Cadbury's as we know it today started from humble beginnings in Bull Street,Birmingham. A shop was opened by John Cadbury in 1824. It did not start as aconfectionery shop but sold tea and coffee and homemade drinking chocolate or cocoawhich he made himself for his customers.In those days cocoa and chocolate was a luxury and affordable by only the wealthy.John's experiments with chocolate and an aggressive marketing campaign soon madehim a leading trader in Birmingham. The shop prospered and became more and morepopular.John Cadbury moved into the manufacturing of drinking chocolate and cocoa. By theearly 1840's Cadbury operated from a factory in Bridge Street and went into partnershipwith his brother Benjamin. 'Cadbury Brothers of Birmingham' was now operational andthe chocolate industry was given a much needed boost in the 1850's when thegovernment reduced the high import taxes on cocoa. Chocolate was now within reach ofthe masses. Cadbury's received a Royal Warrant in 1854 as manufacturers of chocolatefor Queen Victoria. After such a successful start the business fell upon hard times andJohn Cadbury's sons Richard and George struggled with the business after their fatherretired in 1861. Long hours with little reward and just sheer determination andperseverance kept them going.
New processes and a new product called cocoa essence helped the business improveso much so that by the turn of the decade they were able to move from the Bridge Streetfactory to what is now Bourneville. The name is derived from Bourn brook with the brookbeing replaced for the French word 'Ville' meaning town. A shrewd move perhapsconsidering that French chocolate was regarded as the best in the world at the time.
In 1878 the Bourn brook estate, comprising fourteen and a half acres which was thencountryside on the outskirts of Birmingham and was acquired by the brothers. Withnearby rail and canal links and main roads it was an ideal location. The new factory wasnot completed until 1879. Cadbury's had now laid the foundations for what was to come.Using expertise from abroad and with their first export order from Australia in 1881 thecompany prospered. Milk chocolate was introduced, the competition from Switzerlandand France was matched with compatible products and those products were continuallyperfected until they could finally claim superiority in chocolate manufacture in both qualityand taste. New recipes and experimentation created innovative new products thatensured their success.Cadbury's moved on to become a limited company and after the death of RichardCadbury the sons of the two brothers joined the firm headed by George Cadbury. Thiswas very much a family business in every sense of the word.New products followed swiftly and the business expanded. By the turn of the century the