Article id:102

Cheddar Valley Dairy - Aerial Photo

Ernest Frank Hooper                                                                 _________________________________________________________________________

Ernest, known to most as Ernie started to work at the dairy when he was 26 years old.

Soon after joining he undertook a City & Guilds Qualification on Dairy Technology at the Brunel College in Bristol.  Ernie then worked at the diary for some 34 years before retiring at the age of 60 in 1992.

Ernie was a charge hand for 26 years and then for 8 years a supervisor and in these years he was involved with several areas of the dairy, including :

>   with the team who did whey separating.

>  in the reception area that checked the milk as it came into the dairy, at one point from some 200 farms, this was first done as the churns (10 gallons each) were being offloaded - checking the churns involved checking each churn ticket against the farmers figure, then both sniffing and doing a visual check of each churn, for taints and even the likes of dead mice . .  the people on the intake platform could sniff out dead mouse or dodgy churn from 20 paces.  Churn collections were phased out the early 70's as farmers then had to install bulk tanks, so lorries started to being the milk to the dairy.

>  the milk if alright was then moved into large silos that could hold 20,000 gallons ready for the next part of the process.

>  milk pasteurising, the milk was heated to 161 fahrenheit / 71.7 centigrade for 15 seconds and then cooled down just around 40 fahrenheit, there were 2 plants that could handle some 3,000 gallons an hour each.

>  once pasteurised the milk was the moved into milk silos that could hold 20,000 gallons ready for the bottling process or the cheese room.

>  worked with the bottling plant that initially could handle some 500 gallons an hour and then after new plant was installed it was possible to bottle 1,500 gallons an hour, so at 8 pints per gallon there was the capacity to bottle 12,000 an hour, until the late 1960’s when new bottling equipment was installed which could bottle milk at 3,000 gallons (24,000 bottles per hour).

Ernie lived for 6 years at Rookery Close, Edingworth and then for some 34 years in Manor Close East Brent.

Also Ernie was known by some at the dairy as ‘Ern the churn’

Thank you Ernie for the aerial photograph presented to you on your retirement (December 1992) and for the summary of your time above at the dairy.