HAPPY Days are here again! No, that isn't the start of an old bandwagon political tune, it's the unusual name given to the eager-looking pony featured down page.

Holding the bridle of Happy Days, a nimble beast bred down a horsey line used for racing, is legendary old-timer Joe Rainford. He's out on deliveries with his milk float, keenly helped by little Tommy White in his short pants and flat cap. (He'd now be around 90 if still alive!).

Though the horse looks under control here, you could never bet on Happy Days. If startled, he bolted and no one could catch him. Luckily this was a rare occurrence!

Notice the two milk cans being held by Tommy and the large milk churn on the lightweight float. I'm indebted to reader Peter Harvey for loan of the picture and his notes.

Joe and Jack Rainford went to Clay Lane Farm in 1927, setting up their delivery round, serving many parts of the town.

It's amazing that the name Happy Days is still remembered almost 80 years on.

Peter, from Eccleston, can personally recall helping Bob Harris deliver milk with his blind horse, Queenie in the shafts. Milk was measured out in pint and half-pint levels, but delivery couldn't be made unless the householder was there to take the stuff indoors by jug.

John Rainford, now 78, still recalls early mornings in Clay Lane and later at Higher Barrowfield Farm where the business became motorised, using the now traditional electric-powered floats.

He also tells a charming story. Milkmen, just after the war, would go to the 6.30am mass at Holy Cross, St Helens, before making Sunday deliveries. Some dawn-time folk would lift milk from the floats, leaving full payment on the driving seat for when the milkman came out of church.

Our Happy Days picture was taken in Howard's Lane, just about where St Julie's Church now stands. In the background, is Carmelite Convent, given to the nuns in 1914 by Alfred Walmsley Cotham. Known as Springfield House, it was surrounded by a high wall so characteristic of the great houses of the day.

Says Peter: "I remember Haresfinch House having such a wall, up to perhaps 1950. And, famously, the Score stretch, too, at Sherdley Park."

Currently, Peter is looking at the role of those Catholics who gave St Helens its Hardshaw Hall, later to become Providence Free Hospital, and Springfield House for the Carmelite Convent.

ANYONE able to help would be welcomed by Peter who can be contacted on St Helens 604291.