Leighton Park School

This blog has glanced on previous occasions at the Wikipedia entry for Leighton Park School, in particular its list of “Former Pupils”. Lionel Penrose and Sir Roland Penrose are there, though not John Rickman. Sir Richard Rodney Bennett is there. Now to note that Helen Cadbury is there, but not George Cadbury:

Helen Cadbury (1965-2017)

“Helen belonged to an eminent Quaker family who had moved from Yorkshire to Birmingham in the nineteenth century. Like them, she lived her life following the Quaker principles of philanthropy; working for economic, racial and criminal justice and equality for all people in a community. Nonconformists in the development of Birmingham, especially Unitarians and Quakers, were leading lights in improving the lives of ordinary people in what had become a heavily industrialised, ‘slum’ city, until more radical measures were implemented in the latter part of the century.

Helen did not spend all her secondary school career at KEHS. As her family moved away from Birmingham, she went to school in Oldham and then the Quaker School Leighton Park, Reading…

With a husband and two sons…At the age of forty she started writing for herself, both fiction and poetry. As the author of the Sean Denton series of crime novels, set in Doncaster, she gained great acclaim and many awards. Reviews of their novels, with the expectations of more to come and film scripts, commented on the ever present Quaker principles into which Helen was born.

Tragically, the last of the Sean Denton trilogy was published in September 2017, a few months after Helen died of cancer.

Maintaining her family roots, she was a member of the Board of the Barrow Cadbury Trust, a charitable foundation established by her Quaker forebears. She took over as its chair in 2013, when her sister, Ruth, was selected to stand for Parliament (holding the seat of Brentford and Isleworth since 2015). Even after being diagnosed with cancer, Helen delivered a keynote speech at Hong Kong’s Philanthropy Conference in 2016…” (See website of King Edward VI High School for Girls for complete obituary)

George Cadbury (1878-1954)

“Cadbury was the second son of George Cadbury and younger brother of Edward Cadbury. He served as managing director of Cadbury Brothers and supported Edward Cadbury’s expansion and reforms. He was also a social reformer with a strong interest in town planning. 

Cadbury was born in Birmingham on 7 April 1878, the son of George Cadbury, the senior partner in Cadbury Brothers. He was educated at Harborne preparatory school and Leighton Park School in Reading, and from 1896-7 attended University College London for a year, studying sciences and especially chemistry. In 1897 he joined Cadbury Brothers and spent six months working in Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, learning the methods used by continental confectioners, in particular the manufacture of milk chocolate. 

In 1899, aged twenty-one, Cadbury became managing director of Cadbury Brothers, succeeding his uncle Richard Cadbury who died that year. At the same time the firm changed its legal status, from a partnership to a public limited company. George Cadbury senior remained as chairman , and Edward Cadbury was a director. While Edward concentrated on his now famous work on organisation, George Cadbury the younger focused on production and the development of new products. He introduced the company’s first milk chocolate brand, Dairy Milk, in 1905; and within a decade this had become the company’s best-selling brand. Another highly successful brand, Bournville cocoa, was launched in 1906…

A committed Quaker, Cadbury supported many causes connected with social reform. Before the First World War, he was much interested in adult education. Like his father, he taught adult education classes in Birmingham for much of his life. He founded two adult education colleges for working men, the first in Bournville and the second at Offenham, Worcestershire. He was also a strong supporter of land reform. Later, during his time on Birmingham council, he focused much of his attention on issues connected with planning and social housing, and also transport. He believed the under-used canal system in Britain could be turned into a cheap transport system that would greatly benefit British industry.” (From the Rowntree Business Lectures website)

George Cadbury (1839 –1922)

“George Cadbury was the third son of John Cadbury, a Quaker who founded Cadbury’s cocoa and chocolate company in Britain. Together with his brother Richard he took over the family business in 1861. In 1878 they acquired 14 acres (57,000 m²) of land in open country, four miles (6 km) south of Birmingham, where they opened a new factory in 1879. In the early 20th century, he and John Wilhelm Rowntree established a Quaker study centre locally.

The Cadbury brothers were concerned with the quality of life of their employees and provided an alternative to grimy city life. As more land was acquired and the brothers moved the factory to a new country location, they decided to build a factory town (designed by architect William Alexander Harvey), which was not exclusive to the employees of the factory. This village became known as Bournville after the nearby river and French word for “town”. The houses were never privately owned, and their value stayed low and affordable. Bournville was a marked change from the poor living conditions of the urban environment. Here, families had houses with yards, gardens, and fresh air. To the present, the town offers affordable housing.

In 1890 he, along with a number of other leading Quakers, helped re-establish Grove House School as Leighton Park School in Reading as the leading Quaker school in Britain.” (From Wikipedia)

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