The dairy that likes to keep it in the family

Cotteswold Dairy founder Harry Workman (sitting) with, from left to right, his granddaughter Louise Woodward, Tom Wood, Roger Workman, Gill Workman, George Workman and, front, Harry's great-grandson William Workman.
Harry Workman set up Spa Farm Dairy in 1938 before establishing Cotteswold Dairy in 1943.Seventy-seven years after Harry Workman borrowed money off his mother to buy a milk round, his descendants are now running a hugely successful dairy that employs about 350 people.


Cotteswold Dairy is a family-run business with a strong Cotswold heritage that has supplied British farmed and produced milk and dairy products to residents, restaurants and retail establishments since the late 1930s.

The business began in 1938 as Spa Farm Dairy when Harry Workman bought a 30 gallon per day milk round from his brother-in-law Eric Brown with money he borrowed from his mother. Harry purchased a Morris 8 van, milk churns and bottles and on May 1st, 1938, he started his door-to-door delivery by bucket and ladle.  

Harry had left school at 14 and worked at the International Stores where you were taught three things; Quality, Service and Cleanliness. These values were installed in Harry at a young age when he went to work in a smart white coat, and they are still adhered to at the dairy today.
 
A different era: Harry Workman (second right) with his two sons Roger (second left) and Philip (right) with dairy manager Fred Jones (left) in the 1970s.At that time he had competition from 12 other milkman but at the young age of 19, Harry had lots of ambition. In those days, he charged three old pence per pint in the summer and three 1/2d in the winter. Harry worked hard, and he only had two days off in nine years. 

Due to Harry's dedication and values, the business grew and relocated to premises in Cotteswold Road, Tewkesbury from which the dairy took its name in 1943 to become what it is known now, Cotteswold Dairy. 

The dairy’s good reputation spread and in 1961 it first began delivery in Cheltenham. Two colleagues that played an important part in the business at this time were Fred Jones, dairy manager, and Fred Pitman, accountant and financial advisor.  

It was in 1969 that the business relocated to its present site at Northway Lane in Tewkesbury.

Harry’s son Roger Workman was involved in dairy life from when he was small until he officially joined the business in 1962 and Roger took over reins of the business in 1982.

As many other independent dairies closed, Cotteswold Dairy acquired them and the business increased substantially.    

Roger recently celebrated his 70th birthday and although he is now semi-retired he is still chairman of the business.  

The Cotteswold Dairy fleet of vehicles in the 1980s.The Workman family values and skills have been passed down the generations and Roger's son George Workman is now at the helm. George joined the business in 1991 and was appointed managing director in 2010. In that same year work started on new offices, computer room and upgrade and transport facilities.  

In 2014, Cotteswold Dairy was awarded Family Company of the Year by Cotswold Life magazine.  

Roseanne McEwan, the dairy's brand development manager, who is one of Roger Workman's three daughters, said: "Working with local farmers is important to us to ensure our supply of milk is fresh and of the highest quality.

"We source our milk from farmers within a 50-mile radius of the dairy and we are so grateful that the business is well supported and continues to thrive.  

 
"In particular, we are proud to be headquartered here in the Cotswolds with all our milk and product processing and packaging.  
 
"We now have depots in England and Wales situated in Tewkesbury, Cheltenham, Tenbury Wells, Shrewsbury, Conwy and Gaerwen and we employ over 300 people who are not only dedicated staff but
regarded as friends of the company as well. We are lucky that many of our staff stay with us for many years.  
 
"Today we maintain our doorstop delivery and supply a range of dairy and other products. We specialise in processing a variety of milk and cream products and other products we sell on for other localThree generations of Workmans: Harry (centre), Roger (left) and George. producers.  
 
"We also supply wholesale and semi-retail and relish the opportunity to supply milk to various sources within the region and country.  

"We sell and distribute our products along with a much wider range of dairy and non-dairy goods, direct to household doorsteps, wholesalers, retailers and caterers across a 180-mile radius of our production site in Tewkesbury. We also support a number of local charities as we feel this helps give back to the community which has supported us for so many years and we are passionate to keep developing the business."

Having witnessed so much change since Harry Workman brought his first milk round all those years ago, it was the end of an era for the Cotteswold Dairy family on January 22, 2016 when the dairy's founder passed away, aged 98, following a short illness.


For more information on Cotteswold Dairy, visit www.cotteswold-dairy.co.uk or follow the dairy on Twitter @CotteswoldDairy or on Facebook to keep up to date with what it is up to.  

To arrange doorstep deliveries, call 01684 274132.
© Loving The Cotswolds. 2017.