The New Dairy

An artist's impression of the new dairy on the corner of Lea Road and Penn Road.

The dairy under construction.

Penn Road Dairy was built in 1930-1931 by William Sharratt Limited of Church Road, Wolverhampton. The structural steelwork was supplied by E. C. & J. Keay Limited of Darlaston.

The Penn Road dairy opened its doors for the first time on 6th May, 1931 at the junction of Penn Road and Lea Road. The project had been personally supervised by Mr. Arthur White, James White’s son. The building was officially opened by J.F. Blackshaw, O.B.E. (Dairy Commissioner for the Ministry of Agriculture) and Councillor J. Haddock, J.P. (Mayor of Wolverhampton).

The new dairy.

The new building, designed by Ewen Harper, Brother & Company of Birmingham would become one of the most recognised landmarks on the southern side of Wolverhampton. The building was erected by William Sharrett Limited of Wolverhampton, and about 30 subcontractors provided the structural steel work, stone work, glazed terracotta, timber, storage tanks, windows, staircases, plumbing, electrics, etc. The materials used in the construction included 350,000 bricks, and 5,500 square feet of terracotta. The total floor space amounted to 21,000 square feet.

The Dairy in 1931

The magnificent front entrance.

The inside rooms were finished in cream glazed terracotta with a yellow and blue decorative scheme. The special panel over the front doors depicting two cows was especially designed and modelled in terracotta.

To the right of the entrance hall stood a state of the art pasteurising plant with machines for filling and capping the bottles of graded and pasteurised milk.

To the left of the entrance hall stood the bottling plant for sterilised milk, using a machine that could fill 100 bottles per minute. The bottle washing machines for thoroughly cleansing and sterilising bottles were some of the best in the world. The steriliser, one of the largest in the world, not only automatically sterilised the milk in bottles, but also cooled it ready for distribution.

Automatic bottle conveyors carried the empty bottles from the washing machines to the filling and capping units, and then to the cold store and the loading department.

The main staircase led to the visitor's reception room and the gallery, from where much of the dairy could be viewed.

The lecture room and laboratory could be found at the end of the gallery. Here the incoming milk was regularly tested by bacteriological experts to ensure that the dairy's high standards of quality were met. Advice could also be given to suppliers.

At the opposite end of the gallery were the staff dining rooms and the kitchen.

The entrance hall.

Loading a bottle washing machine.

To the right of the rear yard were the stables which could accommodate 20 horses, and on the left was the boiler house with its two high pressure steam boilers and a steam pump which delivered water for cooling and washing purposes, from a 650ft. deep artesian well.
On the eastern side of the yard was the garage which housed the company's fleet of motor vehicles including 2 road tankers for the collection of milk, 50 motor lorries, 90 horse-drawn lorries, 160 hand trucks, and a large number of tricycles used for the delivery of ice cream.

Tipping and weighing milk.

Milk churns being unloaded.

At this time the dairy delivered milk to Wolverhampton and much of the surrounding area, including:
Bilston, Darlaston, Dudley, Walsall, Wednesbury, and Willenhall.

There were branch depots at Dudley and Walsall.

6,000 school children were supplied with Grade A milk, representing over one million bottles a year.

Farmers were paid a bonus for clean milk as a way of raising the quality of the milk sent to the dairy.

The stables.

Miss K. L. Lomax at work in the laboratory.

Miss K. L. Lomax,
N.D.D., B.D.F.D.

The laboratory carried out over 12,000 tests per year and a monthly list was compiled to produce a record of the farmers in order of merit.

The first 15 farmers received one penny per gallon above the usual price for their milk and the next 30 received an extra halfpenny per gallon.

The pasteurising plant.

A Milk tanker.

The payments amounted to several thousand pounds each year and insured that 90% of all of the dairy's products conformed to the Government's standard for Grade A milk.
In 1931 the company was awarded a silver challenge cup for the best ice cream in Great Britain and Ireland at the Dairy and Ice Cream Exhibition at Olympia.
One of the company's horse-drawn delivery vehicles. By 1934 there were over 250 roundsmen at Wolverhampton dairy.

One of the early electric milk floats.

Read excerpts from the manual for milk salesmen
Company Directors in the Early 1930s:

Edwin White.
James G. White.

Harry A. White.
James White.

R. Fred White.


Arthur White.

William M. Hood.
J. Austin Birch.
Some Members of Staff in 1934:
Mr. J. E. Birch.

Works Manager at Wolverhampton dairy.

Mr. J. Willis. Supervisor of the Sales Department.

He started with the company in 1914 when there were just three roundsmen in Wolverhampton. His main hobby was gardening.

Mr. H. Smith. Supervisor.

He began working for the company at Forest Gate, Birmingham in 1907 and came to Wolverhampton after the First World War.

Mr. A. Woollaston. In charge of the Grade A Department.

He started as a boy on the waggons with White Brothers and later joined the dairy to work in the Sterilised Milk Department.

Mr. R. G. Roberts. Salesman.

Bob started with the company after leaving school and began his first milk round in Blakenhall where he was known by the children as "Uncle Bob".

Mr. F. G. Haynes. Salesman.

He joined White Brothers at Stratford in 1909 and was engaged in brewing for 8 years. After the First World War he started as a salesman in Wolverhampton. His hobbies were listening to the gramophone and the wireless.

Mr. G. Gough. Had worked for White Brothers and the dairy.

He started working for White Brothers in 1903 and later moved to the Bottle Washing Department at the dairy.

He had returned to White Brothers by the time the new dairy had opened.

Mr. T. Green. Sales Supervisor.

He began to work for White Brothers in 1904 and started as Sales Supervisor at the Wolverhampton dairy in 1928. He was also Honorary Secretary at the dairy's Social Club, formed in 1926.

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