It’s famous for housing the workers of one of Birmingham’s longest-established employers in days gone by and popular Bournville’s future is looking good but its past is almost more interesting. Chocolate firm Cadbury (it dropped the ’s several years ago) has been at the centre of controversial headlines in recent years. In 2010 American food giant Kraft bought it and there was criticism for changing the shell on its famous Creme Eggs from Dairy Milk to a standard cocoa mix. However, Cadbury isn’t new to making the news ever since its founder Quaker George Cadbury decided in 1893 to build a ‘model village’ for his workers.
He and his brother had already moved production from Victorian inner city Birmingham into the neighbouring countryside and Cadbury wanted to create a healthy environment for his workers to live in. This was not only down to his Quaker sensibilities, but a belief that healthy employees, away from the smoggy, polluted back streets and unhealthy tenements of the inner city, could only be beneficial to the business. The result was the Bournville estate, all paid for out of Cadbury’s own pocket.
By 1900, the1.3km sq estate had 313 houses and the development grew even more in the 20th century. Many homes had large gardens, thanks to Cadbury’s belief that a good dose of fresh air was the answer to most ills.
Bournville proved immensely popular and became the blueprint for other model villages set up around the country by industrialists to house their workers such as Port Sunlight built by the Lever brothers on The Wirral and the New Bolsover Model Village, created for mineworkers in Derbyshire.
Still going strong today, the Bournville area of Birmingham is a great place to live and work, and you don’t have to be a Cadbury employee to take advantage of its ‘arts and crafts’ style houses.
Home to Mondelez’s Global Centre of Excellence for chocolate research and development where every new Cadbury product starts life, Bournville is popular with students and the biggest age group living there is the 25 to 40-year-olds, so there’s a real buzz about the place. In fact, research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation says it is ‘one of the nicest places to live in Britain’.
Transport links to the rest of the city are good and house and rent prices are well below prices in London, which is only an hour away by train.Having the National Exhibition Centre and Birmingham’s huge retail sector on its doorstep means that for anyone living, job searching or working in Birmingham, they’re sure to find that life is still pretty sweet in Bournville.
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