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Sunday, 13 October 2013


After serving an apprenticeship in Leeds, 23-year-old English Quaker John Cadbury opened a tea and coffee shop in Bull Street Birmingham. He offered tea (for which he employed a Chinese man to make) and coffee.

John Cadbury was listed in the 1828-29 Directory of Warwickshire as a tea dealer.

Cadbury soon added cocoa to his product list, powdering it himself with a mortar and pestle. The Cadburys (like other famous chocolate families, such as Fry and Rowntree) were Quakers, and the sale of cocoa and chocolate as drinks was seen as part of the fight against alcohol.

Cadbury later moved into the production of a variety of cocoa and drinking chocolates, made in a factory in Bridge Street and sold mainly to the wealthy because of the high cost of production. He became a partner with his brother Benjamin and the company they formed was called 'The Cadbury Brothers of Birmingham.

John Cadbury began a campaign against animal cruelty, forming the Animals Friend Society, a forerunner of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

In 1861 John Cadbury retired and ceded control of operations to his two oldest sons, Richard and George. By 1878 the business had grown to employ 200 workers.

Cadbury's created the first heart-shaped chocolate box. Richard Cadbury, the son of John Cadbury, came up with the idea for St. Valentine’s Day, in 1861.

Such was the success of their cocoa and drinking chocolate drinks that the Cadbury brothers stopped selling tea and coffee thus freeing them to concentrate on their more popular beverages.

It was a rule of Cadbury's that women had to leave work when they got married, and wedding gifts of a bible and a carnation were given to women who left to get married. This was on the insistence of George Cadbury who didn't want to take mothers away from their children, and who believed there were plenty of lazy husbands who would be content to send their wives out to work instead of working themselves.

Cadbury's developed the garden village of Bournville; now a major suburb of Birmingham. It had 313 houses by 1900, all built by chocolate-maker George Cadbury for his workers on 120 acres of land he’d bought in 1893, and all featuring big gardens and modern interiors.

The family developed the Cadbury's factory in Bourneville, and the district around the factory has been 'dry' for over 100 years, with no alcohol being sold in pubs, bars or shops.

In 1905 Cadbury's introduced to the world their Dairy Milk chocolate bar.

Cadbury donated 3,500lb of chocolate to Robert Scott for his ill-fated 1912 expedition to the South Pole.

Cadbury's released the first filled eggs in 1923, but the Creme Eggs we all know today were introduced to stores only in 1963.

Cadbury's was the second largest candy and chocolate company in the world, employing 70,000 people in 50 countries until it was acquired in a hostile takeover by US giant Kraft in 2010. It is now a subsidiary of the "Mondelez International family."

Cadbury once owned a specific shade of purple – defined as Pantone 2685C - and no other company could use the specific color that appeared on Dairy Milk packaging. It wasn’t until Nestle took them to court, lost a four year court battle and then won an appeal, that other companies could use the color freely.

Roald Dahl, the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, was a taster for the Cadbury chocolate company when he was a boy.

A bar of Cadburys Dairy Milk chocolate is sold every two seconds, which is enough each year, to cover every Premier League and Football League pitch five times over.

Every year in the UK, Cadbury sells more than three Creme Eggs for every person who lives there.

Source Food For Thought: Extraordinary Little Chronicles of the World by Ed Pearce 

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