The white doves in Rowntree Park are enjoyed by many visitors to the Park. Apparently when the dovecote was restored and refurbished they flew back within days. It seems certain the present doves are directly descended from the original doves introduced by Joseph Rowntree in the 1920s.
The quotation is from Deuteronomy ch 32 and Henry Isaac Rowntree used to like this quotation, about his commercial competitors, and as a statement about Rowntree quality products.
There is evidence that not just one, but two sons of the Cadbury family trained at the Rowntree shop. One was the famous George Cadbury who went on to develop the great chocolate manufacturing business in Birmingham with his elder brother Richard. The other is their cousin, Richard Cadbury Barrow, whose mother was a Cadbury. He served in 1848, before going on to become a tea and coffee merchant in Birmingham – the shop later well-known as Barrows. The records state that George worked specifically under Joseph Rowntree in the 1850s, and that most likely he served not as an apprentice but as an assistant.
The Fry family did not send its sons to serve as apprentices at the Pavement shop in York, as is sometimes stated. According to Edward Milligan’s British Quakers in Commerce and Industry (published by Sessions of York), the Lewis Fry who came to York in 1857 was not related to the chocolate Frys of Bristol.
Lewis Fry ‘grocer and accountant’ (1835-1908)
Lewis Fry, grocer and accountant, was born in Culmstock, Devon. His father was Robert Fry, a seed merchant and yeoman from Plymouth. He was educated at the Quaker School of Sidcot (Avon), and apprenticed first to the grocery business of Josiah Newman in Cirencester and then in Leominster. He joined the Rowntree household in 1856. He married Mary Cruickshank from Aberdeen and Glasgow, but they had no children. They moved from their home to take charge of the Rowntree apprentices and assistants, but the strain proved too much for his health and in 1870 they moved to Newcastle upon Tyne, where he was an accountant to J & F Richardson, a leather manufacturers. A Quaker all his life, he is said to have given vocal ministry frequently in Newcastle Quaker meetings, and a teacher in the adult school. He retired to Wensleydale in 1876, and died of pneumonia in 1908.
The ‘chocolate’ Lewis Fry (1832-1921)
This Lewis Fry was a Quaker, lawyer, philanthropist, Liberal, later Liberal Unionist, who sat in the House of Commons between 1878 and 1900. He was the son of Joseph Fry, and part of the Fry chocolate manufacturing family of Bristol. He was articled to a Quaker solicitor and practised in Bristol before he entered parliament. Fry was an important figure in the founding of the University of Bristol.
There is no evidence that this Lewis Fry ever spent time in the Rowntree shop in York, and given his subsequent career there is no reason why he should have done. But the fact that the Quaker Lewis Fry, son of a Devon yeoman corn merchant, came all the way to York to work for the Rowntrees, says a lot about the Rowntrees’ reputation among the Quakers nationally, as early as in the 1850s.
The meeting was chaired by Seebohm Rowntree and there were 34 attendees of whom 29 were women.
It was called Mr York of York.
Initially, only men were allowed to lease company allotments. However, in 1917, the Rowntrees formally permitted women to be allotment holders, so that everyone could contribute to growing enough food for their families during a time of increasingly stringent rationing.
The ‘Chocolate Soldiers’ were Parliamentary assistants, funded by the Joseph Rowntree Social Service Trust (now called the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust). They were made available to Opposition front bench spokesmen in the House of Commons in the early 1970s.
The scheme was a pilot project to assist the opposition to carry out parliamentary duties and counteract the advantage that government ministers enjoy through briefings from civil servants. The scheme was instigated by the Trust’s secretary at that time, Pratap Chitnis.
In 1974, the scheme was given official parliamentary support through the provision of ‘Short Money’ to opposition parties, announced by Edward Short (Leader of the House of Commons). The Rowntree Trust made a similar fund available to the opposition in the late 1980s, to assist with travel expenses. This funding ceased in 1992, after the provision of Short Money was expanded to include a travel element.
In 1936, Seebohm Rowntree moved away from York, to Hughenden, Buckinghamshire. He first lived at ‘North Dean’ and then, after his wife’s death, to the west wing of Hughenden Manor.
In these final years, probably before he left York, Seebohm destroyed almost all of his papers, largely by burning them. It is not yet known why he chose to do this.
Following a heart attack, he died at home in 1954.
Rowntree and Co Ltd was not directly involved. However, the Rowntree Trusts played a significant part in the early steps towards establishing a university in York and the bulk of their income came from the dividends of the shares that they owned in Rowntree and Co Ltd.
In 1960 the Trusts jointly made a grant of £150,000 towards the foundation of the University of York, and also made a gift of Heslington Hall and a substantial amount of accompanying land on which the university was built.
Several directors and trustees have over the years held positions of responsibility in the University. The central Library is names after J B Morrell (Director of Rowntree and Co Ltd) and the Social Sciences Building is named for Seebohm Rowntree.