The Story of Cadbury - Continued

War Years and Onward

Industrial technology made such advances during the First World War that in the years between the wars, the Bournville factory was rebuilt and equipped for mass production.

During the war years, cocoa and chocolate products were regarded as essential foods for the forces and civilian population, with production coming under Government control.

After the war, "luxury" chocolate became well within the financial reach of the majority of the population. Several factors led to the reduction in prices, including falling raw material costs, processing efficiency, lower transport charges and increased production, supported by advertising and greater sales.

In 1919, Cadbury Brothers Limited merged with J. S. Fry & Sons of Bristol, whose product range complemented Cadbury's. Fry's Chocolate Cream, a plain chocolate bar with a white fondant centre launched in 1853 (probably the oldest brand in England), and Turkish Delight, remain favourites today.

Cadbury's Growth

We grew from strength to strength with new technology being introduced to make our confectionery business one of the most efficient in the world.

For more than 100 years Cadbury was essentially a family business, although non-family directors were appointed for the first time in 1943. However in 1962, the whole structure was re-organised and a publicly listed company established - Cadbury Limited.

In 1964, the company expanded into sugar confectionery with the acquisition of Pascall Murray, manufacturers of well-known brands such as Pascall Fruit Bonbons, Marshmallows and Chocolate Eclairs. Sugar confectionery brands now include Trebor Bassett, Barrett, Maynard, Sharps and Pascall.

The 1969 merger of the Cadbury Group with Schweppes, and the subsequent development of the business, led to Cadbury Schweppes becoming a major force in the international market.

A Progressive Workplace

Cadbury Employee

Cadbury Employee

The Cadbury brothers were pioneers in industrial relations and employee welfare. As the company prospered new work practice ideas were implemented and additional facilities were provided for the workforce.

A piecework system was related to output and small rewards were given for punctuality. Cadbury was the first firm to introduce the Saturday half day holiday (five and a half day working week) and were pioneers in adopting the custom of closing the factory on Bank Holidays.

Young employees were encouraged to attend night school and were allowed to leave work an hour early twice a week.

When the new factory was built at Bournville it had many facilities which were unknown in Victorian times - properly heated dressing rooms; kitchens for heating food; separate gardens for men and women as well as extensive sports fields and women's and men's swimming pools. Sports facilities included football, hockey and cricket pitches, tennis and squash racquet courts and a bowling green.

Country outings and summer camps were organised. Special workers' fares were negotiated with the railway company and 16 houses were built for senior employees.

Morning prayers and daily bible readings, first started in 1866 to preserve a family atmosphere, were not abandoned until 50 years later, when the size of the workforce was too large for such an assembly.

The Bourneville Village Housing Project

George Cadbury

George Cadbury

George Cadbury was a housing reformer interested in improving the living conditions of working people. In 1895 he bought 120 acres near the factory and began to build houses in line with the ideals of the embryo Garden City movement.

Motivation for building the Bournville Village was two-fold. Firstly, George Cadbury wanted to provide affordable housing in pleasant surroundings for wage earners. The second reason was that as the Bournville factory grew, local land value increased and was ready to fall into the hands of developers and the brothers did not want their 'factory in a garden' to be hemmed in by monotonous streets.

The community was designed to be mixed in terms of both class and occupation, not just a village for Cadbury workers.

In 1900 George Cadbury handed over the land and houses to the Bournville Village Trust, with a charter to devote revenue to the extension of the estate and promote housing reform. The Trust is separate from the Cadbury business, although members of the Cadbury family continue to act as Trustees.

Employee Councils

In the early days at Bournville, Cadbury Brothers was a family business in the widest sense of the word with the employees being thought of as part of the family.

With the expansion of the business, a more formal management structure evolved, and works committees were set up in 1905 to deal with matters affecting employees.

Democratically elected works councils were set up in 1918, one for men and another for women, with equal numbers of management and worker representatives.

The councils were concerned with working conditions, health, safety, education, training and the social life of the factory and its workers. They remained unchanged for over half a century until 1965, when the men's and women's councils were merged.

In 1969, the Council was unionised and trade union leaders played a major role in the work of the Council until its dissolution in the late 1970s.

Today there is still employee participation in labour relations and negotiations.