Cadbury Bournville has survived the takeover but when the proposed take-over of Cadbury;s was muted by Kraft in 2010 there were fears that Cadbury’s Bournville will close.
It was estimated that 5,000 people were working there. That figure is similar to 2013 with some design jobs going but extra 100 production jobs being created.
The Guardian 2013 said the following
Bournville locals fear the Cadbury factory will close, taking 5,000 jobs with it. Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
It's easy to feel nostalgic about places that evoke happy childhood memories, but with its pristine village green, cricket pavilion and neat row of shops, the leafy Birmingham suburb of Bournville looks idyllic, even on a rainy January day.
I was raised a few miles down the road from the village founded by George Cadbury, who moved his chocolate factory out of the Birmingham slums in 1879, and my family still live in the area.
Now that Kraft, an American food giant with a voracious appetite, looks set to gobble up the company, Cadbury has become a cause celebre for those who argue the proposed sale symbolises Britain's declining manufacturing clout.
When I returned to Bournville this week, pulling into the familiar railway station – now painted a Dairy Milk purple – beside the sprawling factory, I found despondent workers and angry locals.
The immediate fear is that the factory will eventually be closed with the loss of about 5,000 jobs, but there is also concern that the social fabric of the area could tear without the focal point the factory seems to provide for its 30,000 or so inhabitants.
The Cadbury factory permeates every aspect of life in Bournville, and the prospect of the company loosening its historic ties with the area is unwelcome.
Nearly everyone has worked at Cadbury or knows someone who has. I am the only member of my immediate family who hasn't clocked on at some point.
In the late 60s, my mother, the confectionery buyer's PA, used to meet my father for a cigarette outside the toilets when my dad worked in accounts. Decades later my sister donned Victorian overalls at Cadbury World, showing tourists and bored schoolchildren how chocolate used to be made, while my brother briefly pushed trollies loaded with ingredients around the factory floor.
Bournville was a model village created to house Cadbury workers, although most of the houses are now owned by the Bournville Village Trust rather than the company itself. My maternal grandparents' house on Bournville Lane, a few hundred yards from the site, is owned by the trust, set up by George Cadbury in 1900 to manage much of the land and property surrounding the factory.
My own childhood home two miles away was built at the turn of the last century, and like most of my family I attended the school built by Cadbury so that his workforce could give their children a good education. Once a week we would march through the imposing steel factory gates on our way to the Cadbury swimming pool. When the wind changed direction, the smell of chocolate wafted over the playground.
My mother, who also attended the school, remembers trooping with her classmates to a concert hall once a year to sing to the Cadbury family, and some of the clan's members were still being wheeled out to address pupils when I was there in the 1970s and early 80s.
The Cadbury family's involvement with the company ended long ago, but the paternalism practised by George Cadbury endured long after his death.
Even now there are facilities in Bournville that can't be found in neighbouring areas, including the beautiful old cricket pavilion that overlooks the Cadbury playing fields – and the company still pays for their upkeep.
The playing fields host a Mayflower festival ever year, and on Christmas Eve the 48-bell carillon in the school bell tower plays O Come All Ye Faithful as 7,000 people crowd around a huge decorated tree on