What are we doing in 2018?

Right now we’re completing this new website which we hope you like, including a new section on the Rowntree timeline, year by year from its beginnings in 1822, right through to the company take-over in 1988.  The Rowntree History section also got a quiz of Rowntree Myths and Legends – some interesting stories that keep getting told and that we think deserve writing down! More to come on that soon.

We’re also working with JRHT to develop some heritage and community-based projects in New Earswick, planned to co-incide with the reopening of the Folk Hall in the spring. And we’ve got loads of different other things on the go, on a variety of fronts.


Get Fundraising

We are a small charity that relies on the generosity of our friends and supporters to run projects. Please join us in expanding this work by making a financial donation. It is easy to pay online (with or without Giftaid) by clicking the link below – or get in touch about other ways of giving, info@rowntreesociety.org.uk

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Please get in touch if you:

– Would like our material in a different format

– Experience problems accessing our material

– Would like to comment on the accessibility of our website


Contact details: info@rowntreesociety.org.uk

Get Fundraising

We are a small charity that relies on the generosity of our friends and supporters to run projects. Please join us in expanding this work by making a financial donation. It is easy to pay online (with or without Giftaid) by clicking the link below – or get in touch about other ways of giving, info@rowntreesociety.org.uk

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Terms and Conditions

By visiting this website you agree to accept the terms of use set out below.



The writing, images and media files published on this website are all protected by copyright law.

Materials on this site have been created by the Rowntree Society or licensed to the Rowntree Society by third parties. In a small number of cases we have been unable to trace the copyright owners. If you know of or suspect any oversight, or wish to question anything, please get in touch, info@rowntreesociety.org.uk.

Reusing materials on this site

Non-Commercial use: You may reuse the written materials and images published on this website under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0. Licence (see http://www.creativecommons.org), unless expressly stated otherwise. This means that you may copy, edit and distribute items from the site for non commercial use only and provided that you acknowledge the Rowntree Society as the source, with the wording: ‘Copyright: The Rowntree Society www.rowntreesociety.org.uk ©’.

For Commercial use: Please contact the Rowntree Society, stating the purposes for which you intend to use the materials, info@rowntreesociety.org.uk. You may not reuse materials that are not the copyright of the Rowntree Society without first obtaining consent of the copyright owner.


Get Fundraising

We are a small charity that relies on the generosity of our friends and supporters to run projects. Please join us in expanding this work by making a financial donation. It is easy to pay online (with or without Giftaid) by clicking the link below – or get in touch about other ways of giving, info@rowntreesociety.org.uk

Let's go

Privacy and Website Cookies Policy

We want everyone who supports us to feel confident and comfortable with how any personal information you share with us will be looked after or used. This policy sets out how we collect, use and store your personal information (this means any information that identifies or could identify you).

We are a ‘data controller’ for the purposes of the Data Protection Act 1998 and (from 25 May 2018) the EU General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679 (‘Data Protection Law’).  This means that we are responsible for, and control the processing of, your personal information.

How we collect information about you

We want to make sure you receive the communications that are most relevant to you, be it through visiting our website or receiving emails, post or phone calls.

We collect information from you in the following ways:

  • When you interact with us directly:This could be if you ask us about our activities, make a donation to us, ask a question about our work, purchase something, apply for a volunteering opportunity or otherwise provide us with your personal information.
  • When you interact with us through third parties:This could be if you provide a donation through a third party such as localgiving.com and provide your consent for your personal information to be shared with us.
  • When you visit our website:We gather general information which might include which pages you visit most often and which services, events or information are of most interest to you. We may also track which pages you visit when you click on links in emails from us. We also use ‘cookies’ to help our site run effectively. A cookie is a small data file that websites can write to your hard drive when you visit them. A cookie can contain information, such as a unique user identifier, that the site uses to track your visit. Our website uses cookies to uniquely identify all users visiting the site. Cookies used by the Rowntree Society cannot be used to obtain information about your system or to add you to any mailing lists. They are used to make browsing more efficient. If you disable cookies on your computer access to other areas of the site may be restricted.Wherever possible we use anonymous information which does not identify individual visitors to our website.
  • From other information that is available to the public:In order to tailor our communications with you we may collect information about you from publicly available sources.

The information we collect and why we use it

Personal information we collect includes details such as your name, email address, postal address, telephone number, as well as information you provide in any communications between us.  You will have given us this information whilst making an enquiry, making a donation, or registering for an event.

We will mainly use this information:

  • To process your donations or other payments, to claim Gift Aid on your donations and verify any financial transactions.
  • To keep a record of your relationship with us.
  • Where you volunteer with us, to administer the volunteering arrangement.
  • To contact you about our work.
  • For the purposes of dealing with your enquiry, or evaluating the services we provide.

We will not pass on your details to anyone else without your express permission. Where you have given us your express consent or otherwise clearly indicated to us (for example, by participation in our ‘York Remembers Rowntree’ Oral History project) we may use that data for further purposes in related project work and within the remit of the permission you have given.

Sharing your Information

The personal information we collect about you will mainly be used by our staff (and volunteers) who process this information under supervision and with appropriate safeguards.

We will never sell or share your personal information with organisations so that they can contact you for any marketing activities. Nor do we sell any information about your web browsing activity.

You can update your choices or stop us sending you these communications at any time by contacting info@rowntreesociety.org.uk.

Keeping your information safe

We take looking after your information very seriously. We’ve implemented appropriate physical, technical and organisational measures to protect the personal information we have under our control, both on and off-line, from improper access, use, alteration, destruction and loss.

Our website may contain links to other sites. While we try to link only to sites that share our high standards and respect for privacy, we are not responsible for the content or the privacy practices employed by other sites.

How long we hold your information for

We only keep it as long as is reasonable and necessary for the relevant activity, which may be to fulfil statutory obligations (for example, the collection of Gift Aid). When we no longer require to hold your information we will ensure that it is disposed of securely, e.g. by shredding paper records and deleting digital records.

Your rights

You have various rights in respect of the personal information we hold about you; please contact info@rowntreesociety.org.uk if you wish to know more.








Get Fundraising

We are a small charity that relies on the generosity of our friends and supporters to run projects. Please join us in expanding this work by making a financial donation. It is easy to pay online (with or without Giftaid) by clicking the link below – or get in touch about other ways of giving, info@rowntreesociety.org.uk

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Further links and archive resources

Borthwick Institute for Archives

The Borthwick Institute for Archives houses several collections of Rowntree archives in which there is considerable overlap. This overlap reflects the close integration of the Rowntree & Co /Rowntree Macintosh company, the Joseph Rowntree Trusts, and the Rowntree family over the 19th and 20th centuries.

The main collections are:

  1. The Rowntree Papers: the research papers of Benjamin Seebohm Rowntree. Owned by the University of York. No online catalogue presently available, but there is a hard copy catalogue available at the Borthwick.
  2. The Rowntree Mackintosh Company Archive. Owned by  http://www.nestle.co.uk. For an online listing (edited by J. Burg) see here.

The company archive also includes what survives of the Rowntree Company Technical Library, containing pamphlets, cuttings and books about management, business and the confectionery industry etc. A brief box listing is available at the Borthwick; no online catalogue presently available.

  1. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation Archive. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (formerly called the Joseph Rowntree Village Trust, and the Joseph Rowntree Memorial Trust) is one of the three Trusts set up by Joseph Rowntree in 1904. The holdings at the Borthwick include archives created by the Foundation itself, including papers on housing, and New Earswick model village, as well as other Rowntree material which was formerly housed at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation Library. This other material includes (1) Papers and correspondence of Benjamin Seebohm Rowntree (2) Rowntree Company papers  [which complement the holdings in the Rowntree Mackintosh Company Archive itself]  (3) Family correspondence and papers, including letters between Joseph Rowntree and his family.

Owned by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. There are hard copy catalogues at the Borthwick; no online catalogue is presently available. The catalogues are currently being restructured and updated, so that the resources will in future become more searchable for external users.

  1. Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust; a small amount of material (mixed into the Joseph Rowntree Foundation archive).
  2. Rowntree Family Letters. This is a separate collection of letters, including letters by Joseph Rowntree and his family, in particular to and from his first wife Julia: this complements the holdings of letters within the Joseph Rowntree Foundation archive.

The very rich photographic and film archives reflect factory scenes, products, marketing, production, cocoa plantations and social welfare.  Much of this material is held by the Borthwick Institute for Archives. About 10% can be seen online at Heritage Images: (go to ‘partners’ and ‘Borthwick Institute’).Visit Website

BIA also holds a collection of original paintings made for the Aero Girls advertising campaign in the 1950s. See Areo girls exhibition  Visit Website

Brotherton Library, Special Collections, The University Library, University of Leeds

The Quaker Archive at the University of Leeds holds the Clifford Street (York) collection of Quaker meeting minute books and business records (such as lists of members and marriage certificates), covering mainly York and Thirsk, but also Yorkshire as a whole. There are maps showing the extent of the relevant Yorkshire monthly meetings before 1853, 1854-1923 and since 1924. The Rowntrees played a major part in the Clifford Street Meeting and their involvement in its daily business and spiritual development is reflected in these papers.

Leeds University Special Collections – Quaker Society of Friends archives

British Newspapers Archive

An online collection of up to 40 million newspaper pages from the British Library’s collection; contains very many entries on Rowntree. Visit Website

Bruno Lasker papers

Bruno Lasker’s (1880-1965) papers are held by the Columbia University Libraries Archival Collections. Visit Website

 Castle Museum York (York Museums Trust)

York’s Castle Museum has a large collection of items on social history, built up by the museum’s founder, Dr John L Kirk, in 1938. The ‘Kirkgate’ reconstructed street is based on real York businesses, and it includes a Temperance Cocoa House and a Rowntree snicket reconstructing working class homes based on Seebohm Rowntree’s poverty study.

An education worksheet for anyone visiting Kirkgate and the Rowntree snicket at the York Castle Museum.

Visit Castle Museum Website


Charles Booth online archive

The original record, held at the London School of Economics, of Booth’s investigation into life and labour in London, between 1886 and 1903. Visit Website

City of York Archives & Libraries

York City Council’s holdings relate mostly to the civic aspects of the city’s history and the Rowntrees’ part in that history, including pamphlets and historic newspapers, and the ‘Cocoa Letters’ (a collection of letters sent back from the front to thank the Lord Mayor and sheriff for their generosity in sending consignments of chocolate out to the serving troops. Visit Website

Friends House Library, London

One of the largest libraries in the world for Quaker collections, including many Quaker journals. Some Rowntree family material, especially in relation to their Quaker work nationally, is housed here. Visit Website

Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust archive

The papers of the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust are held by the trust.

Joseph Rowntree Foundation archive

The papers of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation are mostly held by the Borthwick Institute for Archives (see above).

Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust archive

The papers of the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust are held by the trust.

Nestlé plc archive

The written documents and company history of the original Rowntree company (later Rowntree Mackintosh) collections, owned by Nestlé plc, are today housed in the Borthwick Institute for Archives (see above). A company archive (not open to the public) of artefacts and other related material exists at the York factory.

The highlights of this collection include more than 300 films that were recently uncovered at the company’s base in Croydon, the original pre-war artwork for the classic Black Magic advertising campaigns, a rare collection of  1920s chocolate moulds as well as magazines, catalogues and other documents. The collection also houses the stained-glass window from the Haxby Road site’s oldest office, as well as the famous Mr York robot that dates back to an advertising campaign from the 1920s for Plain York, York Milk and York Motoring Chocolate (currently on loan and on display at York’s Chocolate Story).

Contact: consumer.services@uk.nestle.com Alex Hutchinson, 
Nestlé UK Archive
 PO Box 203
 YO91 1XY

Quaker archives in Yorkshire

A research bibliography ‘Researching Quaker Yorkshire History’ was compiled by Helen E. Roberts in 2003 (updated in 2007);

Quakers in Yorkshire

Quaker Schools in the UK

For an overview of the archives of some of the Quaker schools in the UK:

Quaker schools in the UK

Other related links

An overview of the global History of Philanthropy. Visit Website

 A site run from the Netherlands and including useful information about several of the pioneers of social reform. Visit Website

A site that contains several Victorian tracts on the subject of social conditions among the poor, that help to place the Rowntree studies into a wider context Visit Website

A trail of Bristol’s chocolate heritage, exploring the impact of sugar and slavery on the built environment: Visit Website

The Cadbury story Visit Website

York Civic Trust. A useful guide to a number of local archives resources. Visit Website

A Guide through the History of York. From its pre-history to the present day.  Visit Website

Port Sunlight Model Village Visit Website

Letchworth Garden City Visit Website

Bournville Model Village Visit Website

Saltaire Village Visit Website


Evelyn collection, York Minster Library

During his career as a medical practitioner William Evelyn (d. 1935) built up a collection of 3000 glass slides that captured the built environment in York. He bequeathed it to Yorkshire Architectural and York Archaeological Society and it is housed in the York Minster Library. It is a unique documentation of some of York’s lost buildings. http://www.yayas.org.uk

Yorkshire Film Archive

The Yorkshire Film Archive holds 128 films of Rowntree materials on deposit; some sample materials are available online. Visit website http://www.yorkshirefilmarchive.com

Imagine York

Imagine York is an online photographic collection of 6000 historic images of York. It is an excellent integrated resource for finding information about the Victorian and Edwardian city. Visit Website 

The York Press

The Press, York (formerly the Yorkshire Evening Press) has an archive of photographic prints dating back to the early 1900s.

 It is not indexed, but is organised alphabetically.

Since 1997, all Press photographs have been electronically archived. Many of the photographs can be viewed online. To view these, or order copies, visit: http://www.yorkpress.co.uk or call Press Photosales on 01904 567135 or email photosales@thepress.co.uk.

Get Fundraising

We are a small charity that relies on the generosity of our friends and supporters to run projects. Please join us in expanding this work by making a financial donation. It is easy to pay online (with or without Giftaid) by clicking the link below – or get in touch about other ways of giving, info@rowntreesociety.org.uk

Let's go