Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Fiona Joseph and Beatrice Cadbury

This week at our local writers' group we spent a lovely morning in the company of Fiona Joseph. Fiona is the author of a recent biography, titled 'Beatrice: The Cadbury Heiress Who Gave Away Her Fortune'.

If I say Cadbury, I guess most of you will think of chocolate. Maybe you will be aware that the Cadbury chocolate firm was founded by a Quaker family, who built a village for their factory workers, at Bournville, Birmingham. But did you know that in 1920 Beatrice Cadbury decided her wealth was incompatible with her social conscience, and so gave all her shares in the company to Cadbury employees? Well, I certainly didn't know that, despite my addiction to everything chocolatey.

During the morning, Fiona read extracts from the book, and spoke about how her first glimmer of interest in Beatrice Cadbury grew to something of an obsession. Research took Fiona to The Netherlands, where Beatrice spent much of her later life, raising eight children in circumstances very much poorer than she had known as a child. Fiona talked about the process of publishing the book, which she did under her own imprint of Foxwell Press, and shared lot of useful advice with members of the group.

I really enjoyed hearing about Beatrice's unconventional life, and how she dedicated herself to working for peace and social justice. For further information, Fiona's website is here.

21 comments:

Rosemary Gemmell said...

That's fascinating, Joanne. I didn't know that part of the story, although I've been to the Cadbury factory and consumed lots of chocolate and information!

joanne fox said...

I've been there too, Rosemary, although the smell of chocolate can get a bit overwhelming, even for a chocoholic like me.

bellaboo said...

Very interesting!....I shall ponder on that when I'm next munching on a bar of Dairy Milk.
Thanks for stopping by and leaving a lovely comment. :0)

joanne fox said...

A very good excuse for opening that next bar of Dairy Milk, Bellaboo!

bazza said...

I think Beatrice Cadbury is a fabulous name - you couldn't make it up could you? I have eaten chocolate from all around the world but for everyday enjoyment Cadbury's is unbeatable!
Click here for Bazza’s Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

joanne fox said...

Yes it does seem to be most people's favourite. A bit sad about the Kraft takeover though.

Old Kitty said...

I so knew chocolate was good for you!! Yay for Ms Beatrice!! What a woman and what a reformer and inspiration! Glad she is brought to centre stage by this biography! Yay for Fiona Joseph! Take care
x

joanne fox said...

Thanks Old Kitty. I think Beatrice has such a a remarkable story, it definitely deserved to be told.

Laraine Eddington said...

Loved your account. A combination of chocolate and selflessness is intriguing.

joanne fox said...

Thanks Laraine - that's a very good observation!

Teresa Ashby said...

What an interesting woman Beatrice was - sounds fascinating. Thank you for the link to Fiona's website, I'm off for a look :-) x

Joanna said...

Beatrice sounds very special and I would like to read the biography, It's so rare to hear about someone like that and it's especially heart-warming these days, when the world can seem so obsessed with shallow so-called celebrities, to hear about someone selfless. She

Thank you, Joanne. I'm so pleased Beatrice's story has come to light.

joanne fox said...

Teresa - I think she was quite a character.

Joanna - you're right that the world can seem shallow and overly concerned with material things. However I think we are seeing a bit of a reaction against that recently, with the protests against bankers' bonuses etc.

Biddy Fraser said...

You do have an interesting writer's group, Jo. Am looking for one round here and going to one next week, so cross-fingers. I really enjoyed the one I attended in Solihull. Have visited Cadbury's Chocolate Factory too - so much chocolate, so little time!

joanne fox said...

Yes, I am really enjoying it. Although a weekly commitment can be demanding, it does keep my mind on the writing.

Hope your writers' group works out too.

Diane Fordham said...

Very interesting Joanne. I have to admit I was thinking about chocolate.. and now I can't stop thinking about chocolate. I want some chocolate! :-)

joanne fox said...

If in doubt, eat chocolate, Diane!

Kay G. said...

What an amazing story, I am glad you shared this on your blog.

joanne fox said...

Thanks Kay. Happy Sunday. x

Jenny Woolf said...

Beatrice sounds quite an inspiring woman - what a good subject. I'll check out Fiona's website next. I think it's a pity that several businesses founded with high moral principles have now been taken over by conglomerates. I wish there were a few modern businesses that provided homes, facilities and participation for their employees. I can't think of any new businesses that do that - can you?

interesting post - thanks.

joanne fox said...

Jenny, moral principles seem sadly lacking in big business these days. Maybe smaller scale companies have more freedom to work on a more ethical basis than the big ones do.