After delivering milk to the residents Crosspool for the past 45 years, local dairyman, Ian Mosley, has decided to retire.
Ian and his two brothers, Peter and Keith, following in their father’s footsteps, have farmed in the Rivelin Valley all their lives. The family herd of dairy cows can be seen grazing on the hills visible from S10. Their milk was unique in this area in that it was produced, processed, bottled and delivered by one family, M.G. Mosley and Sons.
In 1966 (when England won the world cup), at the age of nineteen Ian started to deliver milk to the Crosspool area. He did this seven days a week until eight years ago when he had to take three months off work after undergo major heart surgery, retuning to deliver six days a week all year round including all bank holidays except Christmas Day and new year’s day.
Ian has many fond memories of Crosspool spanning the last 45 years. He remembers the first winter, when he was ‘young and daft’, running far too fast one Saturday morning and slipping on ice. He was outside Diane’s hairdressers (now Direct Travel) and fell, cuffing his hand on a broken bottle.
He went to Mrs Senior at the newsagent (now La Dolce Vita) to ask for a plaster. “You don’t need a plaster, you need a hospital” she said. By luck, Mr Jacob of Dransfield Road was also in the shop and offered Ian a lift to the Royal Hospital. Four stitches later, Ian caught a bus back to Crosspool and finished the milk round.
Rain, sleet, hail and snow have never stopped the daily delivery. One bad winter the tractor was needed to overcome the icy hills. The Fuller family of Barnfield Close ran a tote betting what time Ian would manage to reach them. Simon Fuller won the bet – it was 7:30pm that Saturday night before he made it!
Boxing day 1970 proved a great day for sales. After delivering every drop of milk over 30 customers were still awaiting their milk. Never known to give up, Ian returned to the farm, persuaded the cows to be milked again, persuaded his brothers to bottle the milk and then returned to deliver to the remaining customers. (That’s what you call fresh milk!)
As the round expanded Ian needed extra help. Customers and staff fondly remember his first full time assistant, Alix Hickerman, who sadly died in 1997. He has employed many milk lads over the years and in 1983 Ian was nagged by a “troublesome boy” who begged for a job as a milk lad. Ian finally relented: that boy was of course Alex Elwood.
Whilst Ian was at the frontman, bringing milk to the doorstep, his two older brothers were working hard, running the dairy and caring for the cows. The farm supplied milk to local restaurants and nursing homes and also to other milkmen in the area, thus ensuring that fresh farm milk was available to the entire district of S10.
Keeping milk local
In the 1990s supermarket sales hit the business hard as cheap milk was used as a loss leader. However, attitudes have changed in recent times as people realise that the re-use of glass bottles is the most environmentally friendly process available: better even than re-cycling. Customers have also become aware that supermarket milk can be as much as four days old before reaching the shelves; often having travelling in huge tankers for hundreds of miles across the country.
Ian set up his family home on a farm only ten minutes from Crosspool where he and his late wife Hazel found time to raise two daughters. Ian’s father, Milson, continued to deliver milk until the ripe old age of 86 when a stroke forced him to retire. Ian intends to spend his retirement working (full time) on the farm, so he only has another 21 years of working on the farm to equal Milson’s achievement.
Crosspool’s current milkmen
Crosspool residents are fortunate, in so much as, they still have a choice of two dairy men delivering milk in the area.
Robert Gray will be taking over Ian’s milk round, so the service shouldn’t be interrupted. Robert has worked for M.G. Mosley & Sons for the past ten years. They still have a herd of cows, but no longer have the plant to process the milk.
The other milkman serving Crosspool is Russell Lister. Russell and Ian had an understanding with regards to milk deliverers, and neither delivers milk on the same roads.
Ian sends thanks and best wishes to all in Crosspool for their friendship and acquaintance. Crosspool Forum wishes Ian a long and happy retirement.