On this page you will find an article written by Dr. Joan Navarre.  

A Welsh Dairy in Soho

On 27 July1985, after being in business for fifty-one years, the Oxford Express Dairies on 26 Frith Street, Soho, closed its doors. It was the end of an era. For over a century, the Welsh were the cow keepers and dairy suppliers of London. Oxford Express Dairies was owned and operated by the Pugh Family from the county of Ceredigion. There is no written record that the Pughs kept cows in Soho, but cow keeping in the heart of London was commonplace. The early morning milk train from the West Coast of Wales ensured daily delivery of fresh dairy products to London.

The Museum of Soho holds the archives of the Oxford Express Dairy along with an extensive collection of objects from the Frith Street establishment: a 3-legged wooden milk stool, milk bottles, bottle caps, metal cream pitchers, greaseproof butter wrappers, and a large blue and white glazed milk crock with lettering that says PURE MILK. Empty milk bottles stand on a shelf, each glass bottle held firmly in place by an old metal crate. One can imagine the rattle milk bottles once made in Soho!

Pure Milk bottle-caps 26 Frith St    
Express Dairy milk bottles    
The Pugh Family
In the late 1980s volunteers from the Museum interviewed the Pugh Family. These recollections shed light on Soho’s history as well as dairy history. Mr R J Pugh, proprietor, served as an Air Raid Precaution Warden during the Blitz. And Jean Pugh, his daughter, recalls measuring milk from the large milk crock. Butter was delivered in 40 lb blocks. Wooden butter pats were used to separate the fresh butter and to place it in special greaseproof wrappers. The next time you walk past 26 Frith Street, remember the Welsh dairy that was once here. Thanks to the Pugh Family, we have photographs, documents, objects, oral histories, and a better understanding of the day-to-day operations of the Oxford Dairy Express, a Welsh dairy in Soho.
With thanks to Dr. Joan Navarre.