Rowntree A-Z

Dunollie Rest House, Scarborough


Dunollie was originally a private home and was later used as a private hotel in the 1910s venue “ideal for rest and quiet recreation” (source: CWM, Autumn 1959).  During WWI it was occupied by the R.A.F. and on the 16th December 1914 Dunollie was damaged by shells from the German bombardment of Scarborough. A shell hit the right-hand pillar of the portico. The damage is still visible and the library used to exhibit a piece of the shrapnel which was embedded in one of the books.

Rowntree’s Rest Home

The idea of such a facility was proposed to the company in April 1945 and reported on in 1946 with a view to update the existing Invalidity and Sick Visiting Grants schemes. The capital expenditure involved in buying and furnishing it was estimated at £18,000. The company owned the rest home but the Profit Sharing Committee, with the approval of the Central Works’ Council, was responsible for the financial running of it.

It was opened in 1947 by Mrs George Harris, and is an example of the concern for the welfare and interest of employees, in this case providing a sanctuary for those suffering with stress and ill health, or bereavement. When at full capacity the home could accommodate approximately 25 guests. The aim was to provide and maintain the atmosphere of a guest home, rather than a convalescent home, and to accommodate employees of either sex and of any age.

In June 1947 the first employee guests arrived to make use of Dunollie. They were welcomed by Matron Watson

In 1952 The Firewood Committeee gifted £100 for the purpose of installing a television set at Dunollie

In 1954 the Firewood Committee gifted Dunollie a new piano which was formally presented to Matron by members of the Committee on May 26th 1954.

On the 1st October 1955 a garden seat was presented to Dunollie in memory of the late Miss Eleanor Wilson of the Cream Packing Department. She died in March 1955 after 38 years with the company. The presentation was made by Eleanor’s sister, Mrs. M Smith using the proceeds of a collection taken by Eleanor’s friends in the Cream Packing Department.

The Rowntree Society Collection- Dunollie Souvenir Booklet pre-1975

For every stay at The Dunollie Convalescence Home, residents were given a little souvenir booklet. One of these was donated as part of the “York Remembers Rowntree” oral history project. The signature of each person staying at the same time can be found on the inside front cover (the second photograph in the gallery). This includes Miss Marley the Matron.

Oral History

As part of our Oral History project, “York Remembers Rowntree” we interviewed visitors to Dunollie.

You went there for a fortnight. The matron was very strict and we got fed up with being told what to do, so one night we got a taxi down to the pub. Well you can guess what happened. We stayed too late and when we got a taxi back, everyone had gone to bed! We had to knock on the door and because Matron’s room was next to the front door she let us in. Nothing was said until the next morning after breakfast when we got called in to her office and got told off. Like school kids, really.

–  Anonymous memory of Dunollie, given to the project in 2014

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