By Matthew Abel, Exhibitions Team Leader
Welcome to the first post in our new blog feature, Object of the Month!
Each month, we will be researching and writing about a different object from the Museum’s collection, which will be displayed at the entrance to the main galleries. With over half of the collection in storage, this is a great chance to showcase some hidden gems which may not have been on display before.
This month’s object is a recent acquisition – a glass milk bottle from J. W. Lucas & Sons’ dairy in Romford, dating from c1929.
The mark on its base tells us that the bottle was made by Forster’s Glass Company in Lancashire, but we can estimate when it came to Romford by tracking Lucas’ dairy through local trade directories.
John William Lucas (1884-1953) originally ran the Nightingale Dairy in Wanstead, but relocated to 5 Park Lane, Romford between 1911 and 1914, when he first appears in a local directory. By 1926 he had acquired additional premises at 39 London Road and 72 Brentwood Road. The telephone number on the bottle is listed in a 1929 directory (above), but not in 1926, so the bottle must date from after 1926.
It is not known exactly when Lucas’ dairy closed; it was still operating in 1938 (above) but appears to have ceased trading by 1957, although the Lucas family continued to live in Brentwood Road.
Update: 7th September 2018
J W Lucas was my grandfather. I remember visiting him just after the war but although all the bottling plant was still there, it was no longer in use. In the late 20s and 30s my mother and her sisters would travel around the local area in a horse and cart, providing milk. The horse or horses where kept in a stable at the bottom of the property. After the war all the sheds etc were rented out to an upholstering company and the shop at the front of the property was used as a showroom for upholstered items.
Do you remember Lucas’ dairy? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any information.