John Meads 2009
The Meads family connection with Burton Latimer started in the late 1870s/early 1880s when William Meads moved here. He had started life as an agricultural labourer in Gawcott, near Buckingham but as a teenager he moved to Northamptonshire to take up work at Cransley Furnaces and lodged with his Aunt Sarah and her husband William Harris, who were themselves from Buckinghamshire. By 1884 they had all moved from Cransley to Burton Latimer, where they became involved, firstly in the ironstone industry and then shoemaking.
In 1884 William married Ann Stokes, daughter of Thomas Stokes and they went on to have eleven children, ten of them surviving. In 1893 he was listed as an inaugural shareholder of the Burton Latimer Gas Company and his uncle, William Harris, was by now manager at the Cranford Ironstone and Limestone pits and had done well enough by about 1895 to build a shoe factory in
The 1901 Census describes his occupation as: 'Shoemaker' and employment status as: 'Worker working at home'. A few years later he was appointed school caretaker at the
Amongst his other interests was the Britannia Prize Band, in which he played with his brother Jesse and eldest son James. He was its secretary and helped to organise the popular annual band competitions which drew competitors from other local towns and villages. In 1915 he was appointed a Parish constable by the Parish Council and at about the same time his wife Ann was on the committee and helping to run the Old Persons Treat, while his son Tom was its secretary.
His dairy business and its milk rounds prospered and Ann ran the shop which sold dairy products and ice cream until 1935 when he retired and his son Walter and his wife Phyllis took over.
William died in 1935 and Ann in 1945.
William and Ann’s family.
James born 1885 married Alice Tailby 1911- died 1962
Bandsman. Served as AB in Royal Naval Division in WWI. Worked at Coles Boot Co. For several years was secretary of the Britannia Club
Sarah Ann born 1887 married Raymond Hastings 1915 died 1981
A teacher who began as a student teacher at the
Alma born 1890 married Ezra Coles 1913 died 1976.
Moved to Raunds where her husband was a Co-op butcher
Thomas William born 1892 married Mabel Jepson 1922 died 1948.
Trained as a school teacher. Served in WWI as 2nd Lieut. Royal Garrison Artillery. Moved away thought to have been a civil servant
Frederick George born 1895 married Louisa May Wildman 1915
Served as Private in Northants Regt. in WWI. Motor engineer. Moved to
Harold Herbert born 1898 married Myra Hanson died 1958
Wounded in WWI with the West Surrey Regt. Was an engineer in Port Talbot Dry Docks
Ivy Annie born 1901 married Fred Gardener 1925.
Arthur John Ivy’s twin died in infancy
Walter Charles born 1904 married Phyllis E. S. Smith 1930 died 1970
Took over the dairy business see below
Wilfred Jesse born 1907 unmarried died 1948
Took part in D-Day landings with the Honourable Artillery Company and then worked in market gardening at Spalding.
Alfred Victor born 1910 married Eva Moore 1936 died 1943
Foreman at Hart & Levy until called up. Died over
Walter Charles Meads worked with his father in the dairy business, W. Meads & Son, as soon as he left school and when William retired in 1935 he moved into the dairy and shop with his three children, John, Noel and Cynthia. Walter ran the milk rounds and his wife Phyllis looked after the shop, which gradually changed from selling only dairy produce to general groceries.
He saw the business grow from churns and buckets on a hand cart through cardboard topped bottles on a horse drawn float to aluminum capped bottles from petrol vehicles. Before the war milk was delivered twice daily but this was reduced to once a day because milk was rationed during the war. First to sell milk in cardboard cartons in Burton Latimer, obtained from a farm at Geddington and first to introduce aluminum capped bottles in Burton Latimer. Milk was first supplied by local farms e.g.
Apart from one term, he was a member of the Burton Latimer Urban District Council from 1939 until his death in 1970. He declined the chairmanship because of the extra work it would involve with his seven-days-a-week work commitments.
He served in the Home Guard during W.W II and helped to run the Pig Club, which raised pigs in back yards to supplement the meat ration.
Walter and Phyllis’s family
John born 1931 married Janet Sharman 1956
Noel born 1933 married Margaret Anne Smither 1957
Cynthia born 1935 unmarried - died 1997
After Walter died in 1970, the dairy, by now re-named Meads Dairy, was run by his son John and the shop by Walter’s widow Phyllis and later by his daughter Cynthia. By this time, in addition to traditional dairy goods, the shop was selling a much wider range of foodstuffs including bread, cakes and confectionery, cooked meats, soft drinks and general provisions. At various times the milk rounds covered Burton Latimer, Isham and Barton Seagrave using petrol and electric vehicles. The business closed in 1995 and the premises became a private residence until Phyllis died aged 101 in 2006. It is currently offices and stores of Griffith Air Conditioning.
John continued in his father’s footsteps by becoming a councillor. He served on Burton Latimer Urban District Council 1970-75 and Burton Latimer Town Council from 1975 until retiring in 1995. He was a member of Kettering Borough Council from 1974 until stepping down in 1999. He and his wife Janet were inaugural members of Burton Latimer Heritage Society and John has been its secretary since it was formed in 2000.