In 1878 the Cadbury family set out to build a new site for their rapidly expanding chocolate business. As well as a new factory, part of their vision involved providing a high quality housing development to improve the quality of life for their workers and families.
Bournville (‘Bourn’ from the River Bourn, and ‘ville’ after the French word for town, as French influence was very fashionable at the time) was the creation of George Cadbury rather than the Cadburys company. George Cadbury's second wife, Elizabeth, was also heavily involved in philanthropy. Together they opened Woodlands Hospital in Northfield and built The Beeches, originally as a rest home for Salvation Army officers and later a country home where children from the inner city could holiday.
Between the 1920s and 1940s the Beeches underwent several different uses, including a temporary hospital for First World War soldiers, a training centre for social workers operating in the city, and a girls’ school house.
After the Second World War the Cadbury Brothers purchased the property from the Bournville Trust and a retail shop training programme was set up. The Beeches became know as The Beeches College, advertised as 'a residential college for men and women who intend to make careers in the grocery and confectionary trade'. Activities began with the first post-war Summer School of the Institute of Certified Grocers, with courses designed to help servicemen learn the retail trade following the war.
The old common room was converted to a lecture room and the craft house was used for practical activities such as display, bacon cutting and coffee roasting. One room of the college was converted into a completely equipped shop with a mobile shop window.
76 Selly Oak Road, Bournville, Birmingham B30 1LS
0121 433 3311
Directions from the M6 - From Junction 6 follow signs to BIRMINGHAM CITY CENTRE - A38(M). Keep in the right-hand lane onto the flyover. Stay in the right hand lane and go under three underpasses. Continue on the A38 straight on through SELLY OAK. After half a mile at the foot of a hill there is a pedestrian bridge, immediately before turn left into BOURNVILLE LANE, a Police Station is on the corner. Approximately half a mile up the hill take a left turn into SELLY OAK ROAD. The Beeches is 100 yards down on the left hand side.
Directions from the M42 - From Junction 2 turn onto A441 TO BIRMINGHAM. Continue over next four islands (becomes Pershore Road South). At the next island (you are now in Cotteridge with shops on your left) turn left into MIDDLETON HALL ROAD and you will immediately cross a pedestrian crossing. Take the third turn on the right into SELLY OAK ROAD (just before a set of pedestrian lights). Continue over two roundabouts and one crossroads. The Beeches will be 100 yards down on the left hand side.
Directions from the M5 - From Junction 4 follow A38 Birmingham signs. At island, turn left into A38 BRISTOL ROAD and continue through traffic lights at Northfield. When you pass “BOURNVILLE COLLEGE” get into right hand lane and U-turn through gap on the dual carriageway. You are now on the other side of the carriageway – take left into BOURNVILLE LANE next to a Police Station. Approximately half a mile up the hill take a left turn into SELLY OAK ROAD – THE BEECHES is 100 yards down on the left hand side.
The closest train station is Bournville Station with trains running to and from Birmingham New Street approx. every 10 minutes.
- Take the Bournville Lane exit
- From here you can catch a taxi (2-3 minute journey)
- Elite Cars Taxi Number: 0800 635 5000
Or you can walk which takes 10-15 minutes
Walking directions from Bournville Train Station to The Beeches:
- Follow the road straight, past the Cadbury’s Factory.
- Cross At the pedestrian lights on Linden Road. As you cross you will see a pedestrian/cycle path. Take the path straight to Selly Oak Road.
- You will see the venue as you approach the end of the footpath