Friday, 1 December 2017

Leighton Buzzard Milkmen on Strike

Horse-drawn milk cart from Eli Boarder’s dairy, Leighton Buzzard, c.1900 [Z1432/2/8/3/5]

Saturday 1st December 1917: The hot topic of the moment in Leighton Buzzard and Linslade is the price of milk. The price which farmers can charge to milk vendors has been fixed from today, however local Food Control Committees are allowed to decide the price retailers may charge the public in their area. In Leighton Buzzard the retail price has been set at six pence a quart, but in Linslade milkmen are allowed to charge seven pence. As a result Linslade consumers are feeling aggrieved, whereas in Leighton milkmen are complaining that a price of six pence is not enough for them to sell profitably. The great irony of the situation is that in many cases the same milkmen serve both towns.

This morning milk has been delivered as usual in Linslade at the price of seven pence a quart; in Leighton Buzzard, however, most of the milkmen went “on strike” and refused to make deliveries. They gave advance notice to the customers that they could not deliver or give credit, and have informed them that milk will be available but only if the customers bring a container and fetch it themselves. As can be imagined there are a large number of irate housewives in the town.

The Linslade Food Control Committee have stated that they fixed their price after very careful consideration, and were convinced that six pence a quart would be “grossly unfair” to the retailers. The Leighton Buzzard Committee have not made a public statement, but there was some suggestion at a Council meeting on Thursday evening that if there was a problem with supplies they would consider establishing a municipal supply. There is growing support for the idea that a price of six and a half pence should be set for both towns as an interim measure and the issue referred to the District Commissioner.

Source: Leighton Buzzard Observer, 4th December 1917

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