Somerdale Factory

Somerdale Factory, Keynsham, from lawns.jpg
Somerdale Factory is located in Somerset

Somerdale was a chocolate factory located in Keynsham near Bristol in south west England, closed by Kraft foods in 2011. It was the home of a Cadbury plc's production facility, and was originally built by the Fry family when they expanded through consolidation of a number of existing facilities located in the centre of Bristol.

After the First World War, Cadbury Brothers undertook a financial merger with J. S. Fry & Sons, which completed in 1919.[1] As a result of the merger, Egbert Cadbury joined the Fry side of the business. Along with Cecil Roderick Fry he was instrumental in the relocation and of the Bristol operations of Fry from Union Street to a 228-acre (0.92 km2) greenfield site called Somerdale Garden City, after a national competition in 1923.

As Quakers, the factory was built with social facilities, including playing fields and a large recreational sports grounds, which still today serves the town of Keynsham. This transfer took 11 years as production was gradually transferred as the modern blocks erected. Finally completed in 1935, at its height the Somerdale workforce was in excess of 5,000. It had its own power station and railway, with connection to the Great Western Railway via sidings at Keynsham railway station.[2] During World War II, with chocolate production reduced due to war time rationing, spare floor capacity was taken over by Rolls Royce to produce Merlin engines.

Previously, Keynsham Cadbury was the home of Fry's Chocolate Cream, the Double Decker, Dairy Milk, Chocolate Buttons, Cream Eggs and Mini Eggs, Cadbury's Fudge, Chomp and Crunchie. According to Cadbury employees (or 'chocolate welders' as they are locally known), the Crunchie machine made over one million bars a day.[3]

On 3 October 2007, Cadbury announced plans to close the Somerdale plant by 2010 with the loss of some 500 jobs. Another motivational factor was the high real estate value of the land. Labour MP for Wansdyke, Dan Norris said "news of the factory's closure is a hard and heavy blow, not just to the workforce, but to the Keynsham community as a whole".[4]

In late 2007 campaigns to save the Cadbury's factory in Somerdale were in full swing. One local resident started a campaign to urge English Heritage to protect the site, and preserve the history of the factory. This campaign hoped to stop the land being sold for housing, and the Somerdale factory being destroyed.[5]

In February 2010, following the takeover of Cadbury plc by Kraft Foods, the closure was confirmed to take place in 2011.[6] Production was moved to a sister factory in Skarbimierz, Poland.[7] Production of Cadbury products was however promised to not move entirely out of the United Kingdom. The factory closed on 31 March 2011, after which machinery was shipped to Poland.[8]

This page was last edited on 20 June 2018, at 08:50 (UTC).
Reference: under CC BY-SA license.

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