Rowntree, York, and the 1918 Flu Pandemic: A New Blog Series

How did the 1918 flu pandemic affect the Rowntree family and Rowntree workers? How was the outbreak experienced among vulnerable communities in early 20th century York? What were the responses of Rowntree family members to the crisis as individuals, as employers, and in their roles in civic and public life? And what might the answers to these questions tell us about life with COVID-19, and the world that lies beyond it?

Our new blog series explores these questions and many more, drawing on the experiences and lessons of the 1918 ‘Spanish flu’ to expand understanding of the present-day pandemic. With archives closed as part of lockdown measures in the UK, the blog series is a collaborative effort. Archivists and local historians have helped supply relevant sources, and our volunteers and trustees have also contributed their knowledge. You can read more about how the blog series started and the people involved in our first post via the link below.

You can keep up to date with new posts by following us on Twitter @rowntreesoc and on Facebook.

We’d love to hear what you think. You can get in touch with us via our social media accounts, or via email at


Blog Post 1: A Forgotten History through a Rowntree Lens

Blog Post 2: Care and Community: York and the Second Wave

Blog Post 3: [Coming soon]

Support Us

Our work is enabled by grant funding from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, and the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust. If you would like to make a financial donation to further support our work, it is easy to pay online (with or without Gift Aid) by clicking the link below. You can get in touch with us about other ways of giving via