Family was the cream of the crop


IT’S not unusual for a couple of members of the same family to work in one place.

But the Skidmore family in Hartlepool took loyalty to another level as five of them worked for the same dairy.

They included Tom Skidmore who, at the time that we interviewed him in 1966, was the oldest of the brothers at 42 years of age.

Then there was Archie, 40, Freddie, 38, Harry, 36, and Arthur, 34.

They were all married and all worked for the Northern Dairies in Lynn Street.

Between them, they delivered 2,600 gallons of milk a week to almost 2,000 families across Hartlepool.

Their combined service at the dairy by 1966 was 81 years and they had 14 children between them, with hopes that some of them would continue the family tradition.

A breakdown of their record showed Tom had worked for 16 years as a dairyman and delivered 460 gallons a week.

Archie had 24 years in the profession behind him and delivered 550 gallons a week, while Fred had been in the business for 11 years and was delivering 500 gallons.

Harry’s 18 years of service involved an impressive 600 gallons and Arthur had been working as a milkman for 15 years and was delivering 550 gallons a week.

Our report of 1966 added: “How do they manage to carry out this exacting routine week in week out?

“The answer, as might be expected, is ‘plenty of milk. It does you good’,” said Tom.

If all that was not enough of an impressive record, another member of the family was in the dairy business.

The dad of the family - the father of the five brothers - was David Skidmore, then 74 and of Melrose Street in Hartlepool, who used to have a milk barrow that he pushed round the streets of Hartlepool.

Tom said: “One by one, we all followed him although it does mean rising at five in the morning.

“There is no other family in the country with a record like ours.”

That is, of course, unless you know better.

We would love to know more about the Skidmore family. And we would also love to hear from other families who remained loyal through the generations to one company.

Did the Skidmores set a record or are there other Hartlepool and East Durham families who had an even longer link to the same company?

Let us know.

Get in touch by contacting Chris Cordner on (01429) 239377 or email