The History Of Milk Floats.... Firstly let’'s get one thing straight, milk float’s are Rock and Roll. Legendary hell-raiser Keith Moon brought a milk float for his mansion which he ended up crashing spectacularly into a hedge after a party. Controversial Oasis front-man Noel Gallagher was arrested and spent a night in the cells for stealing one after a heavy night out when a teenager. Anarchy yes, but a particularly English type of anarchy.
The beginnings of the Milk Float in London were a little more sedate. The first battery powered vehicle was built in 1889 by a Mr Crowter, who obtained special permission from Scotland Yard to break the speed limit, then set at a fearless 2mph. He tore from Kentish Town to Oxford Street in a slow blur, and soon the hottest stores in London (including Selfridges and Harrods) had large electric fleets.
Soon shops nationwide realised milk delivery was perfectly suited the electric vehicle’s skills of economic inner-city travel with many stops, and in 1941 Morrison Electrics standardised three types of body which would become the basis for 1000’s of milk floats built after the war to deliver goods to the recovering population. Milk, bread and clothing delivery all went electric to rejuvenate a broken England.
Our precious float herself was registered in 1974, and worked as a rural milk van before joining Pleasurewood Hills theme park in 1991. Sadly since their hey-day things have gone down hill fast for the humble milk float, and electric vehicles as a whole. As the petrol lobby’s voice has grown louder in our government’s ear the case for environmentally friendly vehicles has been systematically drowned out, and the Tescos-isation of England’s towns and villages has killed off the chances for small independent retailers.
Today the only trace left of these beautiful, forward thinking machines is kept on by those passionate about their heritage, and what they represent. For me what they represent is a sense of community, knowing your neighbours, and the knowledge that, “There is more to life than increasing its speed”. To learn more get in contact today
A Brief History of