A Georgian manor house once owned by the Cadbury family has been destroyed by an arson attack. More than 90 fire fighters were called to the 180-year-old property at Northfield manor in Birmingham England, after a deliberate arson attack. The timber fronted property, which was last used as student accommodation has been empty for a number of years. At the blazes height it is said that plumes of smoke could be seen from three miles (5km) away. The blaze started on Wednesday, however, fire fighters were still damping down the house on Thursday. There is now fear the house will have to be destroyed.

The property was home to George Cadbury, the son of the chocolate maker John. He bought the property in 1890 and his wife Elizabeth continued to live there until her death in 1951. In 1953, it was sold to Birmingham University. Then, in 2007, it was bought by Banner Homes for redevelopment. Justin Cadbury, the great-great grandson of John Cadbury, gave a statement in which he said he was shocked by the attack on the ''truly historic building''. ''It's extraordinary that somebody would do something like this," he said. "There is a real sense of loss when you see something physically collapse and go up in smoke."  

In 1824, the Cadbury business was born, when John Cadbury who sold tea, coffee and drinking chocolate from his shop at 93 Bull street Birmingham, with his brother and later his two sons. In 1831, John birthed the now worldwide known business of Cadbury by purchasing a four story warehouse to produce on a commercial scale, near Crooked Lane. By 1842, John Cadbury was selling no less than 16 varieties of drinking chocolate and 11 different varieties of cocoa. In 1847, business was booming and a larger factory was needed, so Cadbury moved to Bridge Street in the centre of Birmingham. In 1875, Cadbury created their first Easter egg. The eggs were smooth and plain and made of dark chocolate. They were filled with sugar-coated chocolate drops known as 'dragees'. Later the eggs would be decorated by hand and had their plain shells enhanced with marzipan flowers and chocolate piping.

Due to growing business in 1879, George Cadbury wanted a bigger factory and worked with Birmingham architect, George H. Gadd, to draw up plans for a factory and 16 houses for its workers. It would be called Bourneville. However, it would take until 1897 for Cadbury's first chocolate bar to be made, as when Cadbury used to make cocoa essence they found they had a lot of cocoa butter left over so they used it to make the bars. Since then, Cadbury has become the most recognisable name in the chocolate industry, with a net worth estimated to be £447,545,760 in 2011. They now have an ever growing number of chocolate bars with over 54 varieties, not including other sweets, beverages, cooking ingredients, biscuits, desserts and ice cream.