If you have been to Manor Farm Park, just off the Bristol Road between Selly Oak and Northfield, you’ll have noticed the ‘Cadbury Barn’ at the main entrance which is semi-derelict and boarded up.
Birmingham Conservation Trust has been commissioned to prepare an ‘Options Appraisal’, working with Friends of Manor Farm Park, Bournville Village Trust and others to explore the possibility of restoring the Barn. We want to give the Barn and adjacent buildings a new purpose and a new lease of life.
A very potted history of what is arguably one of the city’s most unusual historic timber buildings.…
The Barn was built shortly after George and Elizabeth Cadbury moved to Manor Farm in 1894, in what was effectively their back garden!
The Cadbury’s would welcome disadvantaged children from Birmingham’s slums to the countryside, and by all accounts the Barn would be full of noisy children having tea almost daily! Later during World War II the ‘Friends Ambulance Unit’ used the Barn and other buildings as a training camp. In 1951, on the death of Dame Elizabeth Cadbury, the farm and all its buildings, including the Barn, passed to Birmingham City Council, becoming a council park.
You might have heard the devastating news that last week the Cadbury’s former home, the Manor House (currently owned by Banner Homes), was destroyed in an arson attack. See here for more details. It is more important than EVER to find a use for this building, which is now the only surviving building on what was the Manor Farm estate.
This is one of two barns which were built at the same time. We have found this photograph of the other one, which was a Girls Gymnasium. We believe this has now been incorporated into the Cadbury Club in Bournville.
Have you got any memories?
Anne, one of our BCT Supporters Group members, got in touch with this lovely memory:
“I was born in 1934 and was five years old when the Second World War broke out. I lived with my parents in Churchill Road, Bordesley Green, and there was not much opportunity to travel very far. I shall never forget Dame Elizabeth’s kindness when she organised for city children to visit Manor Farm. As a member of St. Paul’s Church, the Vicar’s wife, Mrs. Hart, arranged for children to visit Manor Farm, where we had a picnic in the Barn after playing in the Park and beside the ?Bourn Brook. We were also taken to the Manor House to view the birds in an aviary. On our return, I was running along the drive and fell over. I still have some of Dame Elizabeth’s gravel in my elbow and knee! I also remember the mirrors which made me fat and thin in the entrance to the Barn. Sir Adrian Cadbury did tell me, when he visited the Barber Institute a few years ago to give a lecture, that these mirrors had been given to his cousin. I wonder if there is any chance of them being returned to the Barn after restoration?”
I’m sure some of you have your own memories, so please do get in touch below. We’d love to hear your stories…
What does the future hold for the Cadbury Barn?
Please help us develop the proposals for the Barn and its future.
What ideas do YOU have? What facilities would you like to see at Manor Farm Park? What activities and events would bring you to the Park?
Please take part in our on-line survey which also includes more historical information and images.
Support our public event!
We are running a Heritage Open Days event on 13 September 2014, 12.30-5pm as part of the consultation work for the Options Appraisal. Come along and have a look inside the building and give us your ideas.