News Letter – November 2017

December 1st, 2017 by JCope

Beatrice, born in 1887, was the youngest of seven children of William Cadbury, owner of the world famous chocolate empire, who along with the Frys and Rountrees were dominant in the chocolate world from the 1840s.

Beatrice was an exceptional woman who grew up with all the privileges: a fine mansion with servants, a well-rounded education and the chance to travel the world and see all its glories. Despite her annual income of £400,000 from Cadbury shares, her lifelong quest to create a fairer and more equal society was inspirational, if at times, bordering on self-destruction. The issues raised by her life – how the 1% of those who have most material wealth or power treat the 99% of those who have less are timeless, and utterly relevant today.

Her Socialist ideals made her wealth unacceptable and she gifted all her shares to Cadbury workers. Along with her husband, Kees Boeke, she relentlessly pursued their vision of a fairer and more equal society. One of her bold experiments involved sharing their house with waifs and strays who promptly stole much of the contents. She eventually ended up living in a tent but bad weather and poverty caused health problems and it proved a spectacular failure.

Our next meeting at St Saviour’s Church Hall is on Tuesday 2nd January 2018 at 8.00pm with a presentation by Mick and Carole Freer entitled “Leasowes Walled Garden”. The Walled Garden lies at the heart of The Leasowes in Halesowen and was once internationally famous for its design and beauty. It is the mid 18th Century creation of the poet, William Shenstone and a reflection of its importance is its designation as a Grade 1 Listed Garden.

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