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.

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