Didcot Dairy Story

by Didcot Dairy Story in Didcot, , United Kingdom

Didcot Dairy Story

Total raised £1,110

raised so far

13

supporters

We aim to reunite, reconnect, and rejoice in the stories and heritage of the Didcot Job’s Dairy community.

by Didcot Dairy Story in Didcot, , United Kingdom

We're still collecting donations

On the 15th April 2024 we'd raised £1,110 with 13 supporters in 69 days. But as every pound matters, we're continuing to collect donations from supporters.

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(Job’s Processing Plant, Didcot, 1948, Courtesy of the Roberts Foundation.)

A brief history:

Job's Dairy was once the largest privately owned dairy in the UK and was founded in 1819. Numerous Job’s Dairy farms, processing plants, depots and stores were located within the south of England from the 19th to the 20th century. Job’s was a family owned business, and often employed whole families within local areas. Some sites included accommodation for employees, and their families. Employees enjoyed a wide range of activities, facilitated by Job’s, including sporting tournaments, social dances, and an annual ‘Miss Job’ competition. As a result, Job’s was a community within a community.

The Didcot branch was acquired in 1935 and was a large Dairy processing and bottling plant, with an additional chicken egg farm. The plant was located West of the old railway line which ran from Didcot, via Newbury, to Southampton. This railway line is no longer in operation and was repurposed. It is now the raised 544 cycle route, running from Upton to Didcot. The land, once used by Job’s Dairy, in Didcot, was purchased and re-developed for housing in the late 1980s. The houses located on Western Avenue are believed to be the original location of the Job’s Dairy farm in Didcot. 

Didcot is a historic town, and its railway history is well known. The Dairy, however, is yet to be acknowledged. For those who can remember the Dairy, it holds a special place in their heart. It is important that this agricultural heritage is not lost forever. The Dairy site was re-developed for housing in the 1980s, and no known archaeological record exists, yet local people have found Job’s Dairy bottles when gardening. We believe the Dairy, and its community, wants to be acknowledged. Didcot is a growing town, with new developments taking place to expand the town and its population even further. Consequently, there are many new residents who may feel less connected to the town, the community, and its heritage. Additionally, long-standing residents have watched the town change significantly, especially in recent years. Providing a glimpse into the town’s agricultural and archaeological history provides an opportunity for the community, new and old, to come together in celebration of Didcot’s heritage.

Who we are:

  • A small group of volunteers dedicating their spare time to deliver this community project.
  • Our project leader and co-organiser, Leah and Ruby, grew up in Didcot and have connections to the Job's branch in Didcot. Leah is an archaeologist and researcher, who focuses on improving accessibility, and engagement, with archaeology for all. Ruby is a manager for a museum in Oxford and has knowledge of best practice within collections, exhibitions, and engagement. Our project advisor, Zena, lives in Oxford and has successfully led several heritage projects with grant funding.
  • We are partnering with other organisations and foundations who are contributing materials, time and space (at no cost) to help deliver this community project! 

Project Partners:

  • Roberts Foundation - They represent and support the former employees of Job's Dairy and are kindly providing us with full access to their archives. Loaned materials from the Roberts Foundation will be displayed as part of our museum exhibition!
  • Express Dairy Tales - Didcot Dairy was also owned and operated by Dairy Express, who bought the plant in 1970. Express Dairy Tales hosts a collection of materials associated with Dairy Express, including the Didcot site. They are kindly partnering with us to provide materials for display in our exhibition! 
  • Sobell House Hospice - We are fundraising for Sobell House Hospice to support the charity through donations. 
  • Museum of English Rural Life (MERL) - MERL will be hosting a digital exhibition to display content and materials gathered to accompany our physical exhibition at the Cornerstone Arts Centre. 

Our aims:

  • To reunite, reconnect, and rejoice in the stories and heritage of the Didcot Job’s community. 
  • To improve local knowledge of the town’s history and encourage young people within the community to learn more about Didcot’s heritage. 
  • Contribute to a shared sense of place for the Didcot community.
  • Provide a legacy resource for the community.

What we will deliver:

  • A physical exhibition, 'The Didcot Dairy Story', located at the Cornerstone Arts Centre, in Didcot (August 2024). Our exhibition will feature memoirs from those connected to the Didcot Job’s branch, loaned objects and original photographs collected by former employees and their families and much more!
  • An oral history of memories and stories from those who wish to share them! If you have a story to tell, please do get in touch by dropping us an email ([email protected]).
  • A digital exhibition featuring all of the content from the physical exhibition, for everyone to enjoy!
  • A miniature Ox statue, as part of the Oxfordshire Ox Trail, in support of Sobell House Hospice. This will accompany our exhibition and be located outside of the Cornerstone Arts Centre. This will be community decorated!
  • A 'Book of Job' zine, in honour of the original employee magazine, that documents the project and offers a printed version of the exhibition content. 
  • An 'Ode to Job' statue to mark the original location of the Didcot Job's Dairy. 

How will donations be used?:

  • Rental of the museum exhibition space for four weeks in August.
  • Exhibition materials.
  • Printing costs for 'Book of Job' zine.
  • Ox Trail miniature Ox statue, in support of Sobell House Hospice!
  • Marker for 'Ode to Job' on Western Avenue in Didcot.
  • Any further funding will be donated to charitable causes that assist in helping elderly people who feel isolated, and other organisations that benefit the Didcot community.

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Rewards

This project offered rewards

£50 or more

Book of Job

A free copy of our 'Book of Job' magazine which will include a history of the Didcot Job's Dairy, stories from former Job's employees and their families, photographs our exhibition and loaned community items!

£200 or more

Listed Supporter

Your name listed on our 'list of supporters' museum exhibition board!

£500 or more

A VIP at our exhibition launch party!

A special VIP invitation to be a guest at our exhibition launch party at the Cornerstone Arts Centre, Didcot, in August 2024. As a VIP you will be the first to see the exhibition and can feast on nibbles as we raise a toast to our guests and volunteers!

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