History

Rowntree of York

Several generations of the Quaker Rowntree family have helped shape modern York as a city of confectionery manufacture as well as a city with a long history of involvement in social justice.

Confectionery industry YorkRowntree is one of the great names in confectionery history and many of the Rowntree brands (from Fruit Pastilles to KitKat, Black Magic, Smarties and Polos) are much-loved household names.  The Rowntree company provided a source of income for thousands of families right around the world. It also introduced professional standards in the business environment, long before such things were commonplace as they are today.

Joseph Rowntree was an industrialist who cared passionately about his workforce. But he also had a unique approach to poverty, at a time when there was little understanding of what poverty even meant. Most importantly, he drew attention to the need to tackle the root causes of poverty, and not just its immediate symptoms.

Today we live in a time when questions have re-emerged about philanthropy and corporate social responsibility, as well as questions about how we can achieve a fair and compassionate society. What can we learn from the life and work of the Rowntree family? And how are their ideals still relevant to us today?

On this site you can look for some answers to these questions.

(For information about the Joseph Rowntree trusts see here.)