AMAZING GROUNDS-4

BOURNVILLE, BIRMINGHAM (ENGLAND)

Photo courtesy: Openplaques.org

Mr. & Mrs Barrow Cadbury

Bournville club cricket ground.  Photo courtesy: Google .com

AddressLinden Road, Birmingham, B30 1JR

Bournville was the site chosen by George & Richard Cadbury when they relocated their Cocoa and Chocolate factory from central Birmingham.  Following their Quakers’ principles ( Non-violent ways), they built a  “model” village, where their workers could live in as pleasant and healthy conditions as possible.  Facilities were provided for all types of sports, including Cricket.

Bournville is a model village on the Southwest of Birmingham best known for its connections with the Cadbury family and Chocolate, including a dark chocolate bar “Bournville”.  

Historically in northern Worcestershire, it is also a ward within the council constituency of Selly Oak and home to the Bournville Centre of Visual Arts.  Research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation in 2003 found that it is one of the nicest places to live in Britain.

The first recorded match on the ground was in 1891.  A beautiful imposing pavilion with 3 floors was built in 1902 to commemorate the coronation of King Edward VII.  The tea room on the first floor is a memorial to Cadbury workers who died in World War II ( 1939-44).

When Bournville was part of Worcestershire ( now part of Warwickshire), this generously sized club ground hosted two county matches against Essex in 1910 & Surrey in 1911.  

The Bournville Cricket Ground in Birmingham, England was used for first-class cricket by Worcestershire on two occasions. In 1910 they drew with Essex, and the following year they beat Surrey by two wickets. Warwickshire played Second XI matches here for a few years in the 1960s and 1970s. The ground also hosted four games in the ICC Trophy in 1979, 1982 and 1986. The ground is now home to Bournville Cricket Club during the summer, who currently compete in the Warwickshire Cricket League.

Some of the famous feet trod on this turf includes Foster Brothers, J.W.H.T. Douglas, who captained England (1911-18), England openers Tom Hayward and Jack Hobbs.

The ground must have been very well cared for to meet county cricket standards.  It was still in good enough condition for Aston Villa to train here before the 1957 Cup Final, the nearest they could find to the legendary perfection of Wembley Stadium, London. 

The controversial sale of Cadbury to American food giant “Kraft” didn’t deter the spirit of the Club as it is not subject to the vicissitudes of factory ownership.  The ground is owned and protected by the Bournville Village Trust, formed in 1901, which is independent of the company.

The Cadbury organisation has no real connection with the club except it’s early beneficence.

Until the 1960s the cricket teams were made up almost entirely of workers of the factory, but no longer now.

The Grade II Listed Pavilion recently underwent a facelift.

Today Bournvlile fields 3 teams on a Saturday in the Warwickshire League.  The Sunday side, the Bournville Sophists, plays a more relaxed form of cricket, “Cricket as it should be”

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