“York Remembers Rowntree” Oral History Project

cabinet of Cocoa


From fast-paced production lines to summer days spent in Rowntree Park and the smell of chocolate lingering over the city…

Everyone in York has a connection to Rowntree.

“York Remembers Rowntree” was an 18-month oral history project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, running from September 2013 to March 2015. The project used oral history, documents, social media and photography to capture the stories of York residents who have benefited from the legacy left by the Rowntree family. Through this project we aimed to record and collect the memories of York residents for whom the Rowntree name holds a special significance in their lives.

This project aimed to fill a gap in current knowledge about the contribution the Rowntree family had in the everyday lives of people within the city. We took an  in-depth look at four areas: the purpose built housing and community of New Earswick, factory life, entertainment & leisure time and transportation. Through this project we aimed to:

  •    Record the memories of people, which may otherwise be lost from history forever
  •    Build up an oral history archive to complement existing historical collections
  •    Provide a research resource for the community, students and researchers.


Our Volunteers’ Blog entries during the Project

The Rowntree Society Collection

Bridget : March 27, 2014 3:37 pm : Community life, Memories Project
As the “York Remembers Rowntree” oral history project has been active, we have received a number of wonderful donations from interviewees, families and members of the public. This provide a fabulously personal account of Rowntree’s and we would like to thank everyone who has given us items. I have started to photograph these more »

Gallery of York Residents Weekend 2014

Bridget : March 11, 2014 12:31 pm : Memories Project
This is what we got up to at the Residents Weekend back in January 2014…. If you took your own photos and would like to see them added to the gallery, please email them to memories@rowntreesociety.org.uk

A Volunteer’s View …”York Remembers Rowntree” Interview No. 10

Bridget : March 9, 2014 1:17 pm : Memories Project
By Jaanika Reinvald. Usually the idea on an interview fills me with dread and makes me lose sleep while I go around listing the skills and qualities that I bring to the company and what exactly I hope to gain in return. It was a very nice change to wake up in the more »

Event…York Residents Festival at Bootham School

Bridget : February 23, 2014 1:59 pm : Memories Project
By Jaanika Reinvald. On the fourth weekend of January York residents could enjoy a rare treat organised by a variety of heritage organisations in York – two Open Doors days. This means that societies that do not usually have HQs open to the public or museums that normally charge entrance fees found a more »

Behind the scenes… what happens at the office?

Bridget : January 20, 2014 7:23 am : Memories Project
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 more »

Behind the scenes… how to make your own fake chocolates

Bridget : December 31, 2013 6:34 pm : Memories Project
By Jaanika Reinvald. Taking into account our own fondness for real chocolates it was decided that the best way to actually manage a chocolate-packing activity was to make a batch of very realistic looking fake chocolates. In these five easy steps you can make your own set of fake chocolates. 1) Purchase a more »

Behind the scenes… the making of the Moorrees Formboard

Bridget : December 17, 2013 1:46 pm : Memories Project
By Jaanika Reinvald. Creating our interactive activities is no easy task! Getting ready for the event in the York Explore Library took no less than an entire weekend, or 16 straight hours, of preparation by a crew of volunteers. We did not have an original Moorrees Formboard and had only ever seen a more »

Event…Taking over York Explore Library

Bridget : December 13, 2013 3:06 pm : Memories Project
By Jaanika Reinvald. On Wednesday, the 4th of December we recreated some of the activities from the Rowntree factory days in the foyer of York Explore Library. Having set up a board with an eye-catching picture of the women working in the factory, laid out all the mouthwatering fake chocolates and set the more »

Now Recruiting Volunteers

Bridget : November 14, 2013 3:50 pm : Memories Project
Now that the “York Remembers Rowntree” Oral History Project has begun, we are recruiting dedicated volunteers with an interest in history to join our team. Volunteer placements are flexible, part-time and unpaid. There will be a number of opportunities to join the project throughout the year. Volunteers will be selected after an interview and will more »

Launching “York Remembers Rowntree” Oral History Project

admin : October 30, 2013 10:05 am : Memories 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 more »
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