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Lymeswold cheese was an English cheese variety. Many English cheeses are named after regions but Lymeswold was not, although it may have been derived from the place name Wymeswold.[1] The cheese was a soft, mild blue cheese with an edible white rind,[2] much like Brie, and was inspired by French cheeses. It was similar to non-branded cheeses sold as Blue Brie. For the export market, the cheese was branded Westminster Blue, because people had difficulty pronouncing Lymeswold.


In 1979 the Milk Marketing Board began discussions with the large dairy firm Unigate that led in 1981 to the restructuring of its processing and marketing activities under the Dairy Crest brand to use surplus milk production for making other dairy products. The initiatives that followed included the launch in 1982 of Lymeswold cheese. It was at first produced at Cannington creamery in Somerset. The cheese's creation was hailed by Peter Walker, then Agriculture Minister, who said it would improve the balance of payments by replacing imports and becoming "one of our most successful cheese exports".

Rise and fall[]

The concept of Lymeswold was created by an advertising agency, 'Butler Dennis & Garland' in response to a brief from the Milk Marketing Board to make use of more milk. It was conceived after a review of upcoming types, where soft blue cheese seemed to be missing from the UK's indigenous repertoire. The village of Lymeswold was created as part of the brand idea. With heavy promotion and a very successful branding exercise, initial demand for Lymeswold exceeded supply. It has been suggested that the Board then released maturing stocks before they were ready, which gave the cheese a reputation for poor quality. Certainly the initial success of the cheese did not turn into steady long-term sales. It was later subjected to strong competition from Cambozola, a German cheese, and eventually ceased production in 1992. Dairy Crest said at the time that it "could not sustain demand". John Withley, then the restaurant critic of the Daily Telegraph, welcomed the news with "unfettered joy", saying it had always been "an artificial cheese".[3]

Continued influence[]

The name Lymeswold has lived on as one of many running jokes in Private Eye. As it is well known that Lymeswold is not a real location, the word is also sometimes used for the name of a generic fictitious English place.

In Episode 3 ("Casualties"), Series 3, of the British sitcom Men Behaving Badly, Gary (played by Martin Clunes) refers to the cheese impressions that he was discussing with his roommate Tony (played by Neil Morrissey), pointing at Deborah (played by Leslie Ash) and blurting at her, "Lymeswold!"


  1. Rance 1982
  2. Southall, Helen (1990). Good Housekeeping: The New Cookery Encyclopedia. Ebury Press, 260. 
  3. Looijen, Sytske (April 30, 1992). "European Topics". International Herald Tribune ( Archived from the original on 2007-03-02. Retrieved 2009-03-28.  (Note: this link appears to be dead.)