Tag Archives: horses

1968 : Turner’s Bakery horse Lizzie retires

From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 20th September, 1968

After over 25 years as a bakery carthorse, Lizzie has moved from the noisy London suburbs to the peace of a country farm.

Lizzie, a liver chestnut Welsh cob who has reached the
distinguished age of 30, has worked for the past 15 years for Turner’s (Mitcham) Bakery, Fair Green, believed to be the only bakery in London which still uses horse-drawn vans for its delivery rounds.

For those 15 years she has been delivering bread in the Pollards Hill area with her driver Mr. Ted Gibson. Lizzie and Ted were a well-established team as they worked together for J. A. Taylor Ltd of Tooting for 10 years before going to Turner’s.

Life for Lizzie has not all been hard work, however. At the Easter Monday Horse Show in Regents Park she won first prize in the van parade and the Welsh rosette for the best Welsh Cob in the show.

Lizzie’s working day lasted about nine hours and she could make up to 450 calls a day. Anybody who maintains the horse is an outdated and uneconomical means of transportation is challenged by Turners who have proved that if a horse is ill the round takes over an hour longer to operate with a petrol vehicle.

Lizzie went into retirement yesterday (September 19) to Cherry Tree Farm, Lingfield, where she will mix with company from ex-race horses to costers’ donkeys.

Her successor, aptly named Lizzie II, is a nine-year-old bay Welsh Cob who will join Sally, Dolley and Kitty in maintaining Turner’s tradition of horse-drawn vans.

Rising costs led to Turner’s Bakery stopping using horses in 1973.

1972 Why Sally put on weight

From Mitcham News & Mercury
21st April 1972

MITCHAM BAKER KEN TURNER wondered why his new horse Sally was putting on weight. He thought it was either the good food she gets at the bakery or children slipping her the odd cake when she was out on her delivery round.

Then last Saturday morning when he went down to her stable he found out. There was Sally and a newly born foal. Said Mr Turner: “I was stunned — she was out doing her round only the day before and seemed perfectly all right. It was a wonderful surprise and we are calling him Lucky.”

Sally, a four year old Kent Cob was bought from a dealer just before Christmas and pulls Mr Turner’s delivery van to keep going a family tradition, which started in 1792 when the bakery opened in Mitcham.

Mr Turner began to suspect that she was in foal and a vet confirmed that this was likely.

“But he assured us that there was plenty of time and she could go on working for a while. So I was really surprised when I looked in the Stable on Saturday morning.”

“It’s a bit of a bonus. When I bought her I never expected another animal as well. When the foal is old enough it is going down to a stud at Ockley. Meanwhile I have borrowed another horse to keep the round going.” he said.

Mr Turner and the dealer he bought Sally from are still mystified as to how she got pregnant.

“She must have er . . . . running loose in the field,” he added.

Turners Bakery Horses

From Mitcham News and Mercury
10th August 1973

SALLY the famous horse used by Turners, the Mitcham bakery, has delivered her last loaf of bread. She’s been driven off the streets, together with stable mates Billy and Brandy, because of the rising costs of their own staple food, hay and oats. After nearly 200 years, Turners, one of Merton’s oldest bakeries, have decided that the four footed deliveries of bread and cakes are getting too expensive.

So the three horses have had to go and will be replaced by vans to cover the five mile routes where they were firm favourites with housewives, old folk, children, and gardeners.

During the last two years the firm have tried to ignore the steadily rising prices of feed and shoe-ing because their horses and carts were a tradition and good public relations.

“But in the last few months these have shot up no much in price, shoe-ing has doubled in price for example, that we just can’t afford them any more” said general manager, Mr Ken Turner.

“It’s very sad. I know everyone wilt miss them. I will myself after all these years of keeping horses I’m 60 per cent baker and 40 per cent horse-man.

“The kids loved to feed them and they loved their work. When they went on holiday they often fretted to come back. But they are just not economic any more.”

The three were stabled at the back of the bakery at Fair Green and daily covered most of Mitcham between them.

“There was also the problem that the men who used to drive them have recently retired and its difficult to find young men willing to learn to drive a horse and cart” said Mr Turner.

The firm have always used horses for deliveries to customers, although a fleet of vans has also covered routes between the four shops in the Mitcham area. Recently Turners, a family business since 1792, was taken over by Spillers.

“But the decision has had nothing to do with them. I think they are as sorry as we are. All the staff will miss them too,” said Mr Turner.

The three, Sally, (pictured above), Brandy and Billy are all aged between 12 and 14 years-old. Last year Sally surprised the firm by producing a foal as a momentoe of a holiday romance the previous year.

Now the three have been stabled with some friends of Mr Turner’s at Epsom where they will work in a riding school.