The dairy that couldn't fight the rise of the supermarkets


Thompsons Dairies

Thompson's Dairies was a proud family business, started in 1882 in Beverley, East Yorkshire. The firm's milk floats were an established part of everyday life in the area - from the days of the horse and cart to the iconic electric floats.

Sadly the dairy was forced to close because of pressure from the supermarkets - and they are far from alone.

The firm actually closed back in 1992, but the detailed archives of the firm passed to East Riding council, which has now made them available to the public.

The Daily Mail reports that among the photographs, adverts, and records of the business are a number of fond memories. Mark Thompson, one of four brothers in the business remembers his parents going out on their rounds in a horse and cart, then coming back and grazing the horse on Hall Green.

His brother Quentin said the firm started struggling as people's lifestyles changed and working women didn't want the milk bottle sitting on the doorstep. People were also short of money, so preferred the cheaper and more convenient option of going to the supermarket.

The story of Thompson's Dairies

The story of Thompson's Dairies

One of many

And this is not the first business to have fallen in the face of the might of the supermarkets. A number of specialist food shops have shut. In September last year John Bodsworth butchers in Wollaton joined the ranks of butcher closing their doors, blaming price competition from supermarkets and rising shop rental costs. And in 2012 Bishop's Green Grocers joined the huge number of grocers calling it a day for the same reasons.

Petrol stations are also under pressure. Last May a petrol station owner in York said he had been forced to close the previous year because of competition from the supermarkets. The new Morrisons petrol station was taking business from the pumps, while five local supermarkets meant there was no market left for the Spar shop on the site.

Bookshops have suffered enormously too. The bookshop founded by AA Milne's son (the inspiration for Christopher Robin in the books) closed in 2011. The owners blamed competition from online booksellers and supermarkets.

When Jessops closed last January, it blamed competition from supermarkets in the photo-processing market - as well as internet traders. And HMV has also put supermarkets in the frame (alongside internet retailers) for the reason why it went into administration last year.

But what do you think? Are we seeing the tragic death of the high street which should never have been allowed to happen, or is this a small price to pay for cheap convenience?