One thing pupils starting school in Bolton this term definitely won’t be able to enjoy is the free milk which was a key part of so many of our childhoods.
Originally introduced as part of the 1944 Education Act to try and combat the lack of vitamins in many youngsters’ diets - often resulting in the horrible condition, ricketts - free milk was served in special third-of-a-pint bottles at mid morning break. Often handed out by the class milk monitor, a coveted position for many pupils.
Initially it was available to all school children but in 1968, secondary pupils were denied their daily drink.
Three years later a certain Margaret Thatcher, who was at the time education Secretary, abolished free milk from children over seven earning her the nickname ‘Thatcher the milk snatcher’.
Infant pupils continued to enjoy their school milk, although in the 1980s it was at a substantial cost to the local authority.
These pictures are from 1988 when Bolton Council finally decided it could no longer afford to provide free milk to all its pupils under seven and the mid morning break would no longer be signalled by the tinkle of bottles followed by massed slurping.