Day 21 – Cadbury Factory

The kids wanted to head over to the Cadbury factory for a tour. As much as I am a chocolate fan, I’ve spent most of my professional life in the food manufacturing industry, and I wasn’t all that motivated to go and see another factory with a line of flow wrap machines, but I went anyway.

To my absolute surprise, this turned out to be one of the best experiences of the trip so far.

Whilst the tour did have a portion of “this is how chocolate is made”, a larger portion of it was about the history of chocolate, and the history of Cadbury including the founders.

What was remarkable, was that these leaders not only built an enduring business, they also built an enduring community.

To make better, more pure Chocolate, they decided to move the factory from the “dirty”, “polluted” city, to the country (about 10miles from town). There they built a factory, and a village to support it. They called the Village Bournville

Not only did they build houses, but also sport and recreational grounds, including swimming pools and athletics ovals. They even taught the staff to swim (during working hours) and had weekend picnics and sports carnivals.

The Cadbury’s were Quakers, and believed in clean and healthy living. They had a “guide” for residents that advised them to eat fruit (apples were considered the best) exercise and stay away from Alcohol.

In the company houses they planted fruit trees, and even had paid workers tend to the for the first 3 years, just so the would survive a flourish. Local kids were encouraged to run and play in the fields and it was largely reported the children in Bournville where taller and heavier then in the nearby town.

It got me to thinking about our large enterprises today. The Apples and Googles of the world. Whilst they companies offer wonderful workplaces and free lunches, they haven’t taken employee welfare to the same level as Captains of Industry in years gone by. (I also wondered if you could get away with advising your staff to stay off the boooze and eat healthy in this day and age.)

So the Cadbury tour turned out to be a great day, and a great experience. It was a lot of fun. I learnt a lot and have a new found respect for the Cadbury brand and family, and a bunch more questions about what it means to build an enduring legacy

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