John Cadbury

By: Mick Yates

These days when the Cadbury name is mentioned it is in conjunction with Cadbury-Schweppes, one of the world's largest chocolate and beverage manufacturers in the world. However, the chocolate giant we know today would not be here without the work of one man, John Cadbury.

Cadbury was influenced in his choice of trade by his Quaker beliefs - he felt alcohol was a major cause of poverty and other social ills, and saw cocoa and chocolate as alternatives. As a social reformer, he also led a campaign to ban the use of young boys as chimney sweeps and campaigned against animal cruelty, forming the Animals Friend Society, a predecessor of the RSPCA.

Workers were treated with great respect, relatively high wages and good working conditions. The Cadburys also pioneered pension schemes, joint works committees and a full staff medical service.

The Birmingham suburb Bournville was developed by the Cadburys to provide for their workforce. In 1900 the Bournville Village Trust was set up to formally control the development of the estate, focusing on schools, museums, hospitals and other civic buildings. A model village was also financed by the Cadburys to "alleviate the evils of modern more cramped living conditions." These designs have become the blueprint for village estates around the UK.

Cadbury's continuing dedication to the improvement of the community and to their workforce shows the power of values driven leadership. John Cadbury's beliefs have provided a foundation that sustains the Cadbury corporation to this day and will continue to strengthen them for the future.

Mandy Leonard