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A photo-collage of archive images of the factory
A photo-collage of archive images of the factory
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Factory History

“A little grocer’s shop opened more than 200 years ago by a woman in defiance of a powerful trade guild formed the foundation of one of the world’s largest chocolate and cocoa manufacturing businesses.” Cocoa Works Magazine, Christmas 1932, p.862.

The story of Rowntrees usually begins with Mary Tuke, a Quaker woman who opened her own grocer's shop, defying the rules of the men-only trade guild. It was this shop which was eventually taken over by Henry Isaac Rowntree, founder of the first Rowntree factory at Tanner's Moat in 1864.

From these early days, women as young as thirteen were employed at the factory. A 'lady welfare supervisor' was appointed in 1891 to look after female workers. Women and girls worked mostly on decorating, sorting and packing the confectionery.

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