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Chocolate Wars by Deborah Cadbury

chocolate wars book cover

There is a section, upstairs in Keynsham Library that is dedicated to Local History. This section includes the history of Keynsham and its surrounding area. There some fascinating gems of local history there and one of these is this book about the history of the big Quaker chocolate families: Rowntree, Frys and Cadbury. The book is actually written by a member of the Cadbury family, who remembers as a child being taken around the Birmingham Chocolate factory by her Uncle – a world of chocolate heaven. In fact by the 1920’s Frys were so successful, they wanted to expand and decided to move out their historical building in Union Street in Bristol and they found a site just outside the city, by the River Avon with excellent rail links, they embarked on a huge building programme and named the factory Somerdale in Keynsham.

The story begins when Richard Tapper Cadbury, a draper from Birmingham, sends his son to London to study a new tropical product – cocoa. Initial he was to sell it as a drink in competition to the evils of alcohol, but soon ways are found to expand cocoa into the product that today is so popular. The author also explores Cadbury’s Quaker roots and their determination to improve the lives of their workers. She brings the story up to date with the competition from Swiss and American companies and the eventual take over by Kraft. The story is a fascinating one, and this book is rich in detail and very thought-provoking.

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