WITH children’s favourite, Wonka, arriving in cinemas across the country, developer Barratt London is keen to spotlight its own chocolate factory in Hayes.

Hayes Village will eventually feature around 1,500 new homes, some of which retain features from the site’s early history as the former Nestlé factory in Nestles Avenue.

This canalside community was once home to its own eccentric chocolatier and bodybuilder, Eugen Sandow.

Born in 1867, he was known as the father of modern bodybuilding.

He travelled throughout Europe with his talents and adopted Eugen Sandow as his stage name.

Sandow was encouraged to take part in a strongman competition in London, where he beat the reigning champion and won instant fame and recognition for his strength.

He invested his earnings into Sandow’s Cocoa Works and the factory opened in Hayes in 1913. Sandow claimed chocolate was the source of his strength.

In 1929, the factory changed hands to become the first factory outside Switzerland to manufacture the Nestlé Milky Bar.

The site is now being redeveloped by Barratt London as Hayes Village, part of a regeneration project.

Joseph Antoniazzi, Director of Sales and Marketing, said: “As a much-loved local landmark, it is incredibly important to us that regeneration of the former Nestlé factory is heritage-led, and we honour its former owners where possible.

“Last December, we unveiled a 28-metre mural celebrating the life of Eugen Sandow, which reflects all aspects of his life.

“Historic brownfield sites, such as disused factories, often represent an important part of the community’s history.”

Due for completion in 2027, Hayes Village will provide views across the Grand Union Canal and nine acres of previously unused green open space.

This includes a 1.3km walking trail, 200m running track, redevelopment of the canal frontage and a footpath from the historic green to Hayes and Harlington rail station.