The last home of George Cadbury, Manor House on the Bristol Road South, caught fire on Wednesday and has been left in a serious condition.
To all those who value the history and legacy of George Cadbury this is a shocking occurrence.
The authorities have hinted at arson but the question still remains how could such an historic house have been left over the years to fall into such disrepair and why was it so lightly guarded from probable vandalism and possible arson.
It is hard to imagine the last home of Sir Winston Churchill or Lloyd George or even Joseph Chamberlain being left so vulnerable and neglected.
George Cadbury bought Northfield Manor House in 1890 and the Cadbury family moved there from their home, Woodbrooke, on the Bristol Road in Bournville in 1894. They lived there together until George’s death at the house in 1922. Elizabeth continued to reside there until her own death in 1951.
Northfield Manor House was then bequeathed to the University of Birmingham in 1953 by the Cadbury family.
On acquisition by the University, the property was renamed The Manor House and converted for use from 1958 as a hall of residence. Additional wings have since been added. Its use as a hall of residence ceased in 2007, apparently because of prohibitive costs of bringing the property up to current health and safety standards.
It was then shamefully abandoned by the University allowing it to slowly fall into disrepute.
A planning application had recently been accepted by the City Council to redeveloped the house and its surrounding grounds by Banner Homes Midlands.