The article I did recently on Benham’s dairy in Inverness Road off New Road in Portsmouth brought a few responses. One was from Bob Benham’s son John, who dropped me a line just to say that it was his father and Uncle Bill I was writing about.
Sandra Hansford got in touch to say she can remember the midnight milkman, Bill Benham. Sandra tells me she would have been about eight or nine years of age and living in Aldwell Street off Somers Road.
Most evenings summer or winter she would sit inside Fryers laundry shop at the entrance to Somers Road with a loaf of bread saved for her by her mother.
‘I have no idea what time of the evening it was. There was not a soul about but we always felt safe in those days’ Sandra says.
In the winter it would be freezing and then in the distance she would hear the sound of hooves clip-clopping over Somers Road railway bridge coming towards her. The horse, Mary, a New Forest pony, then stopped outside the laundry where Sandra was waiting for her.
Mr Benham always stood on the milk cart with all the bottles rattling around him (a little like Benny Hill’s Ernie perhaps) and had a pure white coat and trilby plus a flower in his buttonhole. Stepping down from the cart, he would cross to the pub The Lads of the Village on the corner of Lower Forbury Road now long since gone. How long he remained in the pub Sandra cannot remember, just that she had Mary to herself so she did not care.
To this day Sandra can remember the excitement as Mary trotted up Somers Road.
Another memory of the dairy comes from Mr K Coates of Blendworth Crescent, Havant who tells me he worked at the dairy/farm from a very young age and remembers all the animals that were there. One memory he has is of assisting the driver when they visited the local cemetery to collect the cut grass to feed the animals with.
Anyone with any photographs of the former dairy, I’d love to see them.
OLD TROLLEY BUS DRIVERS AND CONDUCTORS REQUIRED
AUSTRALIAN SERVICEMEN’S GRAVES
(EXTRA MATERIAL IF NEEDED BUT CAN BE USED NEXT WEEK.) YARDS AND THEIR LENGTHS