Rowntree Family Biographies

1880-1900Joseph Rowntree Joseph Rowntree (1836-1925)

Grocer, cocoa and chocolate manufacturer, social reformer, and philanthropist. He was born at Pavement, in York 24 May 1836. He was the second of the three sons (there was one surviving daughter) of Joseph Rowntree and Sarah Stephenson.  On leaving school Joseph was apprenticed to his father’s grocery business, then spending part of 1857 gaining experience of a grocery establishment in Fenchurch Street, London, before returning to York as a partner in his father’s business.

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Julia Seebohm Rowntree

Julia Elizabeth Seebohm (1841-1863), daughter of Benjamin Seebohm (1798-1871), of German descent, and Esther Seebohm (born Wheeler, 1798-1864) from Hitchin. Both her parents were Quakers. She had two older brothers, Frederic and Henry. Frederic grew up to become a banker and much of his spare time was spent writing on economic history. Henry went into iron and steel, but he too had a side interest, as a naturalist.

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1860-1880 Henry Issac (2)

 Henry Isaac Rowntree (1838-1883)

The youngest of the three sons of Joseph Rowntree and Sarah Stephenson.  Educated at Bootham School. After the death of Samuel Tuke the head office of the Tuke family tea merchant’s firm was transferred from York to London; and in 1862 Henry Isaac bought from the Tukes the cocoa, chocolate and chicory workshop at the back of their premises in Castlegate. By 1864 the business had moved to Tanner’s moat (close to what was later to become Lendal Bridge).

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1880-1900Arnold Rowntree

Arnold Stephenson Rowntree (1872-1951)

Born at ‘Mount Villas’, York, in 1872, Arnold was youngest of the four surviving sons of John Stephenson Rowntree (1834-1907) and Elizabeth Rowntree (born Hotham, 1835-1875). Before Arnold’s third birthday, his mother was killed in a carriage accident while the family were on holiday at Ingleton. He and his younger sister Hilda (b. 1874) were cared for during the next three years by Joel Cadbury (1838-1916) of Birmingham, and Maria Cadbury (born Hotham 1841-1928), who was Arnold’s aunt. In 1878, on their father’s remarriage, the two children returned to York.

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Seebohm Rowntree

Benjamin Seebohm Rowntree

Rowntree, Benjamin Seebohm (1871-1954), normally referred to as Seebohm Rowntree, was born in 1871, second of the four sons of Joseph Rowntree and Emma Antoinette Rowntree. He was educated by governesses at home, at Bootham School, and at Owen’s College, Manchester (where he studied chemistry). At the age of 18 he entered the family cocoa and chocolate business, with which he was associated until retirement in 1941. He immediately put his Manchester experience to good use when, in 1889, he established a research and testing laboratory.

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