Serving up a slice of local dairy's history

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SINGLETON'S Dairy began in 1934 when Robert and his wife Duillia Singleton incorporated the company to purchase milk from neighbouring farms.

Prior to that time they had been producing fine Lancashire cheese from their own cow's milk at Cromblehome Farm on Beacon Fell in rural Lancashire.

In the early 1900s cheese making in Lancashire was a well established and important source of income for many dairy farmers such as the Singleton's.

Lancashire had the deserved reputation of being a high quality, versatile cheese that was equally delicious as an ingredient or eaten on its own. The annual cheese fair in Preston brought huge numbers of cheeses to the town's straw-strewn covered market where they were sold.

Champion

Singleton's was a very successful dairy from the beginning winning the coveted Supreme Champion award for its Lancashire cheese in its very first year as a limited company.

The future looked very bright for the dairy.

However, as the market developed and tastes changed Singleton's struggled to keep pace and in 1959 Alan Riding, grandson-in-law of the founders Robert and Duillia, was asked to take over and attempt to reinvigorate the somewhat struggling business.

Alan proved to be an enthusiastic and very innovative cheese maker taking the company from a relatively small Lancashire cheese producer to a significant force in regional cheese and butter production in Britain.

Bill Riding, Alan's son and fourth generation cheese maker, joined in 1984 after first attending agricultural college and took full control of the business in 1995 along with his sister Tilly.

They have, along with their loyal staff, continued to develop the Singleton's brand and product range building a very successful export arm to the business.

Tilly and Bill have seen the development of a number of very successful British cheese brands such as Grandma Singletons, named after their great-grandmother Duillia Singleton, and Beacon Fell Traditional Lancashire which, thanks to Bill, also has European Protected Designation Origin status to the same level as champagne or Parma ham.

More recently, Singleton's have developed a new range of Lancashire cheese and butter made exclusively from milk supplied by a small number of farming families in and around the Forest of Bowland, just five minutes drive from the dairy.

The company has also recently been awarded the Sainsbury's Own Label Regional Supplier of the Year.