Free school milk

My first job. How I loved it,

maybe more than any other.

Carting crates of milk from class

to class. My gang of mates.

Returning for the empties,

bottles clinking, metal clanging.


Third of a pint for everyone.

Girls often left some.

The leftover milk smelt funny,

but I knocked it back.

Blokes going about their business,

full of purpose, learning


something, camaraderie,

teamwork, building muscles.

You needed strength

to lift those crates.

I can’t recall the name, but

some killjoy put a stop to all that.



◄ Lockdown haiku

Brexit boy ►


Profile image

trevor homer

Tue 15th Sep 2020 14:57

'Milk monitor' they called 'em - prime job when I was at school. As a recipient of free school meals; milk etc I still feel grateful. Cheers

Profile image

Greg Freeman

Sun 7th Jun 2020 11:21

Thanks, Ray. You're right, there was a fuss at the time. I went on my first demo about it. But that's another poem! Thanks for the comments, Po, Graham, Abdul, and Jennifer, and for the likes, Nigel, Rich and Stephen.

Profile image


Sat 6th Jun 2020 17:28

Government policy always to remove all known incentive. A heady mix of lack of imagination and world weary external control. I don't really think voting makes any difference to that state of affairs. A lovely glimpse into the past; there was quite a fuss made when free milk was withdrawn. Unmistakeable Greg at work.


Profile image

jennifer Malden

Fri 5th Jun 2020 19:55

Can remember free school milk, and it was fresh milk with cream on top. Jennifer

Profile image

Abdul Ahmad

Fri 5th Jun 2020 12:54


The chemist from Grantham and a grocers daughter.

It was deemed more profitable to pour the the milk in farm gutters and pay the farmers than provide free milk to the nations children.



Profile image

Paul Sayer

Fri 5th Jun 2020 11:54

I well remember this...

Margaret Thatcher withdrew free school milk from children over seven in 1971, earning her the nickname 'Thatcher, the Milk Snatcher'.

My dear old Dad was livid... (He had another name for her).

Profile image

Graham Sherwood

Fri 5th Jun 2020 11:45

How evocative this piece is!
We used to have to take turns being 'monitor' but when I was sixteen, I became the village milk boy, a much sought after student job in such small place. Monday to Friday 6am-7.30am before school and 4am-11am Sunday mornings.

I can vividly remember a lad called Chris Turney (gone now sadly) who once was dared to drink everyone's milk. He managed nine bottles!

Great memories Greg!

Profile image

Paul Sayer

Fri 5th Jun 2020 11:43

Watch out, watch out, watch out, watch out...
There's a Humphrey about!

Not that you would remember that Greg 😉

We never had straws back in the day.
I do remember those milk creates were heavy when full.

Mind I was only six.

Profile image

Greg Freeman

Fri 5th Jun 2020 11:18

No, Po, surely not! You're far too young ... a third of a pint, mind. Not that small. The history of it all is far more complicated than blaming it all on a certain 'milk snatcher', I know, but still ...

Profile image

Paul Sayer

Fri 5th Jun 2020 10:46

Those were the days Greg

I, like you, was a milk monitor

The tiny bottles were all several kids had for breakfast.

Think of all the money the government saved by stopping that 'needless' freebie.


If you wish to post a comment you must login.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

Find out more Hide this message