By Dave Joy
Reviewed by Colin Serjent
Having lived on a diary farm in my youth this book has a special appeal for me. I can never forget the first time I drank milk straight from a cow, not the tasteless stuff you get from supermarkets, charging £1 for four pints of so-called milk.
Author Dave Joy reflects on his own family history to relate the experiences the Liverpool cowkeepers experienced.
For some unbeknown reason the Joy family moved from the beautiful surroundings of the upper Wharfedale Valley, set in the Yorkshire Dales, to move to the urban environment of Liverpool.
Before long they set up successful cowhouses in the Liverpool districts of Garston and Wavertree. Over a number of generations they continued to maintain this tradition and became one of the last remaining cowkeeping families in the city.
There are many archive photographs of this form of lifestyle in the book, the oldest, showing a gathering of the Joy family, dating back to 1880.
The book does not restrict itself to the practice of cowkeeping in Liverpool. It also goes into detail about the tradition of tending cows in the Yorkshire Dales.
The practice of keeping cows was not restricted to just several locations. It was common in many urban areas in the 1800s.
In explaining why he decided to write this book Dave Joy said “As a boy living on a dairy farm was a very special place for me. So much so that as a grown man I wanted to know more about the live of my antecedents. This is their story and the story of the many others who became Liverpool cowkeepers.”