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A sweet first as original chocolate-box village opens heritage gems for free

They are amongst some of Birmingham’s most historic and beautiful buildings which together tell the story of the city’s famous chocolate-making family.

Now a unique set of Bournville buildings will open to the public together for the first time ever, offering visitors a rare glance behind their treasured facades.

The event, on Saturday 9th September, has been organised by Selly Manor Museum and Bournville Village Trust as part of the national Heritage Open Day Festival.

It will be one of 5,000 events taking place across England as part of the Festival which celebrates the country’s rich history and culture.

In Bournville, 11 venues will open to the public for free from 10am-4pm with each providing a rare insight into the wonderful story of the Cadbury family.

Venues include George Cadbury Junior’s former home – now a college – where visitors can see the study where the Cadbury children’s heights were measured on the doorframe.

Another highlight will be a stunning set of houses – dating back to 1897 – originally built for retired chocolate factory workers by George and his brother Richard.

Sadly, Richard never saw the completion of the homes – which still house former workers today – as he died before they were finished.

Daniel Callicott, Manager of Selly Manor Museum which was founded by George Cadbury and will also open for free on the day, said: “We are so lucky to be surrounded with history in Bournville and this event brings many of our historic gems together to celebrate George Cadbury’s wonderful garden village and legacy.

“We would love for visitors to come along and see places which they may never have had the chance to explore before, even though they may be right on their doorstep.

“Each building will bring the village’s history to life with a range of events including guided tours, music, trails and activities, and all the venues are absolutely free to visit.”

Other buildings that will open for Bournville’s Heritage Open Day include:

  • Selly Manor Museum – dating back to 1474, Selly Manor was rescued from demolition by George Cadbury and founded as a museum
  • Bournville Junior School – opened by George and his second wife Dame Elizabeth, the school features Bournville-inspired frescoes painted in 1914
  • St Francis Church – completed in 1925, George ensured land was set aside for this Anglican church despite being a Quaker himself
  • Quaker Meeting House – built in 1905, you’ll find a bust of George Cadbury here where his ashes, and those of Dame Elizabeth, are buried.
  • Gardens at Woodbrooke – the Quaker study centre was founded in 1903 by George Cadbury and is Europe’s only centre of this type. It also features beautiful grounds and gardens.
  • Bournville Carillon – a rare sight in the UK, the Bournville Carillon is not only one of the largest of its kind but also one of only two working carillons in Britain.
  • Rest House – paid for by employees of Cadbury, this building marks the silver wedding anniversary of George and Elizabeth in 1913.
  • St Lazar’s Church – highly decorative, the church was built for political refugees from Yugoslavia after World War II. Dame Elizabeth sponsored thirteen Serbian refugee children during World War I.
  • The Bournville Experience – part of Cadbury World, the experience focuses on the Quaker ethics of the Cadbury family and how Bournville was built.

An event map for visitors is available to download prior to the day and you can also find out more information about the venues that will be opening on the BVT website.

You can also visit www.heritageopendays.org.uk for information on the Festival.

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