The Rowntree family/society

Nearly a hundred years after his death, Joseph Rowntree’s unique legacy continues to impact in countless ways on our 21st century society.

The work and achievements of Joseph Rowntree and other members of his family are extraordinarily rich and varied. Chocolate entrepreneurs, philanthropists, social reformers, Quakers, liberals: guarding and promoting the narrative history of the Rowntree family is the task set for itself by The Rowntree Society.

The Society, an independent charity, is separate from all the Rowntree Trusts although each makes a financial contribution to aid the Society’s work.

In April 2021, the three Trusts originally endowed by Joseph Rowntree responded to findings of a preliminary research project by the Rowntree Society linking the Rowntree Society to systems of enslavement and forced labour.  The Rowntree Society briefing is here. The JRRT statement in response to these findings is here.

JRRT, alongside JRF and JRCT, is contributing to funding work by the Rowntree Society to sponsor a research fellowship to explore aspects of the Rowntree history in more detail.  The work is likely to include further work on earlier colonial histories of slavery and indenture and a separate distinct project on the later South African history.

Find out more about The Rowntree Society.