John Cadbury was only twenty two years old when he opened his shop in 1824 at 93 Bull Street in the then fashionable part of Birmingham. The shop was next door to his father's drapery and silk business and apart from selling tea and coffee, John Cadbury sold hops, mustard and a new sideline - cocoa and drinking chocolate, which he prepared himself using a mortar and pestle. Customers at John Cadbury's shop were amongst the most prosperous Birmingham families who were the only ones who could afford to buy cocoa and chocolate. In those days cocoa beans were imported from South and Central America and the West Indies.
By 1831 the business had changed from a grocery shop and John Cadbury had become a manufacturer of drinking chocolate and cocoa. In 1847 a larger factory in Bridge Street off Broad Street in the centre of Birmingham was rented. John Cadbury took his brother Benjamin into partnership and the family business became Cadbury Brothers of Birmingham. During the mid 1850s business began to decline. The partnership between the first Cadbury brothers was dissolved in 1860. John Cadbury's sons Richard and George, who had joined the company in 1850 and 1856, became the second Cadbury brothers to run the business. 1866 saw a turning point for the company with the introduction of a process for pressing the cocoa butter from the cocoa beans. This not only enabled Cadbury Brothers to produce pure cocoa essence, but the plentiful supply of cocoa butter remaining was also used to make new kinds of eating chocolate.
By the late 1870s the flourishing Cadbury business had outgrown the Bridge Street factory. The factory moved in 1879 to a "greenfield" site some miles from the centre of Birmingham which came to be called Bournville. The business became a private limited company - Cadbury Brothers Limited - in 1899 following Richard Cadbury's sudden death at the age of 63. George Cadbury became Chairman of the new Board and his fellow directors were Barrow and William A. Cadbury, sons of Richard and two of his own sons Edward and George Cadbury Junior. In 1919 Cadbury Brothers Limited merged with J. S. Fry & Sons of Bristol whose product range complemented that of Cadbury. During the second world war years cocoa and chocolate products were regarded as essential foods for the forces and civilian population with production being under Government control. Rationing continued until 1949 but chocolate and sweets were still less plentiful than in 1939 due to shortage of raw materials.
For over 100 years Cadbury was essentially a family business although non-family directors were appointed for the first time in 1943. However in 1962, the whole structure was reorganised with the formation of a public quoted company - Cadbury Limited. The merger of the Cadbury Group in 1969 with Schweppes and the subsequent development of the business have led to Cadbury Schweppes taking the lead in both confectionery and soft drinks markets in the UK and becoming a major force on the international market.
Reference: Tallyrand Tallyrand's Culinary Fare (http://www.geocities.com/NapaValley/6454/cadbury.html). Accessed May 2002.