Making sure that milk stands are remembered

Making sure that milk stands are remembered

by Angharad Evans, Welsh Language Communications Officer

I want to take you back to April 2017 for the topic of this month's Cornel Clecs.  I traced a bit of the history of the milk stands, and this month there’s an appeal for help to record the history of milk stands in Carmarthenshire.

Anthony Rees is making the appeal, and here he is to say a little more about what he's looking for: “In collaboration with Carmarthenshire Young Farmers’ Clubs, we are photographing and mapping all surviving milk stands in the county before it’s too late,” explains Anthony.

“This project will run through the spring of 2024.  Whilst the Young Farmers are mapping and photographing surviving milk stands, I would love your help in one or more of the following ways:

  • Have a rummage in those dusty photo albums to see if you have any long-forgotten photos of milk stands. Photos of stands being used with churns or lorries would be fantastic, but even if a milk stand is just lurking in the background, we would love to add them to the national collection. Similarly, if you have any old film footage, that would be a very rare and important artefact!  Carmarthen School of Art have kindly offered to help with the photography part of the project.
  • We would love to hear your stories - farmers, lorry drivers, or dairy workers who could contribute to our understanding of the tapestry of Carmarthenshire’s milk stand culture.  Maybe you, or your friends or family were/are dairy farmers in Carmarthenshire and remember the milk stands being used. Or maybe you know someone who used to work for the Milk Marketing Board, driving the lorries and collecting the milk churns.  Please encourage them to speak with me so that they can share their anecdotes that deserve a spotlight!  Everyone we speak to about the milk stands has stories and anecdotes about them, we would love to hear yours.
  • If you have any milk stand or Milk Marketing Board related documents, letters, statements, milk churn labels, they would all be gratefully received into the collection.  Carmarthenshire Archives have been fantastic and have unearthed a long-forgotten register of milk stand easements, which logs the annual payments some farmers made to the Council to have a stand on the main roads. Without this project, this register would have remained undiscovered.

“No other county in Wales has gone about capturing their history, this is an invaluable project that will help preserve a crucial part of our heritage in rural Carmarthenshire for future generations, who may well wonder what those piles of stones on the roadside were used for!

“Until the late 1970s, lorries from the Milk Marketing Board (MMB) went about collecting filled milk churns from stands every morning, which were usually situated at the end of farm lanes. In 1974, there were around 1,700 dairy farms in Carmarthenshire, with most, we can assume, using milk stands. Today, there are less than 500 dairy farms in the county.

“However, since the introduction of bulk milk collections, these stands have lain idle and many of them have been removed. Those that remain are often unloved, decaying and overgrown, at the very end of farm lanes. However, they are reminders of a rich agricultural past, and surely worth recording before it’s too late.

“By photographing and documenting the history of these stands we will ensure that future generations connect with their very own heritage, and appreciate the evolution of the dairy industry in Carmarthenshire, and indeed our shared agricultural society.”

What a great opportunity to be part of history and ensure that the tradition of the milk stands is remembered and preserved forever. There are a number of ways you can contribute:

  • Email Anthony at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your stories and photos.
  • Phone Anthony on 07802 435677 if you’d like more information or to share a story.
  • Drop off photos and materials with members of your local Young Farmers’ Club or the Carmarthenshire Young Farmers’ Office in Carmarthen, or message Anthony who is very happy to collect.
  • Tag #milkstandssirgar on social media 


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