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The Cow & Gate Milk Family

by Karel Bohac

Collectible cards from the nineteen-fourties with Cow & Gate rusks, powdered cream and chocolate milk. After the 1882 death in Guildford, Surrey of grocer Charles Gates, his two sons Charles Arthur and Leonard took over the running of the shop, which held the local distribution franchise for Gilbey's wines and spirits, and also sold beer. In line with the temperance movement, the brothers added tea and coffee to their lines. However, in 1885, the brothers were persuaded to join the temperance movement, and hence poured their entire stock into the gutters of Guildford High Street. Left with no livelihood, they converted their now empty shop into a dairy, trading under the name of the West Surrey Dairy. Using a milk separator, they bought milk from local farmers, and after extracting the cream and whey, sold the skim back to the farmers for pig feed. In 1888 three more of the Gates brothers and their sons joined the business, which lead to the formal registration of the company under the name of the West Surrey Central Dairy Company Limited. From this base the company expanded quickly, buying creameries in the milk producing West Country of the country in Somerset and Dorset, and latterly Ireland. In 1904 Dr. Killick Millard, medical officer of health for Leicester, asked the company to supply powdered milk to help feed children of poor families. In 1908, the resultant high-protein "Cow & Gate Pure English Dried Milk" was first marketed on a large scale. In 1924 the company developed a special export version for tropical climates, and from this time registered the secondary Dried Milk Products Company Ltd to commercially wholesale various dried milk products to commercial food manufacturers. The company was named Cow & Gate in 1929.