Quick Fact Rowntree A-Z

Joseph Rowntree Memorial Library, Haxby Road

Joseph Rowntree started a library for employees in 1885 by donating £10 of his own money, raising £10 from another source, and docking a penny a week from workers’ pay. The Memorial Library was planned after Joseph’s death in 1925 and was opened in 1927.  The library, a Grade II listed Arts and Crafts building, is still visible on the Haxby Road.

The reasons given for its Grade II listing are that it was designed by Fred Rowntree as a memorial to Joseph Rowntree and that it is a complete example of an Arts and Crafts building which retains a large number of original fittings and fixtures of high quality. The original fittings included panelling, fitted bookcases and magazine racks, original heater covers and cupboards, and integral racks for umbrellas. There are inscriptions in the panelling commemorating Joseph Rowntree and various donations made by his family and employees.

The types of books in the library’s collection are recorded each year in the Cocoa Works Magazine.  The library is an illustration of the services provided to the factory’s workforce.

The library underwent several alterations throughout the 20th-century, demonstrating a firm commitment to the reading interests of employees.

For further architectural information see the downloadable file, a MA assignment in Cultural Heritage Management, by Christopher Berriman, University of York.

Joseph Rowntree Memorial Library

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