Colston Bassett and District Dairy was built in 1913 following the idea of Dr William Windley. Whilst on his rounds, he encouraged local farmers to raise capital to build a dairy – he did not stop with farmers but persuaded other patients to subscribe for shares. £1,000.00 was raised from around forty people, half an acre of land was purchased from the squire – Mr Knowles and The Colston Bassett and District Dairy began. At the outset there were about sixteen farmer members supplying milk to the dairy and the first cheese was a hard-pressed Cheddar style cheese, due to war-time restrictions. Stilton was thought to be too much of a luxury to be produced during the war years. In 1920 the dairy started to make Stilton but stopped once again during WWII and went back to the Cheddar-style cheese. Gradually over time by the 1950s, Stilton was produced throughout the year. Today we produce our Stilton all the year round and also our award-winning Shropshire Blue.
Over the years although the farms supplying the Dairy have reduced from 16 to 4, it is the same pastures – the reduction is due to consolidation and growth in size of farms. Over the years improvements have been made to the dairy to comply with today’s rigorous demands of hygienic food production. During this time though, the method of manufacture has been kept as close to the traditional ways as possible retaining such labour intensive processes as hand-ladling the curds.
Colston Bassett Dairy has a long history of supplying quality specialist cheese shops, delicatessens, and wholesalers both in the UK, America and across Europe.