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The Life of Richard Cadbury (Hardback)

Socialist, Philanthropist & Chocolatier

Local History British History P&S History Social History Victorian Era 19th Century

By Diane Wordsworth
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 176
Illustrations: 32 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781526768254
Published: 26th November 2020

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In 1824, John Cadbury opened a grocer’s shop in Bull Street in Birmingham and started to sell tea, coffee and drinking chocolate alongside everything else. In 1831, he opened a factory and started to manufacture his own product, and by 1842 the company was selling almost 30 different types of drinking chocolate and cocoa.

In 1861, the now floundering firm was taken over by two of his sons, Richard and George, who turned things around and continued to grow the company into the organisation we see today.

There is a lot of information available about George Cadbury, but the only previously published biography of his older brother Richard is now out of print. The Life of Richard Cadbury is a brand-new biography hoping to put that straight, looking at the history and background behind the socialist, philanthropist and chocolatier.

So I jumped at the chance to read this book, thinking I'm one of Cadburys biggest customers lets see how it all began.
Richard Cadbury was the second son of Quaker John Cadbury's cocoa and chocolate factory.
Together with his younger brother George, he took over the family business in 1861 and in 1878 acquired 14 acres of land in open country, south of Birmingham, where they opened a new factory in 1879.

Over the following years, more land was bought and a model village was built for the workers which was known as Bournville.

What I discovered about Richard Cadbury wasn't really about Chocolate but about his heart. He had a huge and very kind heart which was apt considering he was credited for creating the first ever heart shaped chocolate box.

Later on Dairy Milk was suggested as a name after a customers daughter suggested it after they were all calling it Highland Milk, and Dairy Maid. Dairy Milk was launched in 1905. It was sold in unwrapped blocks and could be broken down into penny bars.

Ultimately Richard Cadburys beliefs were that all human beings should be treated equal and should live in peace. He believed in social responsibility and social reform. The brothers improved working conditions for the employees and community.

The brothers set new standards for working and living conditions which were unheard of in Victorian Britain and the Cadbury plant became known as "the factory in a garden"
Their aim was that one tenth of Bournville estate be laid out and used as parks, and recreation grounds and he did just that.

Richards father John Cadbury, a young quaker opened a shop in 1824, in Birmingham. He sold coffee, tea and drinking chocolate amongst other things.
He would of been proud to see how his beliefs were continued by future generations of Cadburys.

With the help of family letters and the remaining family members the author was able to tell us how the family lived their lives and dedicated themselves to the community.

The letters are quite detailed and are obviously from the late 1800's so the vocabulary used was different to todays. The read will not be for many as it features heavily on a quaker life and their beliefs.

Congratulations to the author for the well researched book. If you are ever in Bournville in Birmingham i highly recommend a visit to Cadburys World. Although I am not sure what Richard Cadbury would have thought of it!

NetGalley, Angela Groom

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This book has many diary entries, letters back and forth from and to Richard Cadbury. Having had Cadburys as a kid and fascinated by their ads, I couldn't wait to know the story. Richard Cadbury was a creative too who wrote poems and essays. Apart from being a good businessman he was a caring soul for all.

NetGalley, reader s

This book has been researched well using family archives and other documents and brings Richard Cadbury to life as a philanthropist as most of the Victorian chocolatier were and how also bought up the company from virtual ruin to a leading chocolate company. This also brings the story of this Cadbury to the modern world.

NetGalley, Stephen Hutchison

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A really detailed and interesting book about the Cadbury family. The business was failing, the product was inferior and had it not been for some inheritance money, the company would have gone! But this is more than a book about chocolate.

With the help of family letters and remaining family members the author was able to tell us so much about Richard. He was a kind, generous and good man but is, sadly, hardly remembered. He gave workers better working conditions, helped the poor, helped the elderly and so much more. I really enjoyed delving into the past of this remarkable man's life. I enjoyed reading this book.

NetGalley, Zoe Morton

About Diane Wordsworth

Diane Wordsworth’s work has appeared worldwide. Primarily a broadcast journalist, she also edits and proofreads books and magazines. Diane moved from Solihull to Yorkshire in 2004, where she now writes and edits on a full-time basis. She is currently exploring an A to Z of Yorkshire with her husband, Ian.

Perfect Partner

A History of Cadbury (Hardback)

When John Cadbury came to Birmingham in 1824, he sold tea, coffee and drinking chocolate in a small shop on Bull Street. Drinking chocolate was considered a healthy alternative to alcohol, something Cadbury, a Quaker, was keen to encourage. In 1879, the Cadburys moved to Bournville and created their ‘factory in a garden’ – an unprecedented move. It is now ironic that today’s Bournville is surrounded by that urban sprawl the Cadburys were so keen to get away from. This book looks at some of the social impact this company has had since its inception, both on the chocolate and cocoa business…

By Sir Dominic Cadbury, Diane Wordsworth

Click here to buy both titles for £27.98
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