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banbury cadbury hall

Cadbury Memorial Hall.

Marjory Lester

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Opposite the sweet shop on the other corner was the Cadbury Memorial Hall. When the foundation stone was laid in 1876 it was called the 'Temperance Hall and British Workman'. Later the name was changed to the Cadbury Memorial Hall.

James Cadbury, a Quaker, was the prime mover in having the hall built and was the uncle of George Cadbury, the found of the Bourneville Chocolate Factory. James and his wife came to Banbury from Birmingham and bought a high class grocers and wine merchants shop in the Market Place. However, two years later James became a confirmed teetotaller. In order that his stock of wines and spirits should not be a temptation to his customers, he believed that by the pouring of his valuable stocks of liquor down the drain, he'd he helping them towards abstinence. Eventually he gave up his business so that he could devote all of his time to temperance work, promoting the study of the Bible, education and trying to improve the dreadful conditions of the town.

At that time Banbury had no mains drainage or serwage disposal. All the filth and garbage lay in the gutters or ran into open cesspits. The only water supply was from wells which were generally polluted. Every year large numbers of townspeople died in the terrible epidemics of cholera and typhoid which broke out in the summer. James organised a meeting of the townspeople to try and compel the Town Council to provide a proper drainage and clean water supply.

Public opinion at the meeting was so strongly in favour of the improvements that the Council reluctantly had to agree to instal the drainage but said that they could not afford a water supply as well. So James and his friends formed the Banbury Water Company, funded by private subscriptions.