Rowntree Wharf, consisting of five stories and a nine-storey water tower, is probably York’s best industrial building. Originally one of the largest flour mills in Europe, it was founded by Henry Leetham in 1860. The building, designed by Walter Penty, was situated between the river Foss and Wormald’s cut, towering over the slum district of Hungate. It was supplied with grain by barge to the original mill, situated where a car park is today.
The mill closed in 1930 and in 1935 it became the Rowntree and Co’s Navigation Warehouse. Gradually it fell out of use, as road transport replaced river transport. Cocoa beans were brought to the wharf until the 1960s. In 1989 it was converted into flats and offices by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.