George Cadbury: 19 September 1839 - 24 October 1922


'Las cosas claras y el chocolate espeso.'


'Ideas should be clear and chocolate thick.' Spanish proverb


George Cadbury came from a Quaker family in Edgbaston near Birmingham. His father John was a dealer in tea and coffee who died young, as did his mother Candia, and George and his brother Richard took charge of the family business when they were both in their early 20s. One of the basic tenets of Quakerism is refusal to swear an oath and this meant that until the twentieth century many of the professions were closed to them. Their pacifist beliefs obviously also precluded a career in the armed forces so Quakers often went into business; they became bankers - Barclays; they made biscuits - Huntley and Palmers and Carrs; they made shoes - Clarks; and most famously they made chocolate - Cadburys, Rowntrees and Terrys. Their principles of truthfulness and fair dealing often made them very successful and sometimes very unpopular with their fellow business men.


Cadburys was the first company to sell cocoa powder in UK. George Cadbury - a staunch teetotaller marketed the powder as a healthy and comforting alternative to alcohol. The advert below says it is also 'strengthening and flesh forming'... hmmm.


Perhaps the Cadbury brothers greatest achievement however, was the model village they created for their employees at Bournville. Here all the houses were built with gardens, there were parks, schools, communal wash houses, reading rooms and a hospital - but of course no pub! Cadburys provided pensions for their employees (George put much of his personal fortune into the pension fund) and were one of the first companies to give employees a half day off on Saturdays.


I was amazed to find that cottages in Bournville where women lived alone were protected by a night watchman, one of whose responsibilities was to light a fire there every afternoon so the house was warm on their return from the factory. This all sounds very paternalistic to us twenty first century sophisticates, but I think if you were a hard working woman of the nineteenth century you would have valued that fire enormously.




Outside the business George was a stalwart of the community, a local Councillor, strong opponent of the Boer War and the First World War, a campaigner for old age pensions for all and a teacher at the local Adult Education Institute. An all round good egg in fact - I'm sure there's a joke in there somewhere..


I don’t make brownies often - too flesh forming, but this is the recipe I use. Unlike most brownie recipes it uses cocoa not chocolate. I've halved the original recipe which is from 'Real Chocolate' by Chantal Cody.


Cocoa Brownies


175g butter

70g unsweetened cocoa powder

3 eggs

340g caster sugar

125g plain flour

1tsp vanilla essence

100g raspberries or walnuts or blackberries

Oven at 180c, a shallow baking tray about 8”x12” (I used my swiss roll tin)


Line the baking tin with baking parchment. Melt the butter with the cocoa, cool a bit. Whisk the eggs until light and frothy and add the sugar then whisk some more. Now add the vanilla and the flour. Pour in the cooled cocoa mix and fold in gently with the nuts or fruit. Pour into the tray and bake for 30 minutes until just springy to the touch. The skewer test doesn’t work here, you want them fudgy in the middle. Cut into squares while still warm. I often make a stencil and sprinkle with cocoa and icing sugar.


10 comments:

Gerry Snape said...

I like the raspberry or blackberry alternatives Liz.

Brownieville Girl said...

Would be lovely to use blackberries at this time of year ... just have to wait for it to stop raining!!!

Jo said...

...and looking at these pictures I am actually regretting not having one yesterday!! Need to get some half-marathon training food on here Liz! XX

Choclette said...

Still haven't made this brownie recipe, though I have the book. Every time I got to make it, I look at the sugar and use a different recipe instead. I bet they are deliciously fudgy though.

Liz said...

They are good although I agree about the sugar content. The raspberries give you a sharp and contrasting hit which is nice, and the whisking method gives a lovely crisp top when they are fresh which contrasts with the stickiness - and there are loads of brownie recipes with golden syrup - so maybe they're not that bad...

Choclette said...

Liz you are a bad influence. Having read this, I had brownies on the brain so with 3 egg yolks to use up on Monday, I got out the book and made some - sort of anyway. Made 1/3 of the mixture using yolks and no whites and substituted ground almonds for flour. They were delicious and had an almost toffee quality to them - but in a good way.

Liz said...

I often substitute gr almonds for flour or a portion of same, in fact I did it this morning in the 1st of several christmas cakes. Do you know Claudia Roden's sephardic chocolate cake? - my all time fave..

Choclette said...

No, another one I am obviously going to have to try - I said you were a bad influence.

Choclette said...

Liz, do you have a recipe for it? I've tried searching the net but haven't managed to find one (I did admittedly give up fairly easily).

Liz said...

I do - shall I send you a message on facebook?