Islanders have farmed with Guernsey cows in Guernsey for hundreds of years but we didn't have a central dairy until our current St Andrew's dairy was built in 1951.
Before the 1940s, there were two private dairies that processed milk from 500 dairy farms across the island; Grove Dairy and The Farmers' Cooperative Dairy. They were both bought by Guernsey's government, The States of Guernsey in the late 1930s and were merged to form one central dairy.
During this time, milk was either collected from across the island farms in churns or delivered by the farmer who tipped it into pots on scales to calculate their payment.
Guernsey became occupied by German Forces during World War II. A lot of Guernsey men, women and children were evacuated which included some of our dairy farmers. The island had a much smaller population to supply milk to so the remaining farmers began trading individually.
This was shortly stopped by German forces who gained control of milk supply and instructed all milk produced on the island to be sent to one central facility and this is where it continued to be processed by the central dairy when Guernsey was liberated in 1945.
Our current dairy in St Andrew's was built in 1951 and with more sophisticated facilities, the Dairy started to pasteurise milk for the first time.
Milk has been arriving at our customers' doorsteps and breakfast tables in many different ways over time.
During the occupation of Guernsey, the German forces built new bottling facilities but due to the financial struggles on the island at the time, the Dairy couldn't afford any containers for it. Instead, they used milk churns, jugs and traditional Guernsey milk cans to transport milk directly to customers' own containers.
A lot of people remember our iconic Tetrapak cartons which were introduced in the1960s. Apart from a very brief trial of 'milk bags' in the 1970s, we've been producing milk in our trusted cartons to this day.
Join us on a trip down memory lane with these photos we've sourced from our archives of the Guernsey Dairy's past. We'd love to see any you may have, too. You can send them to [email protected].