Bournville Village Trust

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Bournville Village Trust
Founded Bournville, Birmingham, England, 1900

Bournville Village Trust is an organisation that was created to maintain and improve the suburb of Bournville, located in Birmingham. However, during the 20th century it expanded its geographical coverage to include developments in Shenley Green, Lightmoor in Telford, Bloomsbury in Nechells and Rowheath.


George Cadbury, with his brother Richard, took over their father’s small business, Cadburys in 1861. Based in Birmingham City Centre, the business expanded into the manufacture of pure cocoa and then chocolate bars and filled chocolates.

As the city premises was no longer large enough, the two brothers purchased land in the countryside, 4 miles out of Birmingham (at that time). Despite this the area had excellent canal and railway access, and embarked on the building of a new factory in what became known the world over as Bournville.

Due to George Cadbury's Quaker beliefs, he set an objective to provide decent quality homes designed by architect William Alexander Harvey in a healthy environment which could be afforded by industrial workers.

In 1900 Bournville Village Trust was founded to administer and develop the village and its surroundings.[1] The Estate today covers 1000 acres (4 km²), providing a home for some 23,000 people,[2] and includes an exceptionally wide range of housing provision. The first Manager was John Henry Barlow, whose wife Mabel Cash was a cousin of George Cadbury's wife Elizabeth Taylor. John Henry was a much respected Quaker from Cheshire and JHB was very instrumental in making the BVT the success it was. On his retirement he was succeeded by Leonard Appleton and then by John Henry's son Ralph Barlow who made the Trust his life's work until he retired in 1975. The Ralph Barlow room in Bournville and Ralph Barlow House are named in his memory.

Bournville's green environment reflects the aim of George Cadbury that one-tenth of the Estate should be... "laid out and used as parks, recreation grounds and open space".

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  1. ^ Elizabeth Outka (12 November 2008). Consuming Traditions : Modernity, Modernism, and the Commodified Authentic: Modernity, Modernism, and the Commodified Authentic. Oxford University Press, USA. p. 33. ISBN 978-0-19-970687-7. 
  2. ^ Michael Harloe; C.G. Pickvance; John Urry (23 May 2006). Place, Policy and Politics: Do Localities Matter?. Routledge. p. 96. ISBN 978-1-134-99831-9.