What we do
Why a Rowntree Society?
When Joseph Rowntree was voted York’s ‘Man of the Millennium’ in 2000, there was a danger of the Rowntree stories being lost forever. The Society’s founders acted to ensure that there was an organisation which could act as the guardian of this rich heritage, believing in its continuing relevance for the present and for future generations. That was twenty years ago. There is now a rapidly expanding interest in the city’s confectionery history, and a growing recognition of the significant contributions of the Rowntree family, company and charitable trusts, in welfare, education, business and philanthropy. The Rowntree Society provides a reliable base of information that nurtures and informs that growing interest.
What is our main objective?
We facilitate and support projects and activities which engage critically and creatively with the rich histories and legacies of the Rowntree family, company and charitable trusts. In doing so, we aim to highlight the continuing importance of these histories to the local, national and global challenges facing our contemporary world, including health, housing, welfare, education, and social inequalities.
Who funds The Rowntree Society?
We are grateful to the three Joseph Rowntree Trusts for their financial support, which enables us to further knowledge about the Rowntree legacies. For specific projects we seek separate funding from grant-making trusts and individuals.
How are we related to the Joseph Rowntree trusts?
As an independent charity with its own board of trustees, The Rowntree Society works separately from the Joseph Rowntree trusts, although from time to time it assists and collaborates with them, especially on legacy issues.
Who are our partners?
Collaborative working is at the heart of what we do. We work at different times and in different ways with many colleagues and partners. Locally, we have strong connections with the Borthwick Institute for Archives, York Explore, University of York, York St. John University, York Museums Trust, Visit York, York Civic Trust. We also work with local history societies, community groups and voluntary sector organisations. We have previously developed projects with commercial and media organisations, including the BBC. Expanding our collaborative partnerships nationally and internationally is a key objective in our current strategy.
What kind of work do we do?
Our regular activities include new research into Rowntree histories in their widest sense and sharing this material through tour website, publications, public lectures, guided walks, educational resources and media outputs. We also run special events and exhibitions in connection with anniversaries and landmark dates. Our knowledge base and networks positions us as a reliable source of advice on Rowntree history. We deal with general and specialist enquiries and if we can’t answer your question, we will endeavour to direct you towards someone who can.
Download our brochure below for further information on some of the topics and themes we cover.