor pub, was that just a pub, it was just a normal pub . . .

Terry: No.

Jodie: . . . but it was called the Outdoor or . . .

Terry: No.

Jodie: . . . what was it . . .

Terry: It was . . .

Jodie: . . .  what was that?

Terry: . . . the off licence, you know . . .

Jodie: Ah, right.

Sandra: Yeah.

Jodie: Yeah.

Terry: . . . because the pub was, the, I mean, the pub was, the, the, we used to call it the War Office, one at the top of the, Lodge Lane, of, of Wavertree Road and Smithdown Lane, and used to be the War Office and Swainbanks used to sell all second-hand furniture, and the off licence of a, of a Sunday, used to be, every often, every so often they’d say, me dad would say, “Can you go and get a bottle of Bulmers cider, and you’d go to the off licence, it was a Heathcote, Heathcote Street . . .

Sandra: Heathcote.

Terry: It was on the corner of Tunnel Road, Heathcote, and it was just a corner shop, but it just sold beer . . .

Sandra: And ciders.

Terry: Yeah . . .

Sandra: Yeah.

Terry: . . . you couldn’t drink there, it was just, just . . .

Jodie: Yeah, yeah.

Terry: . . . like an offy now.

Jodie: Yeah. And were all the bottles that, could you return all of the bottles . . .

Terry: Yeah, it was, it was all . . .

Sandra: Yes, yeah.

Jodie: . . . is that how it worked . . .

Terry: Yeah.

Sandra: Yeah.

Jodie: . . . it was always in a glass bottle and you’d always return it?

Terry: Yeah.

Sandra: That’s right.

Jodie: Yeah.

Terry: Even the lemonade bottles, or even . . . did you get milk bottles . . .

Sandra: Milk bottles, used to take things back.

Terry: . . . you got milk bottles, you know, talk about recycling now . . .

Jodie: Yeah.

Terry: . . . there was six of us in our family, and the bins used to be built into the wall . . .

Sandra: The backyard wall, wasn’t it?

Terry: . . . and the, yeah, the backyard, every, some houses had, an entry, a back entry, because they were back to back, so entries ran towards each other, with an entry down the, each yard ran down towards just over the entry up this, the middle, and at the, in the wall was built a bin and, Willoughby Street, we were the only house where, number 64, which I think has, has been archived . . .

Sandra: I think it’s in one of the . . .

Terry: . . . because of the architecture of our house, is that, we didn’t have any windows or doors in the back of our house and, basically, what it was was, if you got a terraced house, and cut it down in the middle, and brought the back to the front . . .

Sandra: So it was all, you know, the buildings you took that way.

Terry: . . . so you had, we had four windows at the front . . .

Jodie: Oh, right!

Terry: . . . instead of two at the front, two at the back . . .

Jodie: Yeah.

Terry: . . . ours had four, and, so, basically, the back of the house, like that, but it was only two houses in the whole of that street, that were built that way . . .

Jodie: Oh, right!

Terry: . . . and our back yard used to be onto the street, but, I was told that recycling, six people in a house, and the bin built into the wall, and the binmen didn’t struggle to take the, the rubbish away, probably we never had more than half, three-quarters full . . .

Sandra: We’d burn a lot on the fire, as well.

Terry: . . . at, at the end of the week, because we had fires we used to burn, or we took the bottles back, jam jars back, so, milk bottles, lemonade bottles, beer bottles, it was all recycled.

Jodie: That’s what takes up most of the space, isn’t it? How often would they collect the rubbish, them then?

Terry: Oh, every week.

Sandra: Every week.

Jodie: It was every week, yeah, yeah?

Terry: Yeah. And that was a horse-drawn cart used to come for that, in fact they used to change cart over outside our house (Jodie giggles), so they’d, I mean, I recollect, in the winter, the load of the wagon was, obviously, very heavy, and a couple of times I remember the horses actually falling down trying to pull away, used to, the horses would lean forward, and lose its footing, and it would be down between the shaft . . .

Sandra: Yeah.

Terry: . . . trying, trying to get up . . .

Jodie: Aw!

Terry: . . . and the carter of, of, of the, the wagon, you know, the bin wagon, they used to have sacks, hessian sacks, and they used to put hessian sacks under the horse to give it some footing, so it didn’t slip and slide again, and try and get it up that way, but inevitably what they used to do is unhitch it out of the shafts while it was on the floor, and then drop the shafts further down into the floor, and then, obviously . . .

Sandra: Horse was going to get up, yeah.

Terry: . . . gee the horse up and out these sacks under it to get it standing up again . . .

Jodie: Yeah.

Terry: . . . and they used to do that when the wagon was full, and they hadn’t, at that time, mechanised wagons, and they used to, they used to come and bring an empty one, and take the full one away, so they could continue the round.

Sandra: But they had the milk float with the, horse drawn milk float, didn’t they . . .

Terry: Yeah.

Sandra: . . . as well?

Terry: And the thing about that was (Sandra coughs) the milkman would come in at the bottom and, and Willoughby Street was one heck of a long street, it really was, and he’d come in at the bottom, this end, Tunnel Road picture house end, and he never ever touched the horse after that, the horse used to stop and start at the houses . . .

Sandra: At the right places.

Jodie: Oh, it just knew?

Terry: Yeah . . .

Jodie: Aw!

Terry: . . . it knew them. And . . .

Sandra: It used to pop its head into ours for its carrot!

Terry: Yeah! (Jodie and Sandra laugh) Mind you, you must have been well off, cos ours didn’t! (Jodie and Sandra laugh) We didn’t have, we didn’t have carrots! But, you know, it did, it used to come in, up onto the kerb, it would, it’d pull outside the house and then it’d turn itself, and put its two front legs on and it was, you know, piece of crust, piece of bread and then it’d just get it sent back on the road waiting again.

Sandra: Yeah.

Terry: And the milkman used to just come, put the milk and we used to grab the milk, six, six bottles, three in each hand or even more than that, and he’d walk off, put the milk down and the horse would just . . .

Sandra: Go to the next one.

Jodie: Just go to the next one.

Terry: Yeah, used to follow him.

Jodie: Aw! That’s real nice!

Terry: Yeah.

Tagged under: wavertree road, shops, tunnel road, pubs, lodge lane, horses, smithdown lane, jam jars, swainbanks, milkmen

Categorised under: Change & Communities

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