Wednesday, 27 April 2011

City cows

This shop is a rare remainder of the Welsh dairies once common throughout London. It's hard to imagine today, but once cows were kept and milked in the heart of the city - one way to ensure fresh milk!

Not that freshness alone guaranteed that milk was good. In his memoir of mid-Victorian life, Alfred Rosling Bennett describes cows being brought through the streets directly to customers and milked then and there. However,
our milkman said that if people could only see the quantity of water "them poor cows" were compelled to drink before starting, they would cease to wonder that the milk was so thin and blue.


Anonymous said...

The shop premises are lovely but also, as a regular customer, I've got to say that it's a great shop too, , an old-fashioned grocers selling stuff without packaging. Take your own boxes and bags and buy by weight. No packaging to lug home and fill up your bins or get recycled. Can't get much greener than that.

SilverTiger said...

Whoever wrote the previous comment (the current occupier of the shop looking for a quick puff, perhaps?) forgot to mention that it is in Amwell Street, Islington, which is itself quite a famous street, retaining some of the character of a bygone age. Many of its buildings are listed and some preserve old shop and workshop fronts.

I agree that "Lloyd" seems at first glance to be a Welsh name and note that this shop did recently operate for a while as a Welsh grocery redivivus under the auspices of Myddelton's delicatessen on the opposite corner. This attempt failed for reasons to which I am not party.

Is the name a coincidence, though? After all, the name Lloyd occurs in other contexts in the neighbourhood, often paired as Lloyd Baker. (Note too, that Myddelton's deli uses another famous name frequently used in the area, that of the builder of the New River that terminates here.)

The reason is that the land once belonged to the Knights Hospitallers but passed into the ownership of William Lloyd, Bishop of St Asaph's, and was later developed by Thomas Lloyd Baker, his grandson.

So, was the name of the shop a coincidence or is there a more obvious historical link being exploited here? Perhaps the original shopkeepers thought the name Lloyd would give them a special cachet - Myddelton's having already been taken.

Anonymous said...


As the owner of the aformentioned shop, I would just like to say that the above post was not from me! I think it was one of my lovely customers - which one, who knows? We have a few! My local history isn't too good but we do stock a lovely booklet done by the Amwell Society full of history about the area which will probably answer all your questions.

Do pop in sometime!

Owner, Unpackaged