LAST week’s curiosity was a stone marking the site of West Marton Creamery. The dairy - now a housing estate was opened in 1900 by Col Richard Foulis Roundell, then owner of the Gledstone Estate. It closed a hundred years later, just before Christmas, 2000. In a book on the villages of West Marton and East Marton, David Nelson, whose family now owns the estate, writes that Col Roundell built the creamery so his tenant farmers would have somewhere to send their milk.

The Dairy Supply Company of London supplied machinery to ‘flash’ pasturise the milk, and carbon dioxide refrigerators cooled the milk and also provided cold storage for butter and cream. The creamery installed a machine to fill sterilised milk into bottles and machinery for the production of Wensleydale cheese. For many years the creamery was mainly concerned with the production of fresh cream, Wensleydale cheese, cream cheese and the dispatch of liquid milk in churns to West Riding and Lancashire. This was taken by horse drawn vehicles until 1920 and then by motor vehicle to Elslack Station for dispatch by rail. In 1947,West Marton Dairies Ltd was incorporated and extensions were built to increase capacity. Expansion was rapid from 1947 to 1960. Davy’s Dairies, Bradford, Townend Bros, Blackburn and Vale of Lune Creamery Barbon, were acquired and the creamery intake rose to 25,000 gallons, or 112,000 litres per day. The West Marton group of companies was taken over by Associated Dairies in 1960, and in 1987, the creamery was bought by a subsidiary of Uniliver and began trading as British Creameries. In 1999 the dairy was sold to Yelding Tree Ltd.

Suggestions for this week’s curiosity please to before 8am on Monday.