It’s all about the cheese as Fred celebrates 90th

Master cheesemaker Fred Taylor cutting the curds and whey at Leagrams Dairy.
Master cheesemaker Fred Taylor cutting the curds and whey at Leagrams Dairy.

A Master Cheesemaker who turned 90 on Tuesday will celebrate this landmark birthday with a party in the Ribble Valley on Sunday at which he will present guests with a mini Wensleydale cheese that he made himself.

Fred Taylor put his smock back on at Leagrams Dairy at Chipping and set about making the cheeses which he will present to guests at his party at The Gibbon Bridge hotel, Chipping.

Master cheesemaker Fred Taylor with Leagrams Dairy master cheesemaker,  John Holden.

Master cheesemaker Fred Taylor with Leagrams Dairy master cheesemaker, John Holden.

A living legend within the industry, Fred helped supermarket chain Asda set up their cheese mongering department and also featured in one of the company’s early commercials.

He also worked very closely with Ken Morrison when he was establishing the renowned supermarket chain.

Fred, who worked at Butlers, Longridge, Carron Lodge, Inglewhite, and was a friend of renowned cheesemaker Bob Kitching who set up Leagram’s Organic Dairy at Chipping, also oversaw the huge change from farm dairies and small co-operatives to the large scale dairies that we know today and worked for Unilever until he was almost 80.

Fred, who lives in Salterforth, is a mine of information and still avidly watches the stock market on a daily basis.

Master cheesemaker Fred Taylor with the finished product.

Master cheesemaker Fred Taylor with the finished product.

“However, his real passion is cheese, and he’s a living legend within the industry,” said a good friend of Fred’s, Heidi Chapman.

“I’ve taken him to several dairies in the past few years, and you can guarantee that as soon as Fred turns up, someone will say, ‘Fred Taylor is here’ and the workers will all come out for a chat.”

Fred’s thinking behind presenting his birthday guests with a mini Wensleydale cheese is that he started out making Wensleydale some 75 years ago, and of all the cheeses he has made, this is the last cheese that he would like to make.

A book about Fred’s life was penned by Bill Mitchell entitled “Fred Taylor Yorkshire Cheesemaker” and tells the story of how Fred, who was born at a remote farm in upper Dentdale, found his true vocation after Frank Dinsdale opened a creamery and Fred applied himself to making the celebrated Wensleydale cheese.

Fred visited Chipping’s Leagrams Dairy, which is owned and run by Faye Kitching, and set about making his birthday cheese.

Leagrams make organic cheese using single herd milk from either cows or sheep. They still cut the curds and whey by hand and the process is very similar to that Fred would have encountered when he first made cheese around 1941.