Conserving what we can: the remains of Rowntree’s

Following on from the page on the old factory clocks, and the YouTube slideshow of photos of Rowntree’s, it seems a good time to share a few photos taken earlier this year of the buildings remaining on Haxby Road. Particularly as several letters to the local paper recently have raised concerns about the grounds around them.

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This, of course, is the main factory frontage. The Cream Block. It’s not handsome, but does say ‘factory’ to you. Quite forcefully, actually: ‘Factory’ with a big capital F.

This photo was taken back in 2004, when the gates were still open.

The fact that it’s not an attractive factory means I haven’t taken many photos of it. Only this one when the building was still occupied, but several this year, since it hasn’t been. The factory photos can be enlarged, should you wish.

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March 2012. It doesn’t take long for nature to reclaim a place. The gates are closed, and moss creeps over the path no one walks on now. The sign sinks slowly to the left.

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October 2012. The summer’s growth in autumn, but still big and green and billowing. At least the brambles and buddleia are wildlife friendly. I wonder if anyone’s removed the toaster and other rubbish I noticed dumped behind the railings.

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December 2012. All dying back now for winter. Leaving natural debris and human litter in drifts alongside the once well-defined route into the works, softening the landscape. The brambles and buddleia have dropped another year’s seeds.

Somewhere around here there is, or was, a rose garden.

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Round the back, a large open space awaits its new use. If you wander in by the perimeter fence you can still see where the trains used to come in and around the site. I thought there was nothing left, but noticed a railway sleeper or two, small reminders. The evening sun lit a dead-nettle happily growing from the end of one of them.

Back round to Haxby Road now, via the cycle track once train track.

All ssssh now, quiet please, we’re going to the library.

Elsewhere on the web

There is of course a lot of information online on the Rowntrees in York, but the very best resource, which also contains links to many other websites of interest, is the Rowntree Society website.

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  By Lisa @YorkStories 29 December 2012 To link to this page's proper location please use the > permalink

About Lisa @YorkStories

Lisa @YorkStories is the creator, administrator, and writer of content on www.yorkstories.co.uk. She can be contacted on this link or via Twitter, @YorkStories

6 comments

  1. You are quite right Lisa,there was a Rose Garden,aproaching Rowntrees from Haleys Terrace,in front of you was an entrance to the R’tree fire station,and behind that was the Rose
    Garden Lawn.On warm summer nights,during and after WW2,we in the Youth Club,played ‘Rounders’ on it umpired by George Watson the youth club leader and Theatre Manager.Happy,exuberant youthful days.

  2. YorkStories

    Good to hear about the rose garden Stephen. Though that word ’rounders’ has different associations for me: school PE lessons on Little Knavesmire, trying to hit a ball with that stick … your memories of rounders sound so much nicer, thank you :)

  3. JOE DICKINSON

    THEY SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF THEMSELVES FOR DESTROYING OUR YORK CHOCOLATE INDUSTRY

  4. JOE DICKINSON

    THEY DONT LIKE THE TRUTH IN THIS COUNTRY

  5. JOE DICKINSON

    HAVING SPENT MY LIFE AT THIS COMPANY ITS A DISGRACE WHATS HAPPENED NO JOBS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE JOSEPH ROWNTREE WOULD BE ASHAMED OF WHATS HAPPENED HAS AM i

  6. Deborah Roberts

    Im utterly dismayed at the sight of my old employment .
    I worked in Rowntrees offices from Jan 1962 till June 1975 .Wage Dept, then Dining Dept finally the best the Insurance Dept.
    The site was immaculate inside and out .
    Tree lined entrance, rose garden , tennis court , school , snooker room for the pensioners, sewing room for repairs etc to uniforms and excellent meals provided in Staff Canteen, Cafe and Directors Dining Room ( never ate there but went in regularly as part of my job in the office )
    Food and refreshments throughout the day including the best scones ever , baked in house , visitors dept , all thes were in the Dining Block on Haxby Road facing the Library.
    Music was played into the Works via a small room off the main corridor .
    Would often see Sir Donald Baron ( C.Chairman ) wandering around the factory chatting to the workers.
    He would say good morning etc to whom ever he passed he was the perfect gentleman .
    I was also able to enjoy a fortnight at its rest home in Scarborough , Dunollie , after being rather poorly following a serious infection after the removal of my tonsils at 16 .
    The sea air did everyone there the world of good.
    The writing was I think on the wall for the old place when they joined forces with McIntosh who simply were not in the same league as Rowntrees where social conscience and care of work force were concerned..
    The coffin lid was firmly put in place when the foreigners took over
    A plague on all their houses comes to mind.

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