Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Field Water Trough.

The Field Water Trough.

Before I carry on with the milking parlour, which was purpose built in 1937. I would like to touch on the extensive work that was carried out on the various permanent pastures of the farm. For instance, one of the rules to become a tuburculin attested farm, is that an insulation perimeter fence be built. 6 feet away from any boundary fence, where there is a risk of contamination from non-tested neighbouring cattle, such as those on Widbrook Common.

Another requirement that was required, was that all pastures had to have a supply of clean fresh water. No longer would the cattle be allowed to drink water from the local Widbrook stream. This entailed a tremendous amount of re-fencing, and a all new fresh water network of pipes be laid to each of the pastures and the installation of new water troughs, as shown in the drawing above.
As you can imagine, this provided a lot of work for both a skilled and unskilled labour force to complete the job, as all the pipe work had to be laid underground by hand. You only have to look at the map of White Place Farm, to see the extent of the work that was involved. As every pasture from the river to Sutton Road, was included in the scheme, except the fields of Upper and Lower Gardners, which were next to the Islet Park, and those of Moor Hall and Sutton North and South, which took their water from the Rural water supply.
In the early days, Upper and Lower Gardners, and the Moor Hall fields, were used exclusively by the Cliveden Stud farm for their broodmares. More about these fields will be discussed, when I touch on the Cliveden Stud Farm in a future blog.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Milk Churn Truck.

The Milk Churn Truck.

I am not sure if this device was factory made or something that was made by the village blacksmith Tom Emmett. The reason I say this is due to the fact in all my research on dairy farm equipment. I could not find any reference to such a tool. Mind, I hasten to point out that this was a very modern farm, and at all space between dairy buildings were either finished in concrete or tarmacadam surface, even the holding yard and entry into the milking parlour was finished off with concrete, all of which were washed down with a hose every day.

This of course made it very easy for the cowman to trundle the milk churns when full to the dairy for processing, and return with with clean empty ones to the cowshed.

My drawing uses a full-size ten-gallon churn and the sketch is from memory. It was similar to the farms sack truck or barrow, except that the weight was supported on a hook which fitted into the handle on the churn, and two bars kept the churn from rolling sideways. The original had cast-iron wheels, then if my memory serves me correctly, Ernie Holland, who was the farm engineer at the time, came up with two solid rubber wheels which he fitted. It certainly cured a lot of squeaks and rattles when it was trundled across the pavement to the dairy.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Early Cowsheds # 19 and 20 on the map.

Two Early Cowsheds.
I think it is necessary to keep the milking scene in sequence, as things happened at White Place Farm to show how the second Lord Astor progressed with building his model and most modern farm, especially in the 1920's and 30's.
Building is 19 and 20 on the farm map, were the first cowsheds to be converted to milking machine use in the early 1920's. Building 21 was a purpose-built building shortly afterwards, but it was taller and more airer, with plenty of light, plus it had a foot bath for the cattle to walk through both entering and leaving the cowshed. The older buildings 19 and 20 did not have this facility at all. Lighting for these buildings could have been one of the DeLaval vacuum pumps, but instead it was powered from a generator located in the pumphouse, (building 26 on your farm map.) This remained in use until mains power arrived in 1943.

This early vacuum unit is a compact view of the system and shows the option of having an electric generator run off the vacuum pump petrol or diesel motor.

This diagram is to show the plan layout of both buildings 19 and 20, building 21 was much larger with a similar layout. As for the stalls and milking machine. The blue line is the vacuum piping which was installed in about 6 feet and the crossover the doorway was about 8 feet.

This is an example of an early bucket unit in the 1920's. Note the four teat cups affixed to what was known as the claw, and the heart of the system or pulsator mounted on top of the lid of the bucket. After every milking, the units were taken apart and cleaned and reassembled in the dairy.

As the cattle spent quite a time in the cowshed. It was necessary that each cow should have their own drinking fountain or bowl. Figure "A" was the nose operated tap, that when depressed, water would flow into the bowl from the water pipe "B."

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Dr. Gustav DeLaval (Inventor).

Dr. Gustav DeLaval.
Before we go too deep into the dairy and milking parlour description of the model farm, I think you should know a little of the Swedish Inventor, Dr Gustav DeLaval, whose pioneering in the dairy industry is still very much in use in the modern-day dairy farm.

Born in Orsa in Dalarma on the 9th of May 1845. He was enrolled in the Institute of Technology in Stockholm in 1863 and graduating with a degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1866, after which he matriculated at Upsala University in 1867, completing his doctorate in Chemistry in 1872.

He went on to invent several things including a nozzle to increase a steam jet to supersonic speed, which today has been incorporated into the modern rocket engine.

He then turned his attention to a centrifugal oil and water separator, which proved to be highly successful. This is then led to the thought of separating cream from milk, a system that he patented in 1894. He was now faced with the problem of developing a machine to mechanically milk cow's and speed up production. He worked on several prototypes, none of which were successful. Others tried and offered their ideas to him, but they too failed the test. It was not until five years after his death in February 1913, that his research and development group came up with a model on which todays milking machines are based. The earlier versions of which were incorporated into the White Place Farm cowsheds before the arrival of the new milking parlour in 1937.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Footbaths.

The Cattle Footbath.

I am am now going to describe the 1937 purpose built Milking Parlour by Gascoigne's of Reading, who were at that time leaders in the business. My coverage of this building will be in several stages, as it was quite complex.

One thing that was first and foremost with this model farm was the health of the cattle and their mobility and foot health. In the beginning, this unit was used to milk the herd three times a day. Each time after milking the cows had to exit via a back corridor and walk-through of foot bath like the one in the picture above.

This foot bath was about 6 inches deep, and was filled with a solution of copper sulphate; this was to keep foot problems and lameness to minimum. The condition of the liquid was maintained daily, with a complete change and scrub out weekly.
The footbaths are located as number 13 on the farm map.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Dairy and Steam Boiler. 10 & 11 on the map.

From the time that the the Astor family took over and started to dairy farm White Place, the cleanliness in the production of milk has been foremost. Before going into TT production the milk hygene was top of the list.
The dairy building in particular was lined with slate, floor, walls and benches. There was a brine cooled room where the milk was stored either in churns and bottles, again lined with slate.
The steam boiler was the essential part of the operation and was kept going 24 hours a day and seven days a week. It was fired with steam coal that was delivered by the ton. This was looked after by the farm engineer Ernie Holland, who also doubled as the estate engineer at Cliveden. When he took time off, his place was taken by Jack Exler, who had a garage business in Furze Platt on the Switchback Road.

The steam chest above was just one of the uses of the boiler, as every piece of milking equipment used during milking either in the cowsheds and later the milking parlour was brought into the dairy to be washed in the large wash trough and then placed in the steam chest to be steamed for at least 15 minutes, usually it was more like a half hour. You could liken this piece of equipent to a very large hospital autoclave.

The wash trough was divided into two parts or sections. The hot part was kept hot by injecting live steam into the water and together with a caustic soap called "Lavaloid" to kill any microbes. The cold side was for rinsing before the article was put into the steam chest. The trough itself was about ten feet in length and four feet in width. The steam chest was about six by six by six feet. There was removable racks that could be adjusted to what ever was being loaded in at that time.

This steam system for dairies was not unique to White Place, as my uncle at Sheephouse Farm had a similar set up. Also he also used the live steam to cook pig swill via a flexible hose to an old iron bath tub, which he collected from restraunts and hotel kitchens. It was also collected from the army camp at Battlemead. That is when needs must during wartime.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Buildings # 9. Mature heifer calf pens.

Young weaned Heifers.

Buildings numbered #9. indicated on the farm map,were originally built to house young heifer calves after being weaned. A sort of intermediate stage before being turned out to grass in the spring. If the pens got too full, the older ones were taken to the stockyard at Sutton Farm.

Some people would wonder why they were not turned out earlier? The reason is that the majority of White Place Farm is either a natural water meadow, and the remainder is subject to flooding during the winter months. Plus damp and cold are suitable for young livestock.

In the later years these buildings were converted to farrowing pens for the farm stock of breeding sows, as the farm gradually switched from milk to pork production. A skilled pig man was engaged to look after the breeding programme, weighing and shipping to market.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Milk Delivery Van in Building #8.

The Milk Delivery Van.
The photo above is a likeness of the vehicle, except the rear door was a roll up.
From the time when the White Place cattle became fully tested and free from tuberculosis. The 30 cwt chocolate brown Bedford van became part of the daily delivery of milk to the schools. Not only in Cookham, but also of those, in the western part of the London County Council as well.
The farm van and lorry driver was Cecil Platt, who lived up in Cookham Rise. he would start to make his deliveries very early in the morning, so that he had completed his round before the schools opened at 9 o'clock in the morning.
This service continued up until the beginning of the Second World War, when most of the LCC children were evacuated to the country. Milk was delivered to the local schools until about 1943, at which time the milk was delivered to Brittens Dairies in Maidenhead and later to Jersey Farm Dairies when the two dairies amalgamated.
Another job this van use to do was to deliver garden produce, and fruit to Cliveden House along with a supply of fresah milk and cream. Around the time that the farm and the estate split to having two managers, that Cecil left and the van was sold, because the daily milk churn deliveries were made by Ferguson tractor and trailer.
Building #8. then became a mechanics workshop.