Our story really starts back in 1919, almost a century ago.
The original Creamery was at Spring Gardens in Douglas, which was actually a set of converted terraced houses, where a dozen cows were kept by the original cowsman. There was no pasteurisation in those days and the milk was fresh, pure and warm.
There is a story that bars in local hotels lined up tots of rum to greet milkmen from the farms, who made early morning deliveries of milk by horse drawn float. The milkmen would pour a small amount of milk, still warm, straight into each glass. Holidaymakers, who were out for a walk before breakfast, clamoured for this taste of luxury living and they would enjoy it for just one week in the year before returning to the grind of their everyday lives.
Harvey Briggs is 90 years young and lives with his wife Laura in a wonderful old farm that was built in the 1500's.
Harvey has lived for most of his life in the Isle of Man. He was born in 1920 and moved to the Island in 1926, when he was only 6 years old. Despite living on the Isle most of his life, Laura says he isn't true Manx!
Harvey's mum, Gladys Davies, was the Island's first real commercial cheese maker and was recognised as the founder of the Manx cheese industry. Gladys moved to the Island in 1922 from Cheshire, where she had learned her trade.
Gladys really knew how to make the best tasting cheese and her legendary farmhouse cheddar was 'made the way it should be made'.
In 1934, the Tynwald Parliament passed the Agricultural Marketing Act to protect the interests of the farmers. Tynwald also created the Agricultural Marketing Society, whose aim was to further the cause of farmers in marketing their products effectively to maximise their income. It was at this point that the famers' cooperative was founded.
By a careful mixture of control, incentive and enterprise, the Society has been instrumental in guiding the Island's farming industry.
The 1940's brought us (Robbie) HT Robinson, who made a significant contribution to the Island's dairy farmers.
In 1949 surplus milk was shipped from the Island to Liverpool where milk was scarce and, on occasion, milk was actually flown over to Liverpool by North West Airlines (IOM) Ltd.
In the late 1950's, The UK Milk Marketing Association passed a resolution that there should be fixed transport costs of 5d per gallon of milk added to the Creamery cost of 3d per gallon of milk, to give a total cost of 8d per gallon.
It was felt that this was too expensive and didn't give the farmers a fair return. Robbie Robinson, as secretary of The Isle of Man Milk Marketing Association, didn't like this at all!
Despite three court cases, Robbie Robinson brought in his own transport, which reduced costs and resulted in farmers making 7d per gallon. Great news for the farmers!
During the 1960's there was a story that a certain milkman (who will remain anonymous) was stopped every year by the police on New Year's Day for (allegedly) being drunk in charge of a horse drawn float. Legend has it that no commercial traffic was allowed on the roads on New Year's Day. The milkman, who throughout the year was teetotal, would stop all his customers to wish them a Happy New Year. His customers, in return for his 364 days of perfect service, would offer him a 'wee dram'. Our Islanders have been, and still are, very, very friendly people!
1974 saw our new Creamery and current home being built at Tromode, just outside Douglas. This modern state of the art Creamery was to complement the hand crafted skills (still used today), which allowed a substantial increase in the quality and freshness of our milk. Only recently have we found out that our new Creamery is built on the Ballabeg Farm, the home of Harvey and his mum Gladys, where they lived between the years of 1923 and 1938.
Rather sadly, this decade saw the demise of the horse drawn float. The Creamery invested in a number of vans which would enable the milk to be delivered much more efficiently and certainly much fresher.
Tommy Brew, a drayman, had the last horse drawn float and his wife Daphne would get up early every morning with him to keep him (and a horse named Ramsey) company on his round.
During the 1980's the Isle of Man Milk Marketing Association produced the Island's first family newsletter called 'Dairy News'.
The role of Dairy News was to increase communication and engender a sense of pride to the Island. Not only did Dairy News cover topics relating to the Creamery, it covered an array of interesting topics, including how to manage your finance, fun in the sun
and kids corner.
The 'Dairy Diary' announced on 26th April 1996 that the company name was to be changed to Isle of Man Creameries. Not only did the name change but, more importantly, the Creamery introduced a brand new carton to ensure that the delivered milk was fresh and simple to open.
By the turn of the century, the Creamery was in full flow supplying a wonderful range of dairy products, not only to the Island and the UK, but also to destinations as far away as Europe and the United States.
The Creamery has won many awards throughout the decades, including national and international awards at the World Cheese Awards, National Cheese Awards and International Cheese Awards, Nantwich.
All of our milk comes from the Island's farmers' cooperative, where today our family owned dairy farms supply the purest milk farm fresh.
It's this quality and integrity of milk, blended together with the skills passed down through the generations, that allows us to produce the most natural, freshest tasting milk, cream and butter, and the wonderful array of tastes and flavours from our award winning cheese range.