Bournville Village Chapter 7 (Summary)

The squalor and slums of 19th century Birmingham had a profound impact on the Quaker industrialist brothers, George and Richard Cadbury. When the success of their confectionery business meant they outgrew their city centre location, the brothers used the opportunity to put into practice their progressive ideas on housing reform. In 1878 the brothers built Bournville; their ‘Factory in a Garden’ on a 14.5 acre greenfield site, 4 miles from Birmingham. As devout Quakers, the brothers had a deep rooted belief in promoting equality and social justice. They believed that they had a responsibility to improve both the moral and physical condition of their workers. The new factory at Bournville and the associated recreational facilites enabled the Cadburys to provide their workers with vastly improved working conditions. However George’s experience of teaching working class men in Adult Schools and visiting the poor in slum dwellings led him to believe that it was “impossible to raise a nation both morally, physically and spiritually in such surroundings, and that the only effective way is to bring men out of the cities into the country and to give every man his garden where he can come in touch with nature and thus know more of nature’s God’. George Cadbury was keen that workers were freed from the spiritual poverty of life in the slums of the city, and from the crippling monotony of the expanding suburbs. To this end he bought a further 120 acres of land next to the factory works to build a model village, where the working classes could experience the physical and moral advantages of village life.

Project: Bournville Village
Location: Birmingham
Completion: 1895
Client: richard and george cadbury
Architect: various

Typology: first housing type chosen was the rectangular cottage with large garden
No. of dwellings: 1895: 143 cottages 2005: 7600 homes
Total area: 1895: 120 acres 2005: 1000 acres
Density: 1895: 1.2 homes/acre 2005: 7.6 homes/acre
Total cost: £150 (in 1895)e of phase 2 dwellings: £230,000 to £425,000

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