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George Cadbury was greatly influenced by his Quaker beliefs. He had a deep seated social concern for the way people were forced to live in the overcrowded back streets of Birmingham.

Conditions were so poor that healthy living was almost impossible and at the end of the 19th Century life expectancy was about 40 years.

He and his elder brother, Richard, had made a success of their father’s chocolate business, moving from Birmingham city centre to its present site (which was then in the country) in 1879.

The area around the new ‘factory in a garden’ was named Bournville. ‘Bourn’ was the name of the local stream, and ‘ville’ was apt because of the French rivalry in chocolate-making at the time.

Richard never lived to see Bournville develop as he died from diphtheria in 1899. This was to have a profound effect on George and led him to create Bournville Village Trust (BVT) on 14 December 1900.  The gift included 313 houses on 330 acres.

The Trust Deed was a foresighted document, setting out the objectives of the founder, but allowing today’s Trustees effective control of the Village.

George Cadbury’s vision was of a mixed community; Bournville was conceived for people from a wide range of backgrounds, not only for the workers at the chocolate factory.

Today, the Bournville Estate, sited four miles south-west of Birmingham, covers over 1,000 acres, 10% of which is parkland and open space.

There are almost 8,000 houses of mixed tenure on the Estate, which is home to about 25,000 people.

Many have credited the model village with laying the foundations for the development of garden cities and introducing the benefits of open space into modern town planning.

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