David Joy entertained us with his social history journey on how Dales farmers became city cowkeepers and suburban milkmen.
The mid-1800s witnessed a mass exodus from the Pennine ‘Dales’ as the then latest generation of farmers and miners sought a new life in the New World. However, many of these found a new life for themselves a bit closer to home – they became Liverpool Cowkeepers, keeping cows in their back yards and selling milk to a rapidly expanding city population with an insatiable need for fresh food.
The Liverpool Cowkeepers became part of the life and economy of the city and continued to serve its people for over a hundred years. They overcame many challenges and survived through hard work, good dales business nous and the ability to adapt. They started out as farmers, adapted to become city cowkeepers and then adapted again to become suburban milkmen – part of the best doorstep food delivery service in the world and a key part of the British way of life.
Dave Joy drew on his own family history to tell the story of the lives and times of the Liverpool Cowkeepers. The Joy family came from the upper Wharfedale valley in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales and established cowhouses in the Liverpool districts of Wavertree and Garston. They continued in this way of life for several generations, becoming one of the city’s last cowkeeping families.