In the week of the Warwick Chocolate Festival, the social get-together at the Court House, “In The Ballroom” on October 9th heard all about the Birmingham-based Cadbury family who began making cocoa-based products in the early 19th Century and went on to create a chocolate empire.
It was a fascinating talk followed by a film from 1951, narrated by Richard Attenborough, showing the production process. It seems there was no ‘health and safety’ in 1951 – everything was touched directly by human hands – but there was no plastic in sight!
The speaker was Alan Thornton – no relation to Thornton’s Chocolates. He explained why all the famous old chocolate manufacturers were Quakers … Cadburys, Frys, Rountrees and Terrys. Because of their religion they were outcasts from ‘normal’ professions and education, so had to start their own businesses. They turned to chocolate as an alternative to alcohol!
Quakers also started Oxfam, Amnesty International and the RSPCA, and campaigned for the old age pension in 1908. They believed everyone was equal and they never lied. They believed in education for all.
So George Cadbury built Bournville as a village for his workers, providing plenty of green space and facilities including a school, a hospital and a swimming pool! But everything was segregated, no mixing of boys and girls. The only thing missing was a pub, as Quakers are teetotal. He believed that none can live or work where roses cannot grow (hence Roses chocolates).
Helen’s quiz on the theme of confectionery was very much enjoyed and produced joint winners. The cakes were delicious as always but sadly no chocolate cake!
The next edition of ‘In The Ballroom’ will be on Wednesday 13th November, when local historian Graham Sutherland will talk about Warwick past and present. There’s no need to book; just turn up at the Jury Street Court House in time for a 2pm start.