Born just across the Welsh border in Monmouthshire in 1833, Gwen grew up on a dairy farm with her parents; where she and her older brother worked just as hard as their father did to keep enough income to feed the family. She was used to hard work, and strong enough to carry buckets and pails with ease.
After the death of her father in 1849 and the subsequent closure of the farm, Gwen struggled to find any work in Wales. So she joined dozens of other Welsh girls, and travelled to London to find better fortune there.
The chance meeting of a Welsh dairy farmer on the outskirts of London willing to hire her to walk his milk into the city every morning to sell was the opportunity she needed for a fresh start. Her history on the farm gave her a natural aptitude for the work and soon became a familiar face on the streets of London, her yoke on her shoulders and her pails full to the brim.
She can get to all her regular customers by 8am every morning, back to the dairy for a refill, and spends the rest of the day wandering the streets for nannies and mothers of children, and any who will buy her milk. And while she would never tamper with the milk that goes to her regulars, over the years she has learned a few tricks to slyly make her wares go a little further to make a few more pennies in an afternoon. If you pay for a pint; you’ll get a full pint, she promises. But perhaps best not to question what’s in it.
As trade starts to dwindle due to an unfortunate outbreak of Typhoid among her regulars, she still has dreams of returning to her homeland, to the fine Welsh countryside farms rather than the close and dusty city dairies near London. Until that day, she fills her days learning all the neighbourhood gossip from the customers on her daily walk.