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Bournville is one of the most famous of Birmingham’s suburbs and is indelibly linked with the Cadbury family and the chocolate factory. Much of Bournville was built as a model village so that there is a real village feel with a village green and war memorial. Bournville often tops surveys recording the most desirable and the most pleasant places to live in the UK and within Birmingham.

The concept behind the model village was to build a place that offered good quality housing with plenty of recreation space for the workers at the Cadbury factory in the 1890s. The village was to provide a contrast to the cramped, dirty housing then to be found towards the city centre.

Much of the village was built in the years running up to First World War in the Arts and Crafts style of the architect William Alexander Harvey – red brick with lots of timber frame mock-Tudor decorative features. There are developments built between the wars and modern housing, though the main historical centre to the village is still maintained by the Bournville Village Trust as it has been since 1900.

In geographical terms Bournville lies around 4 miles to the south of the city centre. To the immediate north lies Selly Oak, to the east is Stirchley, and to the south is the historic area of King’s Norton. The Cadbury’s factory remains one of the main employers in the suburb. The shopping, business and commercial centre of the city is only 15 minutes away by rail from Bournville station and can easily be accessed by road along the Pershore and Bristol roads.

Bournville is graced with several infant and secondary schools, as well as the Bournville College of Further Education. The School of Art, Bournville is attached to Birmingham City University and is one of the leading art colleges in the city. The Cadbury family were famously Quakers and there is a Meeting House along with one of the few Serbian Orthodox Churches to be found in the UK.

When the model village was laid out there was to be a stress on clean living and providing workers with recreation space. Bournville consequently is amongst the most verdant of Birmingham’s suburbs and one that provides residents large amounts of open space. The Cadbury playing fields next to the original Cadbury’s factory on Linden Road are home to the Bournville Cricket Club and Football Club, and boast a magnificent timber-framed, multi-storey turreted Edwardian pavilion.


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