York Remembers Rowntree
York Remembers Rowntree was a memories-gathering project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, running from September 2013 to March 2015. We used oral history, documents, social media and photography to capture the stories of York residents who have benefited from the legacies left by the Rowntree family. We aimed also to fill a gap in current knowledge about the contribution the Rowntree family and company had in the everyday lives of people within the city and to consider future directions for The Rowntree Society’s work. This project built upon a memory bank we started and worked on previously between 2009 and 2012.
Oral History Collecting
Our volunteers conducted around in depth 40 interviews with former York Rowntree workers around four themes: factory life, entertainment and leisure time, transportation and New Earswick. You can listen to excerpts from some of the recordings on SoundCloud here. The Rowntree Society has audio files and transcripts of all these recordings.
Launch of an Audio-post in Rowntree Park 21st October 2014
This permanent installation (by the Richardson St entrance) features eight highlighted memories recorded by local residents. Next time you’re in the park, come along, select a memory, turn the dial, crank the handle and listen to a unique piece of York history as it unfolds.
The unveiling was accompanied by a small exhibition in the Reading Café of the oral history project. Notable exhibits include donated items from project participants such as a Rowntree’s fireman’s helmet, Black Magic Boxes and a selection of original workforce documentation. We also had a replica of one of the psychometric tests used to assess workers prospective workers: a Moorees formboard.
‘Towards a Rowntree Agenda’ Workshop
Towards the end of the project we brought together a group of 70 people from across the country in a one-day workshop to discuss what Rowntree means today.
Details of the workshop from the original invitation to participants are here.
The final Workshop Report is available to read here.
The Society’s Executive Director at the time, Bridget Morris, shared her reflections on the project and some conclusions after its completion in a talk titled ‘Capturing Rowntree’.