As someone who gave up chocolate for my New Year's Resolution, a trip to Cadbury World in Bournville, Birmingham, was not one of my best ideas! However, off we went and I discovered an alternative chocolate box assortment. So, dear Readers, grab yourself a bar of Cadbury's Dairy Milk, a cup of tea, and let me take you on a blog journey in two halves ("a glass and a half"). The first being my own version of a chocolate box full of different loves of mine, and the second being the real chocolate part!
Cadbury's was formed in 1824 by John and Benjamin Cadbury by selling tea, coffee and drinking chocolate. With the success of the business, John's sons, Richard and George went in search of a bigger place to produce their newly found product of Cadbury's Dairy Milk. They found a large piece of land with the river Bourn nearby and a railway. Once bought the area was called Bournville, Bourn after the river and Ville to make it sound more French! The sons then set about designing and constructing a model village, but I'll go into that a bit later in this post. In the meantime, one of buildings in Bournville I was instantly drawn to is called Selly Manor. This beautiful building built in 1327 originally occupied a space in Bournbrook in Worcestershire!
The building was in an awful state of disrepair and was going to be destroyed until George Cadbury saved it for the new model village that he was creating in Bournville. Each part was numbered, dismantled and then rebuilt as a centrepiece to the village in 1914.
Unfortunately, and I mean really unfortunately, the Manor wasn't open due to a book fair, so my own 'box of chocolates' was to look around the grounds. Not disappointed though! I have put a link here so that you can see inside.
As some Readers will know, I get very excited about old windows, doors, beams, roofs... The Manor was everything I love to capture and my camera once again became very busy with recording the beautiful old architecture. The hand blown glass reflecting its surroundings in fish eye form.
... door furniture, rusty, decayed, exquisite!...
... herringbone brick work against the old blackened timbers and leaded light windows...
...even seed heads looked incredible with the building as a backdrop...
With spring now well and truly singing in the fading light, the Manor provides the most exquisite backdrop.
To think that this historical building could have been raised to the ground and the beams etc used elsewhere made me very grateful to George Cadbury.
New growth surrounds each corner of the Manor, the old and new perfectly mixed, as the Manor did back in 1916 when the rebuilding was completed.
Also in the grounds is another saved building, Minworth Greaves, a medieval hall building, which was saved in 1932. Again, painstakingly dismantled and rebuilt in the grounds of the Manor at Bournville, this time by Laurence Cadbury.
Inside the hall with it's incredible beams and vaulted ceiling ooze history.
Two incredible buildings, two pioneering members of the Cadbury family who saved these two gems of history.
One part of the garden that I felt I had to show you had to be this hedging. Henry VIII and his six wives... seven topiary creations, two without heads!!
Bournville was full of beautiful architecture, including these mock tudor row of shops by the Village Green built at the beginning of the last century.
Of course the red telephone box has to make an appearance.
As promised at the beginning of this post, the Cadbury family decided to provide a decent environment for their workers, creating a model village with a hospital, housing, large open spaces for exercise and of course, work at the factory. A scaled model can be found at the Bournville Experience within Cadbury World.
And so, to Cadbury World, set just next to the factory.
Luckily the smell of chocolate was virtually non existent for this abstainer! However, freebies are given!! Along with a little pot of melted chocolate and a choice of treats to go in with this (three teaspoons of oily melted chocolate doesn't count in my book... I didn't EAT any!).
The shop however didn't escape some purchases!!
Photography isn't allowed within this place, so I haven't much to show you but one of my pet hates is to be shut into rooms while on a tour until the next part of the tour is ready...
... I'm afraid this happened along with long queues where we didn't want to go into that part of the tour or the tour itself took you on long walks of empty corridors.
Personally, if I came here again, I would go to the shop and then spend the rest of my time in the beautiful village along with admiring the distinctive purple lamp posts (be careful of the directional signs in the village though, they get turned by mischievous fingers!).
So I survived my demons! Before my New Year's Resolution I would have probably bought up the shop and complained about the lack of melted chocolate in the free pot at the end. I'm proud of myself!
I hope you enjoyed your own chocolate!!
Have a good week.