Rowntree’s by Paul Chrystal
Rowntree’s by Paul Chrystal* – The Early History is such an interesting book. I knew only a few things about the history of chocolate and its York connections. The great things about this book is that, while talking a lot about the Rowntree family, with a focus on Henry and Joseph, the author also shares lots of interesting details on their competition: Fry’s, Cadbury’s, Mars, and Terry’s.
The chapters are quite small and he looked over all the aspects related to making chocolate in the 19th century and early 20th century. As they were Quakers, their religious views are described in detail too. The business was complex and it went through ups and downs. I like that corporate espionage is mentioned, especially as I wouldn’t have imagined something like this from people who were so moral when it came to their employees and clients.
Henry started the chocolate business, but it wouldn’t have survived without Joseph’s strength and determination. They were involved in charity work, but they did much more than that. Rowntree was one of the companies which developed those gorgeous villages for their workers, with beautiful houses that had gardens and good facilities, with greeneries outside and a park, and a school.
It was lovely to read about that. It was also lovely to read about the decent wages they were giving, on top of pensions, insurance, a doctor was hired to help with any medical needs the employees had. Furthermore, the company’s newspaper, something quite usual today but unknown at that time, offered an insight into what happened at the factory at that point and the author talks about this in sufficient detail.
Advertising was something the Rowntree was not keen to do, as they thought the quality of the product should have been sufficient enough, but as a topic is fascinating. Their views and involvement in the world wars is covered in the book too and, again, it is really interesting.
Rowntree’s by Paul Chrystal
Details about the picture: milk chocolate, obviously, not from Rowntree or Nestle unfortunately as the values of the companies are not the ones the founders had and I do not buy them. Pastilles too, these too are not Rowntree.
My rating: 5/5 Stars
Would I recommend it: yes
Published by: Pen and Sword History
Year it was published: 2021
About the author: Paul Chrystal attended the Universities of Hull and Southampton where he took degrees in Classics. For the next thirty-five years he worked in medical publishing, much of the time as an international sales director for one market or another while latterly creating medical educational programmes for the pharmaceutical industry. He worked for companies such as Churchill Livingstone, Wiley-Blackwell, CRC Press, Academic Press and Elsevier.
Website & Social Media Links: Pen and Sword
*I was sent a copy of Rowntree’s by Paul Chrystal for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.