John Cadbury (1801-1899) was the
first of the Cadbury family to become involved in chocolate when he
opened his shop in Bull Street, Birmingham in 1824. In 1847 the
construction of a new railway tunnel forced John to move premises and
he rented a factory in Bridge Street. John Cadbury retired in 1861
and the business was taken over by his sons, George and Richard. As
the business built up the Bridge Street premises was no longer large
enough so in 1878 the Cadbury Brothers bought a large plot of loan at
Bournville. The Bournville site had excellent rail and canal
connections. It was located alongside both the Birmingham West
Suburban Railway (owned by the Midland Railway and soon to be double
tracked and extended to New Street station) and the Birmingham and
Worcester canal. The Bournville factory opened in 1879, at a time
when the village was still a part of Worcestershire.
This evocative photograph of No.14 (North British No.28037 of 1961) was taken on 8th May 1976 and is
courtesy of the Industrial Railway Society Howard Earl collection.
There was also a railway station alongside the factory at Bournville that had opened on 3rd April 1876
with the rest of the Birmingham West Suburban Railway. The current
station is now painted purple and is called 'Bournville for Cadbury
World'. The 'Cadbury World' visitor centre is one of the premier
tourist locations in the West Midlands and attracts thousands of
visitors from all over the world. 'Cadbury World' is a short walk
away around the side of the chocolate factory. The 'Cadbury World'
visitor centre replaced the former organised tours of the factory.
Sidings into the Cadbury factory were first laid in 1884 and one steam locomotive was used. Later a
small bridge was constructed over the Birmingham West Suburban
Railway into 'Waterside Sidings' alongside the Birmingham and
Worcester canal. The sight of steam locomotives in these sidings will
be familiar to anyone who travelled into Birmingham New Street from
the Worcester or Gloucester lines. Steam inevitably gave way to
diesel traction until that too were ousted by road transport. Rail
traffic ceased on 28th May 1976.
In this photo the Cadbury factory and main line railway are out of shot to the left of the Worcester
and Birmingham canal. The 'Waterside Sidings' and warehouses are now
occupied by these trees and a housing estate.
This bridge that formerly connected the two sides of the Cadbury internal railway is a curious
survivor and one of the few remaining relics. It was built in 1925 to
connect the factory with a new warehouse on the opposite bank of the canal.
This photograph shows Bournville Station with the Birmingham and Worcester canal in the foreground and
the Cadbury factory behind.
These photographs were taken by Andrew Smith on 3rd and 11th September 2001.
Mike Hitches, Bournville
Steam & Chocolate' , Irwell Press, 1996, ISBN 1 871608 31 7