Rowntree Society, The
Founded by Steven Burkeman in 2001 at a time when it looked as though the Rowntree inheritance was in danger of disappearing altogether from York (apart, of course, from the work of the Joseph Rowntree trusts). With the support of Hugh Bayley MP, he put together a small group of people, including Mark Jones, Gillian Cruddas, John Sunley, Brian Jardine, and Stephen Pittam.
In 2003, Continuum consultants were appointed to make recommendations about the possibility of a visitor centre and a Rowntree trail.
In 2004 the group was constituted as a charity and its board of trustees was strengthened. The first trail was launched as was the first website, with the support of Continuum and a grant from the Joseph Rowntree trusts. A presentation was made to the York City Council cabinet in 2006, and the Lord Mayor became the Society’s first patron.
The strapline ‘Exploring the life and times and legacy of the Rowntree family’ was developed by Liz Grierson, a trustee. Some success with an Awards for All grant led to a successful approach to the Joseph Rowntree trusts for the development of a staff person to take forward the ideas and plans. Bridget Morris was appointed to the post of Director in 2009. Steven Burkeman’s term as chair came to an end in December 2012 and his successor is Elizabeth Grierson.