Richard Todd Dairy Farmer

The year is 1964 and the smartly dressed driver delivering cartons of cream to the village grocer in the Shiplake area,  from his Land-Rover did not seem to be just another tradesman. 

Eagle eyed  onlookers were reminded of  Robin Hood, Rob Roy or even Guy Gibson from  from The Dambusters film. They were right. The driver was none other than  actor Richard Todd. The cream came from his farm in Shiplake, near Henley on Thames from a growing herd of pedigree Jersey cattle.

In order to test local markets and discover the problems of producing and transporting the cream, Mr. Todd carried his first deliveries in his estate Land-Rover.

The products caught on and soon a driver and small van were delivering regular supplies. So good was the quality that demand exceeded supply. Alternative sources had to be established.

In September 1964, with Richard  Todd as chairman and managing director, Shiplake Dairies Ltd. was formed and became the heart of a small group of companies of which Richard Todd Farms is the marketing company for all dairy produce.

Richard Todd Dairy Farmer 2


ABOVE: Richard Todd looks proudly at his Refrigerated Delivery Van

After experimental work with a number of home-made types of transport refrigeration, Mr. J. Coates, general manager of Shiplake Dairies, enlisted the aid of Mr. Alex Schepen, of Abingdon. Mr. Schepen suggested Petter mechanical transport refrigeration units and with the assistance of the bodybuilding manager of City Motors, Oxford, designed their first economically successful refrigerated vehicle.

A Bedford KB 2-ton chassis, it was equipped with a Thermo-King HPA2OD transport refrigeration unit, hydraulically operated from a gearbox p.t.o. There was a single-access rear door with mounting step incorporated in the rear bumper.

Vehicle insulation was made up from 3M. polystyrene foam on sides, rear and roof with 4in. thickness on the bulkhead, body lining of 18swg aluminium and a galvanized steel floor.

To overcome the problem of maintenance of vehicle livery, extensive use was made of glassfibre-reinforced polyester sheeting which undoubtedly helped the efficiency of the insulation.

Richard Todd Dairy Farmer 3

ABOVE – One of the Richard Todd Farms Delivery Vans.

Richard Todd with his wife and family lived at Haileywood House Nr Shiplake.

He became a Dairy Farmer and loved it but as he later said it did get in the way of his film career which was about on the wane by 1964 when these pictures were taken. This venture did not last that long.

He sold the house and moved to the Cotswolds which was a mistake as he later admitted – and shortly after that he left his wife Kitty and eventually married Virginia.

Richarsd Todd and His Son Peter

The picture above shows Richard Todd with his son Peter taken a little time before the pictures at the top of the article I would think



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