2014 Projects

Launching of an Audio-post in Rowntree Park 21st October 2014

We launched our interactive audio-listening post in Rowntree Park on Tuesday 21st October. This permanent installation (by the Richardson St entrance) features eight highlighted memories recorded by local residents. Come and select a memory, turn the dial, crank the handle and listen to a unique piece of York history as it unfolds.

The unveiling was accompanied by a small exhibition in the Reading Café of the oral history project. Notable exhibits include donated items from project participants such as a Rowntree’s fireman’s helmet, Black Magic Boxes and a selection of original workforce documentation. We also had a replica of one of the psychometric tests used to assess workers entering the factory- a Moorees form board for people to see if they had the skills to work at Rowntree’s.

“Towards a Rowntree Agenda” Workshop on 23 October

Towards a Rowntree Agenda workshop

The final report is now available here. FINAL Workshop Report

Rowntree Park’s Birthday Party 20th July 2014

We enjoyed the Rowntree Park Birthday Party on Sunday 20th July 2014 1-4pm, including being asked to do the cutting of the cake for the official opening! We took a selection of Rowntree’s memories donated as part of our oral history project, “York  Remembers Rowntree”. People had a go at three of the tests used by the Rowntree’s factory to see whether they too could have been an employee and we gathered some more postcard memories.

York Festival of Ideas 2014

This year’s Festival theme was Order and Chaos. On Tuesday 17 June, Dr Bridget Morris (Director of the Rowntree Society) gave a lecture,  ‘And was Jerusalem Builded Here?’ at St. Helen’s Church. She explored some of the visionary ideas of the Rowntree family in the years leading up to World War I, as they looked with hope and optimism towards an ordered world of social justice and peace. Nowhere was their vision better exemplified than in New Earswick. But many of their dreams were shattered by the chaos of the Great War that changed the course of their aspirations for decades to come.

Factory girls in a time of peace

Factory girls in a time of peace

Joseph Rowntree Plaque

Look out for the commemorative plaque for Joseph Rowntree on Pavement, the site of the building where he was born.  We have collaborated with the York Civic Trust and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation for this plaque to mark the place where the Rowntree story in York all began. The official unveiling was by Julia Unwin, Chief Executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation,  on Monday 29 October at 10.00 a.m.



York Residents’ Festival, 25-26th January 2104, Recital Room, Bootham School

After a successful exhibition in 2011 at Penn House, The Rowntree Society did a follow-up event and explored a selection of exciting new Rowntree activities suitable for York residents of all ages.

The event was held at Bootham School in the Recital Room (No 43 Bootham), and provided a unique chance to see an elegant Georgian interior and imagine life as a classmate of Joseph Rowntree.

Some of the temporary exhibitions and family-orientated activities included:

  • How fast can you pack a box of black magic chocolates?
  • Can you complete a Moorrees formboard?
  • Find out what to wear on the factory floor
  • What did Rowntree’s York look like?
  • Discover the influence of a Quaker education
  • Find out how to make your very own peg doll
  • How many Rowntree family members attended Bootham School (45!!)
  • What does philanthropy mean to us today?
... As our volunteer, Alex, demonstrates!

… As our volunteer, Alex, demonstrates!


HLF logo

“York Remembers Rowntree” our  HLF funded Oral History Project

In May 2013 we were very excited to announce the successful outcome of our bid to HLF for an 18 month project to gather oral histories from across the city of York.

This project got off the ground in October with the appointment of a Project Manager, Suzanne Lilley; for more see  Twitter.

HLF logo



Looking for an easily accessible account of Joseph Rowntree’s life and work? Try this…

If you’re looking for an accurate and accessible account of  Joseph Rowntree, we highly recommend Chris Titley’s illustrated biography (published in October 2013 by Shire publishers).

To order a copy please download a leaflet and use the order form attached here.  Or get in touch with us if you would like to buy a copy direct – we have plenty in stock! It’s great value at £6.99 and is getting some very positive reviews.

A launch was held at the bookshop one of our trustees, Janette Ray.Chris signing