Chocolate heaven: productive consumption and corporate power in the recreational landscapes of Cadbury, Bournville and Hershey, Pennsylvania in the early twentieth century

Chance, Helena (2019) Chocolate heaven: productive consumption and corporate power in the recreational landscapes of Cadbury, Bournville and Hershey, Pennsylvania in the early twentieth century. Studies in the History of Gardens & Designed Landscapes, 39 (1). pp. 22-39. ISSN 1943-2186

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Abstract

Designer, poet and socialist William Morris, for whom gardens and flowers embodied ideals of beauty and morality, believed that gardening could redeem working as well as private lives. In his polemic ‘The Factory as it Might Be’, published in Justice in 1884, Morris imagined a ‘not for profit’ industrial utopia where workers on a four-hour day would ‘delight in the most innocent and pleasant’ of occupations - gardening in the factory grounds.1 Allotments or ‘community gardens’ 2 provided in the workplace to encourage temperance, good health and sound domestic economies, had been common in the industrial landscape from the early nineteenth century. By the early twentieth, corporate leaders, motivated by similar ideals as Morris, but seeking to profit by them, provided increasingly sophisticated gardens and parks for their employees.3 Attractive factories came to be signifiers for burgeoning consumer goods companies as they exploited the associations of natural beauty and healthy environments to present their products as healthy, wholesome and hygienic. The packaged foods industry had a particular need to promote these attributes, notably the chocolate companies Cadbury at Bournville in the UK, and Hershey in the USA, where attractive landscapes and extensive recreational facilities became decisive factors in shaping their reputations as model factories, or industrial utopias, and in their commercial success. This article builds on emerging research into the history and cultures of corporate recreational landscapes in Britain and the United States, 4 in discussing the alternative landscaping and recreation strategies of the chocolate manufacturers Cadbury at Bournville in the UK and Hershey in Pennsylvannia, USA in the first three decades of the twentieth century. While I have discussed the Cadbury landscapes in previous publications, I mention the company town of Hershey only in passing, because my published research to date has focused on a type of corporate recreation ground that was not the park of an industrial town or village. 5 However, a comparison of the Cadbury factory parks that became models for corporate landscaping until well into the twentieth century, and Hersheypark which was atypical within corporate landscape typologies, reveal new insights into corporate landscaping practices as industry engaged in negotiating the emerging social democratic age of mass consumption, mass leisure and mass media. This comparison also contributes to the limited scholarship that analyses dialogues between European and American Progressivism in 2 the early twentieth century era of social and urban reform when the United States initially took ideas from Europe and then developed them in alternative ways.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: ** From Crossref via Jisc Publications Router.
Keywords: Visual Arts and Performing Arts, Nature and Landscape Conservation
SWORD Depositor: JISC Router
Depositing User: JISC Router
Date Deposited: 21 Jan 2019 14:38
Last Modified: 09 Feb 2021 07:58
URI: https://bucks.repository.guildhe.ac.uk/id/eprint/17649

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