Letters - 23 October 2020

From George Cadbury to electronic alternative

George Cadbury

Paul Vallely’s article (2 October) reflects on George Cadbury’s acts of benevolence and his views on such. He quotes George Cadbury as saying that his ‘children entirely understood his determination to give away their heritage, and will be all the better for being deprived of it’. Well, up to a point Lord Copper. He did give away a great deal of his money, much of it to the Bournville Village Trust and to the newspapers he bought including the Daily News run by George’s eldest son Edward until it merged with the Daily Chronicle to become the News Chronicle. This was then run by another son, Laurence. However, the chocolate company was made a private limited company in 1899. Most of the immediate family, as well as the wider cousinhood including my own family, had shares in the business, as well as in the newspapers which were bequeathed to his children.

For all that George and his family embraced Quaker simplicity and its ethical values, to say that ‘he kept only what he required to maintain his fairly frugal lifestyle’ depends rather on how you define ‘fairly’. George and Elizabeth had several large houses, initially buying Woodbrooke as the family home. When that became a Quaker college, he bought the Manor House in Northfield, and their country retreat in the Malvern Hills, Winds Point, still in the family today. The so-called frugal lifestyle enabled many of the family to be privately educated, several at Eton, and most of them lived well off their shares.

This is not to criticise, as I would maintain that how families spend their money is their own affair. Indeed, it would be hypocritical of me to do so, as my father’s shares helped to pay for us children to go to Quaker schools, and many of my happiest days have been and continue to be spent at Winds Point.

But I believe that the garden suburb movement, of which Bournville is a progenitor, is a great creation, a welfare state before its time. When my grandfather John Henry Barlow, its first director, died, one of those who first paid tribute was Henrietta Barnett, saying that her inspiration for Hampstead Garden suburb came from his work at Bournville. Part of the government’s new housing policy is looking at similar schemes.

Woodbrooke was donated to Friends to be a Quaker college and the Manor property was offered to the Friends Ambulance Unit by Elizabeth Cadbury as the home for its training ground in world war two. So, while George’s philanthropy was mostly successful, the implication that the children were left poor without their ‘heritage’ is a little wide of the mark. Finally, while as George says ‘he had ten children’, Deborah Cadbury is not descended from any of them!

Antony Barlow

Light and love

I must congratulate the Friend for publishing the article by Christine Downes-Grainger (25 September). I found the last paragraph of her article of profound importance to our secular and logic-dominated country today. I am conscious as a Quaker of reaching out to the wider community in a way that will not be dismissed as ‘odd’, ‘cranky’ or simply crazy!

One must appeal to the universal consciousness which is shared by all people even if they are not aware of such. To quote from Christine’s last paragraph: ‘Maybe consciousness operates on a similar basis to steam, water, ice – three forms of one substance’. H2O. On this planet we are in the liquid form of H2O – this forms eighty per cent or more of our bodies. Physicists told us over 100 years ago that all matter is but condensed energy. There are no solid solids! This is a great euphemism. Steam equates to our highest energy state – spiritual existence.

When we are born into incarnation on Earth we can still be aware of our spiritual origin, such as when experiencing love, beauty, harmony and all the positive qualities of life. We are aware of approaching the Transcendent, The Source, The Light when we are in deep reflection and meditation.

Yet on Earth we constantly need the powerful activity of our material brains (more than ninety per cent water). Ice is frozen water. We become frozen like ice when we cease to be enlightened by love, beauty, harmony, rest and quiet. The negative emotions of anxiety, fear, hatred, being drugged in many different ways will freeze out the healing of love and light. However, we only have ‘to open the door’ to let love and light flood in and unfreeze us. How much of our many woes and illness is related to freezing out light and love?   
Anthony D Fox

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