Why Choo Choose Bournville?
With construction beginning on High Speed Rail Two, a connection that will link a redeveloped Curzon Street Station in Birmingham to Euston Station in 49 minutes. Transport and connectivity topics are seemingly never far away from the news. The opening of the ‘HS2’ drivers college on the east side of the city marks the beginning of a huge change in the city centre and likely the region. Attempting to establish the pros and cons of such a vast construction project can be sidestepped today. But on a smaller scale In Bournville, we can see that when done right, transport spending can benefit most for generations to come.
By 1878 George & Richard Cadbury the now synonymous ‘Cadbury Brothers’ had taken over from their fathers Tea business in the city and with help of the introduction of Cocoa began to see the family business thrive. At this time, they set about expanding the business and looked for a greenfield site that could accommodate their lofty ambitions for expansion. An area around four miles south of Birmingham City Centre was destined to be chosen which soon was to be named Bournville and become the area we know today.
So why Bournville?
A move out of the hustle and bustle of the City would have been unprecedented for the time, but the reason they chose the area was not only for the space it afforded, but the infrastructure that was already in place at the time. Without the newly built Stirchley Train Station (now Bournville) and canal line in place, both of which giving the factory access to deliveries of Milk and Cocoa one is left to only consider how different the area would have been had one or both not been in place.
Having settled the brothers successfully set out to create a model village, one which would improve the lives of all their workers. Spacious housing, arts and craft architecture and open parkland became the prerequisite. It’s now well known that the brothers cared very much for the health and wellbeing of their employees. Workers were treated with respect, receiving relatively high wages and good working conditions. Cadbury also pioneered pension schemes, joint works committees and a full staff medical service. To help maintain and organise the work that had been done, in 1900 came the creation of the Bournville Village Trust which is located on Bournville Lane. The ‘BVT’ today looks after an estate covering around 1000 acres.
Moving people in and out of the city the Train Station remains as important as it has ever been. Whilst the canal lines are undergoing a renaissance of their own, more walkers, joggers and cyclists now see the canal as a legitimate and convenient way to pop into the city and spend a pleasant afternoon.
As reported in January, Birmingham is currently enjoying a record amount of construction and for the new people to the city, Bournville is being consistently chosen as the ideal place to call home. With the University of Birmingham, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham Women’s Hospital and City Centre all within a few train stops away it’s easy to see why.
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