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George Cadbury
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Great Britons: 250 Lives

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Who was George Cadbury?

Factory owner and Philanthropist.

Date and Place of Birth:

19th September 1839, Edgbaston, Birmingham, England.

Family Background:

Son of John Cadbury, a tea and coffee dealer, and Candia. George and his brother Richard took over their father's failing chocolate business in April 1861. The cadbury's were members of the Society of Friends or Quakers.


His education at local Quaker schools finished abruptly when he was 16 at the death of his mother.

Chronology/Biography of George Cadbury:

1855: Death of his mother. His father's health was also poor and George joined his brothers to help out in the family business.

1861: His eldest brother RIchard and he took control of the company.

1866: The Cadbury Company became the first in Britain to sell cocoa as a drink. THe beans were ground with sugar to make a powder to which milk and hot water were added. Despite his hectic business life Cadbury still taught on Sundays at the Birmingham Adult School and was well known for his good works to those less well off than himself.

1879: Headquarters of the Cadbury Chocolate and Cocoa firm moved to Bournville, Birmingham as the existing premises had been outgrown. A model factory and village was built at Bournville and was one of the first examples of a garden city in England. Cadbury built 24 houses on the site for the main workers but later another 300 were added to form the attractive Bournville Village. These houses were vastly superior to other homes of the working class and Cadbury saw to it that each had its own garden. Other facilities such as schools, wash houses reading rooms and hospitals were all included in the Vilalage. Cad bury also encouraged sporting activity amongst his employees.

1897: The first production of milk chocolate began. The first chocolate was based on the Swiss model but Cadbury's later added full cream milk to make the famous lighter coloured Cadbury's Dairy Milk. Cadbury was actively involved in politics and supported William Gladstone and became a Councillor for the Liberal Party on Birmingham Town Council and Worcestershire County Council.

1902: He became proprietor of the newspaper the "Daily News" which he used to put forward his views on social reform such as the introduction of the old age pension.

1906: Cadbury paid over £60,000 into a pension fund for his employees.He still taught at Sunday School and organised events for local children in his specially constructed theatre in the grounds of his home Northfield Manor.

1914: A devote pacifist who had opposed the Boer War he was dismayed at how the Liberals took the country into the Fist World War and switched his allegiance to the Independent Labour Party who were anti war.


To Elizabeth Mary Taylor.

Places of Interest:


Cadbury World, Bournville
Bournville Village Green
Former home now Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre, 1046 Bristol Road, B29 6LJ

Date and Place of Death:

24th October 1922, Northfield Manor, Birmingham, England.

Age at Death:


Site of Grave:

Ashes in an urn in the Friend’s Meeting House, Bournville, Birmingham.

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