Home sweet home

A look at the his­tory be­hind Bournville, the model vil­lage de­vel­oped for Cad­bury work­ers

Period Living - - Contents -

As the first bricks were laid for a new choco­late fac­tory on mead­ow­land just south of Birm­ing­ham, it was hous­ing re­former Ge­orge Cad­bury’s plans for its im­me­di­ate sur­round­ings that were the most in­ter­est­ing thing. A whole vil­lage of spa­cious homes for work­ers – and not just those who worked for Cad­bury’s – were cen­tral to the 1879 project, known as the Fac­tory in a Gar­den. Out­side the fac­tory gate were parks, a cricket pitch, schools, a li­brary and well-built homes with gar­dens where work­ers could grow their own. Ge­orge’s vi­sion for so­cial change soon be­gan to make a dif­fer­ence, and the happy, healthy work­force and res­i­dents thrived. The 330-acre es­tate be­came a char­i­ta­ble trust in 1900, and just 20 years af­ter the vil­lage’s foun­da­tion, the gen­eral death rate and in­fant mor­tal­ity rate for Bournville was sig­nif­i­cantly lower than that for Birm­ing­ham as a whole. Sweet suc­cess in­deed.

Fox Hill Close in 1921 – all the homes were light, airy and had good san­i­ta­tion

Join­ing Easter egg halves at Cad­bury’s choco­late fac­tory in Fe­bru­ary 1932

Early box mak­ing in the Bournville fac­tory

A breath of fresh air – Bournville vil­lage homes in around 1905

Work­ers op­er­ate the wooden box nail­ing ma­chines, circa 1890

These first cot­tages were built for Cad­bury’s key work­ers in 1879

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