The Cadbury Papers

Scope and Content

The Cadbury Papers relate to the firm of Cadbury and relate mainly the Cocoa trade in West Africa from about 1900 to 1960. The collection comprises papers relating to: the Standard Trial, 1908-1909: Cadbury Brothers Ltd. v The Standard Newspapers Limited: correspondence and legal documents; miscellaneous documents relating to the case; correspondence, mainly relating to Portuguese West Africa and the Trial.

Other papers within the collection comprise: various documents by or relating to W.A. Cadbury; photographs; printed works; pamphlets and minor works; statements made by Cadbury Brothers. Ltd. on labour in Angola, S. Thome & Principe; official papers; official publications; accounts of Cadbury in British West Africa; correspondence with Cadbury's relating to War measures on cocoa, 1917-18; correspondence and papers relating to the Profiteering Act, 1920; various legal papers relating to West Africa; West African Cocoa hold-up, 1937-38; Cocoa Commission Committees; miscellaneous papers relating to cocoa in West Africa; press cuttings, and a few letters to and from newspapers, relating mainly to the Cocoa hold-up; Jeronimo Paiva de Carvalho and Alfredo da Silva; bound volumes of accounts relating to West Africa Cocoa; Kumasi cash sheets, 1917-19, 1955-58; Kumasi Cocoa purchase sheets, 1917-59.

Administrative / Biographical History

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 ( ). Accessed May 2002.

Access Information

Open. Access to all registered researchers.

Acquisition Information

The collection was presented by Cadbury-Schweppes Ltd. to Birmingham University Library in September 1972.

Other Finding Aids

Please see the full catalogue for further details.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the University Archivist, Special Collections. Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Special Collections will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.