Launching “York Remembers Rowntree” Oral History Project

Well, I can hear you thinking, ever since we announced our Heritage Lottery Fund grant in May this year, all has gone very silent from the Rowntree Society. So here’s an update, hopefully the first of many to come on this newly created page on our website. (Actually, that’s one of the things we’ve just done, as well as putting some updated educational materials into the Resources tab. I hope you’ve had a chance to look at the website – if you’re reading this, you will have done, come to think of it.) It was launched on the same day as we announced the HLF project in May.

The launch was quite an occasion, as we were lucky enough to be offered the newly converted YHA York flagship building as a venue. That’s an old Rowntree home in York (find out more on our Wikipages). Stephen Lewis from The Press did an interview with Brenda Batty, a former company employee who had so many incredible memories to fit into a 10 minute slot. It was a real treat and a taste of the project to come. A big thank-you both to Stephen and to Brenda.

Since then, we’ve been busy setting up the project, advertising, recruiting and appointing a new Project Manager. More on the appointment later. We’ve also got a brand new project office ready at Clements Hall, all freshly painted and carpeted. I’ve moved from our old large office into a much smaller one that is the nicest and quietest place to work even though I’ll miss the view of the city wall and the three-legged cat on Swan Street.

Ever since May I’ve been dealing with enquiries about the new project, from people who would like to offer a memory or be interviewed, to prospective volunteers. I’ve done quite a few talks to local history groups this summer and there’s a big demand to tell their story.

So you see, we’re all ready to get started in October and really really excited about “York Remembers Rowntree”.

PS – as I was writing this someone called to give me a souvenir tin of Smarties from the Queen’s coronation – Smarties still with their colour though a bit faded but smelling of chocolate! She said her Dad used to tell her that if she didn’t get on with her homework she’d end up working at Rowntrees….