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Bournville Gardens - Ann and Neville Shaw

Ann and Neville Shaw have lived in Bournville for more than 50 years and the area holds a special place in their hearts.

Ann was just 15 when she went to work in the Cadbury Factory and has fond memories of the happy times she spent there. Now the couple have moved from their three bedroom semi-detached house in Bournville into a two bedroom apartment in Bournville Gardens.

Their immaculately kept house became more difficult for them to maintain. The vacuum cleaner that felt light when they bought it a few years ago became a struggle to carry upstairs. Ann, now 77, used to trim the edges of her lawn with scissors, but even though it has been replaced by slabs she had to sweep the leaves instead. All the bending and kneeling was proving too much, and it was also time to leave the fish pond behind.

Ann and Neville's new apartment is all on one level, and they can enjoy looking at the pots on their large wrap around balcony instead.

‘When you are younger you want bigger and bigger,’ says Neville who built his first home in Bournville as part of a self-build group. ‘Now we want smaller and smaller.’

Ann’s sister Marilyn is moving into Bournville Gardens too, and also her friend from around the corner. The sisters will be living across the corridor from each other, and Ann says they will probably go to the gym together. Neville is sure they will still be on the phone to each other for an hour every night.

Neville, now 78, used to be known as the singing bus driver, and spent 25 years on the buses. He had a double heart by-pass in 2006 and believes their health will benefit from living in Bournville Gardens.

‘There will be so many things we can take part in,’ he says. ‘We are in a little bit of a rut. I am very hopeful it will give us a new lease of life. It’s the start of something really great.’

Bournville village was built by the Cadbury family along with the factory. George Cadbury, who was born in 1839, was driven by a passion for social reform.  He wanted to provide good quality low cost homes for people from a wide range of backgrounds in a healthy environment. He set about building a village; his ambition was that one-tenth of the Bournville estate should be laid out and used as parks, recreation grounds and open space.

The Cadbury plant in Bournville became known as the factory in a garden.

Ann went to work at the Cadbury factory in 1953, and left to have the first of her two children.

Neville believes that Bournville Gardens is a natural progression from what George Cadbury had in mind. ‘This is something that wouldn’t have been envisaged in his day,’ he says. ‘But I think if he was here now this is exactly what he would have wished for.’