Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: September 27, 2019
Webpage updated: September 27, 2019




The Plymouth business house of Messrs Three Towns Dairy Limited was located at 52 Union Street and 8 Westwell Street, Plymouth, before the Second World War.  The Westwell Street premises were destroyed during the War but the company opened up additional depots and cafes at 105 Tavistock Road and 47 Mutley Plain.

Advert for the Three Towns Dairy, Plymouth

Although born at Liss, in Hampshire, on October 30th 1847 and brought up at Ventnor, on the Isle of Wight, Mr William Coryton, the son of Mr George Coryton, gentleman, moved to Cornwall in the 1860s to live with his uncle, Mr Augustus Coryton, at Pentillie Castle, Pillaton.  Augustus was a landowner and magistrate and it did not take long before William also became a magistrate and farmed the 450 acre estate for his uncle.  At the time of the 1881 census, he was employing 15 men, 4 boys and 9 women.

He had evidently spotted the opportunity that presented itself with the large explosion in the population of the Three Towns of Plymouth, East Stonehouse and Devonport, and in 1880 formed the Three Towns Dairy company.  He was greatly proud of the fact that his herd of dairy cows was completely free of tuberculosis and used this to promote the distribution of his milk around the three towns.

Mr William Coryton married Miss Evelyn Annie Parker, the second daughter of Admiral George Parker, of Delamore, at Cornwood Parish Church in 1887.

He inherited his uncle's estates when he died on September 7th 1891.  His most noteworthy achievement was the reclamation, started in 1899, of Viverdon Downs, an area of boggy, acid land covered with gorse and rank vegetation.  So bad was the land that teams of six horses were used for ploughing.  But he successfully drained and cultivated it and thus brought into practical use some 600 acres of previously useless land.

Mr William Coryton died at Pentillie Castle, in the parish of Saint Mellion, Cornwall, on August 27th 1919.  In addition to his agricultural work, he was a justice of the peace for Cornwall and master of the Dartmoor Hunt.  He was succeeded to the estates, and presumably to the Three Towns Dairy Company, by his eldest son, Mr John Tillie Coryton, a retired army captain, who was 31 years of age just three days before his father's death.  It is not known if either of the other two sons, Mr Edward George Coryton and Mr William Alexander Coryton, became involved with the running of the business.

Mr T H Malpass was the managing director of the business after the Second World War.  The headquarters was at 51/52 Union Street, Plymouth, and there were branch depots at 105 Tavistock Road (part of the building that is currently The Roundabout Public House) and 47 Mutley Plain.

On Tuesday August 30th 1949 the Company pensioned-off three of their milk round horses.  Mr W J Brown had been their stableman.  The last one, named "Baby", finished its working life on Saturday September 3rd 1949 after 17 years trotting around the Mutley area under the charge of milkman, Mr G Bird.

The assistant general manager was a Mr Percy Waldron.  He had joined the Company in 1915, unofficially, cleaning horses and saddles during the school lunchtime.  He officially started work there in 1917, at the age of 12, as an office boy.  At that time the dairy used to produce 130 gallons of milk a day.  He was assistant manager by the age of 20.

An advert for the Three Towns Dairy, Plymouth, from 1953.

An advert from 1953.

As from Monday April 5th 1954 The Three Towns Dairy Limited was amalgamated with Messrs Trafalgar Dairies Limited and was taken over by Messrs Cow and Gate Limited, who ran the new operation as Messrs Plymouth Dairies Limited.

Production at that time was 6,187 gallons a day.  Mr P W L Waldron became manager of the depot in Union Street until he left the Company in 1957.

Mr John Tillie Coryton died at Pentillie on November 30th 1965, aged 77 but there is no indication in his obituary that he had anything to do with the Company.