City workers were the cream of the crop

Happy memories of working at the dairy depot at Harford were celebrated at a recent reunion. Derek James reports.

Memories of the days of The Three Degrees and visiting VIPs covered in powder were laughed over at a reunion for the former dairy workers at Harford.

Today, the large Tesco supermarket sits on the spot, but 20 years ago it was the busy and bustling Milk Marketing Board/Dairy Crest depot, which was built as the Norwich Dairy back in 1937.

Over the years generations of men and women worked at the dairy, one of the best equipped in the whole country.

When it closed, amid much anger in 1990, it was supplying a quarter of a million homes in and around Norwich with milk.

About 50 people attended the reunion at Trowse White Horse, organised by Wilbur Notley, who spent more than 20 years at Harford. 'We had a delightful night. Everyone really enjoyed themselves.'

But just a few days after the reunion former colleagues heard that Jim White had lost his battle with cancer and had died.

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He and his wife Sue both worked in administration and they were loved by all their colleagues at the dairy. 'Jim was a key member of the sports & social club and was instrumental in bringing such great acts to Norwich as Charlie Williams, Frank Carson and Jimmy Cricket. They all came to the old Norwood Rooms for the annual Christmas party,' said Wilbur. But the biggest name was The Three Degrees, who attracted an audience of more than 1,000 people. There should only have been around 850 people there and they never did discover where the others came from! 'It was a memorable evening and Jim arranged many other smashing nights for the social club,' added Wilbur.

Then there was a time some wag laid a 'trap' for a visiting VIP by wedging a bag of floor scouring powder over a door in an off-limits area.

'If he had walked through the door it would probably have missed him, but he didn't. He just stuck his head around to have a peek and the bag of powder fell directly on his head, covering him in white powder,' said Wilbur.

He added: 'The production manager of the dairy, Dick Savage, lived up to his name and threatened to sack the entire bottling crew. No-one found out who did it,' he grinned.

The oldest former worker at the reunion was former transport foremen John Musket, now aged 86, closely followed by Tom Harris, 85.

And the person who travelled the furthest was Graham Scott, who came all the way from Worcestershire to be with his old friends at the dairy.

Happy memories.