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Pool Bank Dairy – A History

29th April 2022 @ 6:06am – by Tarvin Local History Group
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Following quite a bit of interest in our recent "Tarvin History Revealed" Article about the closure of Pool Bank Dairy , we thought this interesting article written by Margaret Dixon of Tarvin Local History Group was worth a repeat – well if Dave can do repeats, why not Tarvin On Line?

In 1906 Gershom Brainerd Radcliffe, popularly known as "G.B.", moved to Tarvin from Freshfield, nr Formby. He had recently married and he and his wife moved to "The Lodge"- part of Tarvin Hall. There was little land there for keeping his shorthorn cattle so in 1911 he took over the tenancy of Pool bank from George Lea – the farm was owned by a Mrs. Bennion. At this time he started to breed Freesians (new to this country) and he became a founder member of the British Freesian Cattle Society. By 1924 his 66 acres had expanded with the acquisition of land across the brook and by 1927 he purchased the whole of Pool Bank farm.

G.B. bought his 1st milk round whilst at The Lodge and this rose to 7 or8 when he moved to Pool Bank. The 1st Pool Bank Dairy was in the yard at Pool Bank and milk was brought here for cooling and bottling. He possessed the 1st licence for pasteurisation in Cheshire .Packaging took the form of 24 bottles to a wooden case which was stained brownish-red and marked" Pool Bank Dairy" in black.

The need to expand and a fire at the old premises resulted in the building of a new larger building on the site which is now Pool Bank business park. In 1947 this was sold to The Express Dairy Company and was processing 8,000 gallons per day. The business grew extensively and employed many locals (in1984 about 150). In 1985 the ownership transferred to Northern Dairies. Reports from The Chester Chronicle from March and June 1986 show that unrest followed with a problem of bonuses and then the rejection of a pay offer – however strike action was averted. During May 1987 there were complaints from residents about noise from tankers and lorries. In early December it was reported that the Dairy had been fined for a contaminated bottle of milk and the Chronicle of the following week stated that pickets had failed to stop deliveries at the dairy in a row over franchising of milk rounds.

In December1994 it was announced that the bottling dairy at Pool Bank would close down on April 8th 1995. The company, Dale Farm, part of Northern Dairies, blamed supermarket sales. This was a great shock to all the 120 workers and management alike. Attempts to alter the decision were not successful. The person who originally set up the dairy, G.B. had died in 1976, a few months short of his 100th birthday.

There is a story about Cec Mayers who lived next to the dairy. On leaving school at the age of 14 he started work at the dairy. He stayed there for the whole of his working life so when he died the family felt that it would be fitting if the hearse was taken up to the dairy yard and circled round before processing to the funeral. This duly happened. At the time a milk tanker was being filled but the young man controlling the flow of milk was so surprised at this unusual sight that he lost concentration and the milk flowed down into the yard and down towards High Street. This meant that as the hearse departed from the dairy it was through a river of milk. How apt.

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