The community legacy of Rowntree in York

The community legacy of Rowntree in York

An illustration of people

Awards for All

Heworth Without
The Rowntree Society
The project built on the interest generated through the opening of a new chocolate attraction in York, and a successful pilot project that used postcards to collect memories from those who benefited from the Rowntree legacy.

The 18-month project looked at four themes, spanning the time right up to the sale of the Rowntree company to Nestle in 1988:

  • working in the confectionery factory
  • entertainment and leisure time
  • transport
  • life in New Earwsick

Bridget Morris, Rowntree Society Director, said: “One of the most unexpected parts is the generosity of people and wish to donate items for us to share with others, for instance in care homes locally. It really has brought the community together because just about everyone in York, including students, knows someone with a Rowntree connection at some level.”

A paid project officer was supported by 30 volunteers and, trained by the York Oral history society. Together they helped collect and transcribe oral histories. The recordings were used to produce an audio post in Rowntree Park, exhibition, image gallery, website, booklet, an annual lecture for schools and a wide-range of social media outputs.

Bridget said: “The project is wider than just chocolate nostalgia; it shows how Rowntree changed people’s lives. We had over 1000 participants and we now plan to set up some permanent reminiscence clubs.”