Behind the scenes… what happens at the office?

By Jaanika Reinvald

A regular day volunteering with the Rowntree Society is never dull, always full of new stories and unexpected happenings. The other day when I was heading to the Society’s offices at Clements Hall I was expecting to sit down for a couple of hours, pore over some Cocoa Works Magazines and collect ideas for future posts. Little did I know that Mr X, who had heard about our oral history project and efforts to collect memories connected to the Rowntree legacy, had come up with the same idea and was planning on joining myself and Suzanne for a pleasant chat about the Cocoa Works Band. So there I was, happily tapping away on the computer buried in my very own version of Rowntree world when the receptionist knocked on the office door and led in a charming gentleman bursting with the desire to share his memories right on the spot. It was a lucky occurrence that Mr X tracked us down in the actual Society offices as all the recording equipment was already there and we did not have to put our shorthand note taking skills to the test.

The problem with collecting oral histories is that the best stories and most interesting factoids tend to crop up when there is no possibility to record any of it. For example, I have been shown detailed moves and tricks on how to perfect your fruit pastille packing skills, but as I lacked a camera at the time there is no record of it. It only remains to be better prepared for the Residents’ Weekend!

Our doors at Clements Hall are always open and we are excited to receive visitors whether it is to share a memory with us or to simply purchase a copy of the new Joseph Rowntree biography.