Seaview Dairy

 The Phillips’ at Compton Farm were on good terms with their neighbours, the Cheeks, on their smallholding Seaview Dairy (what remains of the buildings was High Grange, now known as Compton Grange). The Phillips’ helped out with the dairy herd and one of their daughters, Marjorie Phillips, lived in for two shillings and sixpence a week. Jane Phillips tells how one day in the 1920s Mrs Cheek’s husband was tragically killed by a bull at Compton:

Bulls were treated roughly in those days, they were chained on to a bracket attached to the wall and only able to stand up or lay down; they were only let loose to go out into the yard to ‘serve’ the cows and then back to be chained up. Understandably, through frustration, they got a bit ‘annoyed’.

Another person who had memories of Seaview Dairy was Robert (Bob) Cassell. Bob left school aged 13 in 1926 and went straight to work for the widow, Mrs Cheek. The only work locally for boys leaving school in those days was farm work and Bob remembers he was lucky to get that:

I had fifteen cows to look after, three Hanover’s barns when it was still a working farm. Brook Green can be seen in the background. horses and about fifteen pigs. The horses’ names were Chale Diamond and Joe. The cows had flower names like Primrose and Cherry. Some were Fresians, but most were Guernseys. We would start the milking at half past six in the morning and I milked them by hand. The butter was made in a great wooden end-over-end churn every Wednesday.

One day, I remember, when I took the cover off I found a blessed great rat in the butter with its tail sticking out. I went along to the widow and said, ’I shan’t want no butter this week.’ ‘Oh why,’ she said, ‘Whatever’s the matter?’ So I said ‘ You’d better come out and look.’ When she saw the rat she said, ‘I don’t want no butter either.’ I said ‘Well, leave it to me now.’ I just got some butter pats and scooped around the rat and got him out with a little bit of butter all around him and dealt with him. I gave the churn an extra good wash after.

A local grocer used to take the butter. He had a butter round at Freshwater. The following week he came and he said, ‘Whatever did you do to your butter last week, Mrs Cheek?’ She said, ‘I don’t know, what did I do?’ ‘Well,’ he said, ‘I couldn’t get enough of it. Everybody was crazy for it.’

I can see that rat’s tail now...’