Monday 29 April 2024

Chicolate Variety (2)

It's Complicated!

Say hello to "Chocolate Crumb".

One of the first stages in making milk chocolate is to combine cocao bean "juice" with milk solids and cocao fats in a vessel with reduced pressure.  It is the opposite of a large pressure cooker, maybe a sucker cooker! The resultant "sludge" is dried and makes, tada, chocolate crumb!

In 1911 and in response to the huge commercial success of Dairy Milk chocolate, Cadbury's opened a factory just up the road from Wolverhampton at a little village called Knighton.
The manufactory was created on the banks of the Shropshire Union Canal (although this Knighton is in Sraffordshire!). It was well off the th beaten track, therefore deliveries in and out were by canal.

Here is milk arriving ...
... and here is either chocolate crumb departing or cacao beans arriving.
The "crumb" would then chug happily via the canal network to Bourneville where the final processes would create the deliciousness that is Cadbury's top selling product today!

Later the site was developed and extended and ended up in the hands of a group called Premier Brands which makes, amongst many well know items, Cadbury's Cakes! (Yep, Cadbury's cakes are not made by Cadbury's!).
That's quite ruined fbb's day - he won't enjoy his raspberry chocolate mini rolls nearly as much!

Under Premier Brands the site was developed massively ...
... and until recent closure plans, employed about 300 people.
But bottom right, you can see a longboat parked at the old wharf ...
... which no loner makes anything, but is a well known landmark (should that be "water mark"?) for boaters on the canal.
Parts of the canal are very definitely a single track road water which means a retreat to a suitable passing place is often necessary!

Back At Bournville.
And a P.S. to yesterday's blog. Remember that bridge over the line from Bristol to Brum?
This is to the north of the Bournville factory. The diagram below shows how the trains got over to the eastern side of the canal where the "Waterside" wharf was located.
Obviously the bridge also crossed the canal! And, although well hidden from roads, it is very obviously still there as pictured from the towpath walk! 
The access road to the wharf is located just east of a very low bridge on Bournville Lane near Bournville station ...
... which is the other side of the very low bridge.
Opposite the station is one of the many back doors to the main factory complex ...
... where we really MUST start looking for purple, red and yellow wagons.

But there is a problem; the rilway closed in 1976 but almost all the om-line pictures of the Cadbury's rolling stock collection are provided by monochrome photos. Some of the locos are in colour but not the earliest!
But there is evidence ...
... that at least more recent diesels were not blue but chocolate brown, a color which would seem appropriate.
Some of the steam locos appear in coloured pictures but may have been hand tinted.
The mystery of monochrome montages applies very much to all older wagons.
Those vans that are preserved are, you guessed it ...
... painted to match the product!
There is one snap on-line of a Cadbury's coal wagon ...
...which surely wasn't yellow!
Why would you paint a coal wagon in yellow?

As for the rest as pictured in yesterday's blog, many more may be added. Here are some venerable Hornby "O" gauge tinplate versions ...
... for which fbb could find no evidence of full size reality. And as for the aged Triang Hornby model ...
...with a body shorter than its chassis, it is more definitely a fake. 

The only possible example of reality comes from Bachmann, whose Cadbury coal wagon ...
... might have existed, perhaps in chocolate rather than red? It is an even better model if you cam buy it "weathered"!
Maybe there is a Cadbury's wagon club of dedicated livery experts who would sort fbb out. But the new models from Dapol would appear to be fake or, at best, speculative.

Never mind eh? They are pretty, and at less that £12 from some suppliers ...
... they are, in today's market good'n' cheap.

Foe a more expensive Cadbury's van you can seek out this company ...
... and there's is Dairy Milk brown!

Tomorrow: a Baffling Bridge in Battersea!

 Next London blog : Tuesday 30th April 


  1. As each of the coloured wagons is no. 1, it does suggest that they are made up rather than based on a real prototype.
    Changing the mode, wasn't the low bridge by Bournville station on a Birmingham Corporation bus route, using Leyland Tigers and single deck Daimler Fleetlines at various stages?

  2. 1. 'Bournville; Steam and Chocolate' by Mike Hitches (Irwell Press, 1992) says that the locos were 'dark red- similar to that used on tins of drinking chocolate'. On rolling stock it only says 'several 4-wheeled wagons for both external and internal use.....were painted brown or grey- later ones had the Cadbury logo and place of origin painted in whitre at the top of one end of the vehicle with its stock number at the lower opposite end'.

    2. Knighton is on the Shropshire /Staffs border- the nearest towns are Newport and Market Drayton- not really 'just up the road from Wolverhampton'. It is currently used for making Mr Kipling's exceedingly good (?)
    cakes but is due for imminent closure. .
    3. Bournville Station Bridge did indeed enforce single deck operation on Birmingahm/ West Midlands service 27- for many years it was BCT's only single deck route. Its headroom is 9 ft 1 in which was quite tight even for a Leyland PS2.

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