‘In the Happy Days of Our Childhood’ by Maria Cadbury
Maria wrote this memoir much later in life at the request of her niece. Maria was born in 1838 and was the daughter of John Cadbury and his wife Candia Barrow. They lived in Calthorpe Road, Edgbaston, a rural area at the time. She had two older brothers, John and Richard, and three younger brothers George, Edward and Henry. Her father had a tea, coffee and chocolate business in Bull Street, the business that her brothers Richard and George would later transform by moving it to Bournville.
Like many adult recollections of childhood it has an idyllic tone. She recalls a very happy childhood and family life in a comfortable Quaker home. The children enjoyed nature, gardening, childhood games and seaside holidays at Blackpool. In this extract she draws a touching portrait of John, an affectionate father, feeding her and George an egg at breakfast before going into to his business in Bull Street.
However, discipline in the home could be strict. When Maria and George disobeyed their parents by filling their watering cans after being told not to, their punishment was to be ‘dipped overhead, quickly in and out’ of a deep-filled tub of warm, soapy water. It was a lesson in obedience that Maria never forgot.
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