Stilton, the king of English cheese, is unique to the three East Midland counties of Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.
The name Stilton is a certification trademark vested in the Stilton Cheese Makers' Association, ensuring that Stilton cheeses are made to the traditional recipe, in the traditional way.
Stilton cannot, by law, be manufactured anywhere else in the world except the three counties mentioned. Originally marketed from the small town of Stilton, now in Cambridgeshire, the cheese became well known through the activities of Cooper Thornhill, of the Bell Inn, in the 1740s.
This remarkable man was the East of England representative of Coutts & Co., the London bankers.
He was assisted by an able dairywoman and cheesemaker, Frances Pawlett, of Wymondham in Leicestershire.
Thornhill used his entrepreneurial skills to bring Stilton to the London markets, and to ensure that hundreds of small dairies flourished in the region that is still the home of the cheese to this day.
This is the story of Stilton cheese and a photographic record of the people, places and dairies associated with one of the finest foods ever produced.