Supply Chain Council of European Union |

Looking back on ‘sweeter’ times at York’s Rowntree factory

DEVELOPERS responsible for the Cocoa Works in York are relaunching their ‘Sweet Memories’ campaign, which has already seen many former Rowntree factory memories submitted over the last few months.

Last year, Latimer, the development arm of Clarion Housing Group, launched its appeal for former employees or family members to send in their memories of working at the factory.

This year, Latimer is continuing to promote the legacy by encouraging more residents to submit their accounts of working life at the factory.

Richard Cook, group director of development at Latimer, said: “If you, or any friends and family members once worked at the factory please do get in touch to be a part of the exhibition we are building for permanent display.”

One of the contributors who originally shared fond memories of life on the renowned factory floor, was 91-year-old Stephen Oxlade.

He said: “I worked in their experimental wrapping machine design and construction engineering block in the 1950s, having gained my qualifications and engineering apprenticeship. It was a very invigorating experience, the company were friendly and caring taskmasters, with many fabulous facilities for the workers.”

Another contributor, Margaret Taylor, whose mother worked in the factory in the 1930s, said: “I remember once being taken to the factory to see where the chocolate was made – and receiving a KitKat.”

The factory, built by Joseph Rowntree in the early 1890s, has been unused for a number of years.

However, Latimer has now begun work to transform the site into a community of 279 new homes, landscaped gardens and communal spaces. It has been named ‘The Cocoa Works’ to maintain its legacy.

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