Affordable Housing, Cadbury style

Cadbury Daily Milk is world famous and is enjoyed by around 350 million people each year. First created in 1905 by George Cadbury using a glass and a half of fresh dairy milk, the brand is still a firm favourite and accounts for 12% of the chocolate market by itself.

George, together with his older brother Richard took over the family business in 1861 to go on to create one of the world’s best-known confectionary companies.

In 1878 their factory site in Birmingham had become too small and they wanted to expand the thriving business, and be able to offer their employees a better place to work. They bought 14 acres of land on the outskirts of the city and created a new model village known as Bournville. Orignially just consisting of a few rural cottages, Bournville became home to hundreds of Cadbury workers who enjoyed the benefits of cleaner air, gardens and other facilities which were the vision of the Cadbury brothers.

Cadbury paid higher wages than competitors and pioneered pension schemes, workers rights and offered every member of staff a full medical service. In 1893 George Cadbury expanded the model village at his own expense, by adding another 120 acres of land and by 1900 there were over 300 cottages built on 330 acres of land, providing the first low-density affordable housing.

The houses offered spacious rooms and large gardens, and were surrounded by parks, football and hockey pitches, a running track and swimming pools.

The facilities were open to everyone and were not exclusive to Cadbury employees and ultimately were home to schools, musuems and hospitals. Notably no pubs were ever built due to the Cadbury family being strict Quakers. Even to this day there is only one licenced bar in the whole of Bournville.

Bournville was one of the pioneering affordable housing projects, created by the Cadbury brothers ethics and their desire to provide their workers with a better standard of living through better pay, welfare and, fundamentally, housing.

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