George Cadbury was only 21 years old when he and his older brother Richard were given the job of running their father’s failing business. At the time, George didn’t know that the company would grow into a world-famous chocolate giant. Even though he did his job and took care of the business, he still cared about the average worker in his heart. This English magnate was also a great giver of money to good causes and a social reformer. He cared a lot about making the lives and jobs of ordinary workers better, and he didn’t leave any stone unturned in his quest to make his workers’ lives happier and healthier. He was ambitious and committed to his business, so after five years of struggling and living on a tight budget, his hard work paid off. Then, the Cadbury Brothers company that made cocoa and chocolate became the best-known chocolate brand in the world. George’s interest in improving society helped not only his business and employees but also the city of Birmingham, which grew as an industrial city thanks to him and became the second largest city in the UK in terms of economy.
Early years and childhood
George Cadbury was born on September 19, 1839, in Edgbaston, Birmingham, England. He was the third son of John and Candia Cadbury. His family was devoted to the Society of Friends and followed Quaker’s beliefs.
His Quaker father John ran a business on Bull Street selling tea and coffee. He also made and sold cocoa and drank chocolate. Candia, his mother, worked hard for the Temperance Society.
He went to a Quaker school nearby for his formal education, but he had to stop in the middle when his mother died suddenly in 1855.
George Cadbury’s Career
In April 1861, because of his father’s poor health, George, along with his brother Richard, took over his father’s failing business. They turned it into a worldwide chocolate empire.
Even though the two brothers had worked with their father for a long time, the first few years were hard for them. They worked hard and were careful with their money.
George was in charge of making and buying things, and Richard was in charge of sales and marketing, which were not going well and needed help right away.
After five years of hard work, the two brothers came out with “Cadbury Cocoa Essence,” which was cocoa that hadn’t been mixed with starches. It was sold with the slogan “Absolutely Pure, Therefore Best.”
Cadbury’s small business changed dramatically when it started selling cocoa powder. Sales went up by a lot, and the company became a well-known brand.
When the business started making money, the two brothers decided to grow it. In 1878, they bought 14 acres of land near Birmingham, about four miles south of the city, and called it Bournbrooke Estate. They planned to build a new factory there.
The new factory became known as Bournville, which comes from the name of a nearby river and the French word for “town.”
So that their workers could have a good life, the two built a model village with good housing, better living and working conditions, and all the necessary recreation facilities at prices that workers could afford.
George started building the Bournville Building Estate in 1895. It was built on 120 acres of land that he bought near the factory. Each house had its own garden and there was a lot of open space.
The Bournville Village Trust was set up in 1900 to take care of the 313 houses on the estate and the area around them. Employees also got paid when they were sick and were given pensions.
Richard’s untimely death from diphtheria in March 1899 put the Cadbury Empire in the hands of his brother George, who became the chairman of the New Board. Richard’s sons and George’s sons also served on the board.
George bought Daily News in 1901 because he liked the peace and didn’t like violence. He used it to campaign for old-age pensions and against the Anglo-Boer War and sweatshop work.
Works of note
In 1890, George and other Quakers did a lot to turn Reading’s Grove House School into Leighton Park School, the best Quaker school in Britain.
In 1897, the Cadbury brothers made their first milk chocolate. At first, it was similar to a Swiss brand, but it was later changed to make Cadbury’s Dairy Milk, which was lighter in color.
In 1903, he gave the Georgian-style mansion Woodbrooke, which had been one of his homes, to The Religious Society of Friends. It’s now called the Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre and is the only Quaker study center in Europe.
In 1906, he had a 700-seat theater built on the grounds of his home, Northfield Manor. Every summer, he fed and entertained more than 25,000 poor Birmingham children there.
He is known to have given Birmingham Cripples Union a large house in Northfield, which was turned into a hospital in 1909 and is now known as the Royal Orthopedic Hospital.
In 1914, to celebrate his 25th wedding anniversary, George had the Rest House built on Bournville Village Green. It was only for people who lived in the area.
In 1918, he helped start the Birmingham Civic Society and gave the Lickey Hills Country Park to the people of Birmingham, England.
George and Elizabeth, his second wife, were both very committed to helping others and making the world a better place. So, they built the Woodlands Hospital and opened The Beeches, a place for kids from slums to go on vacation.
Personal History and Legacies
In 1872, George Cadbury married Mary Tyler, who was the daughter of the Quaker author Charles Tyler. George Junior, Mary Isabel, and Edward were their three children.
In 1887, Mary died while giving birth, so George was left alone with his young children. Richard’s daughter, Jesse, moved in to take care of the kids.
During his trip to London, he met Elizabeth Mary Taylor, who went by the name “Elsie.” In 1888, he married her. They had six children: Laurence John, George Norman, Elsie Dorothea, Egbert, Marion Janet, and Ursula.
He died at his home in Northfield, Manor House, on October 24, 1922. He was 83 years old. His funeral was held at the Perry Barr crematorium, and his ashes were put to rest at the Friends’ Meeting House in Bournville.
The Cadbury brothers’ children have set up a number of charitable organizations, such as the George Cadbury Hall at the University of Birmingham, where George Cadbury lectures are held, and the Selly Oak Colleges.
Estimated Net worth
John is one of the wealthiest celebrities and is on the list of the most popular ones. Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider all say that John Cadbury has a net worth of about $1.5 million.
Even now, the houses in the factory village of Bournville are cheap and easy to afford, just like they were when George and his brother Richard built them.
As a young man, George used to teach children at the Birmingham Adult School every Sunday morning. He did this until he was 72 years old, and he also held annual reunions at his house that was attended by more than a thousand people.
He cared a lot about politics and was a Liberal Party representative on both the Birmingham Town Council and the Worcestershire County Council.