Fordham Farm – Arthur and May Hollins

Arthur and May Hollins began producing yoghourt at Fordhall Farm in 1957, ahead of the multinationals that now control the current dairy market.

Arthur Hollins took over the tenancy at Fordhall in 1929 at the tender age of 13, after his father passed away. Following the intensive food production of the war effort, the land left to Arthur amounted to no more than a fallow malnourished soil, but the new farmer was soon struck by the big difference in the rich growth in the untouched woodlands.

Shortly after the Second World War he vowed never to put chemical fertilisers on the land at Fordhall again, relying solely on natural animal muck as fertiliser. He let the grassland fields return to nature, and built up a herd of dairy cows and a pioneering yoghurt enterprise managed with his first wife May. Being among the first in the country to commercially make and sell live yoghurt they were soon supplying many famous London and Edinburgh stores and markets.

After his death the farm was taken over by the teenaged children of his second marriage, Charlotte and Ben who raised money to run the farm by selling shares. Mary Keith’s community choir sang the songs to the play ‘Arthur’s Plough’ which was performed at the farm.