Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Joseph Rowntree (24 May 1836 - 24 February 1925)

In one of the articles in yesterday's Journal, headed 'Broken Britain', reference was made to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. At the foot of that article I said we would be looking at the life of Joseph Rowntree, a quite remarkable man. Here is his story.


Joseph Rowntree was born in York on 24 May 1836, the son of Sarah and Joseph Rowntree. He attended Bootham School. At fourteen he accompanied his father on a visit to Ireland, and witnessed the effects of the potato famine. This experience was to provide the grounding for his political views and business ideas later in life.

He started working in his father's grocery business as an apprentice the following year, and after his father's death in 1859 he took over the running, jointly managing the business with his brother John Stephenson Rowntree.

In 1869 he joined his brother, Henry Iassac Rowntree, who owned a chocolate factory in York. When Henry died in 1883, Joseph became the owner of the company. Joseph pursued his progressive ideas within the running of Rowntree's, in the design of the new factory opened in 1881, and in the business practices therein, including the founding of one of the first Occupational Pension Schemes.

The company, Rowntree's, grew from 30 to over 4,000 employees by the end of the 19th century making it Britain's eightieth largest manufacturing employer. It merged with John Mackintosh and Co. in 1969 and was taken over by Nestle in 1988.

He had two marriages to Julia Eliza Seebohm in 1862, who died in 1863, and then to her cousin Emma Antoinette Seebohm in 1867, with whom he had six children.

According to a plaque on the outside of the south wall of the grounds of The Retreat, Joseph Rowntree is buried in the Quaker cemetery within.

Joseph Rowntree was a supporter of liberal values, and was anxious to improve the quality of life of his employees. He provided them with a library, free education, a social welfare officer, a doctor, a dentist and a pension fund.

In 1902 he bought 150 acres at New Earswick, to the north of York, to build houses for low-income families.

In 1904 he gave half his wealth to the charitable trusts he created. The four Rowntree trusts bear Joseph Rowntree's name and continue his philanthropic work:

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation funds research that seek to understand the cause of social problems, such as poverty, poor housing, and other forms of social exclusion.

The Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust manages a stock of affordable housing as well as care homes for the elderly and disabled.

The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust works for Quaker ideals including international peace and justice.

The Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust Ltd is active in UK progressive politics and is a significant financial donor to the UK Liberal Democrats.

In 1921 he opened Rowntree Park as a memorial to those from his company who died in the First World War.

He lived at 47 Bootham, now part of Bootham School, but the name of Joseph Rowntree is commemorated in the Joseph Rowntree School, the comprehensive school in New Earswick. This school was built in 1942 by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Ever Wondered Why?

Why they don't make the whole plane out of the material used for the indestructible black box?
Why sheep don't shrink when it rains?
Why they are called apartments when they are all stuck together?
If con is the opposite of pro is congress the opposite of progress?
Why they call the airport 'the terminal' if flying is so safe?

Trevi Fountain - Rome

Located in the historic centre of Rome, is what must be the most famous and spectacular fountain in the city., and hence, one of the cities most popular tourist attractions. The Trevi Fountain derives its name from its position at the intersection of three roads (tre vie). The Trevi fountain stands at the end of the Aqua Virgo, which is one of the ancient aqueducts that supplied fresh water to Rome since 19 B.C. It brings water all the way from the Salone Springs, which is situated over 20 kilometres away. There has been a source of water at this site for over a thousand years, although it was not until 1485 that Pope Nicholas V commissioned Gianlorenzo Bernini to create the fountain, but the project had to be abandoned when Pope Urban VIII died in 1644.

Then in 1732, Niccolo Salvi was employed by Pope Clement XII to continue with the work, with the result being the Baroque masterpiece that completely dominates the little square today. The sea god Neptune in a chariot in the form of a shell dominates the centre of the fountain. The chariot is pulled by two sea horses, with each sea horse being guided by a Triton. According to legend, anyone who throws a coin into the water is guaranteed to return to the Eternal City of Rome. The coin should be tossed over your shoulder while you are standing with your back to the fountain.

Approximately 3,000 euros are thrown into the fountain each day. The money has been used to subsidise a supermarket for Rome's needy. However, there are regular attempts to steal coins from the fountain. A film made in 1954, 'Three Coins in the Fountain', introduced the song of the same name, which became an enduring standard. It tells the story of three American girls looking for romance in Rome while employed by the American Embassy. The movie was adapted by John Patrick from the novel 'Coins in the Fountain' by John H Secondari.

Petrol Prices

Did You Know?

"I am." is the shortest complete sentence in the English language.

The longest one-syllable word is "screeched".

No word in the English language rhymes with month.

The only 15 letter word that can be spelled without repeating a letter is "uncopyrightable".

"OK" is the most used word in the world.

Not many people know that!

The Jigsaw

A blonde calls her boyfriend and says, "Please come over here and help me. I have a killer jigsaw puzzle, and I can't figure out how to get started."

Her boyfriend asks, "What is it supposed to be when it's finished?"

The blonde says, "According to the picture on the box, it's a rooster."

Her boyfriend decides to go over and help with the puzzle.

She lets him in and shows him where she has the puzzle spread all over the table.He studies the pieces for a moment, then looks at the box, then turns to her and says,

"First of all, no matter what we do, we're not going to be able to assemble these pieces into anything resembling a rooster."

He takes her hand and says, "Second, I want you to relax. Let's have a nice cup of tea, and then," he said with a sigh....................

"Let's put all the Corn Flakes back in the box"

Sex On Mars

The year is 2222 and Jeff and Mary land on Mars after accumulating enough Frequent Flier miles.

They meet a Martian couple and are talking about all sorts of things. Jeff asks if Mars has a stock market, if they have laptop computers, how they make money etc.

Finally, Mary brings up the subject of sex.

"Just how do you guys do it? asks Mary. The Martian responds. "Pretty much the way you do."

A discussion ensues and finally the couples decide to swap partners for the night and experience one another. Mary and the male Martian go off to a bedroom where the Martian strips. He's got only a teeny, weenie member about half an inch long and just a quarter inch thick.

"I doubt this is going to work," says Mary.

"Why?" he asks. "What's the matter?"

"Well," she replies, "it's just not long enough to reach me!"

"No problem," he says, and proceeds to slap his forehead with his palm. With each slap of his forehead his member grows until it's quite impressively long.

"Well," she says, "that's quite impressive, but it is still narrow."

"No problem," he says, and starts pulling his ears. With each pull, his member grows wider and wider until the entire measurement is extremely exciting to the woman.

"Wow!" she exclaims, as they fall into bed and make mad passionate love.

The next day the couples rejoin their other partners and go their separate ways. As they walked along, Jeff asks, "Well, was it any good?"

"I hate to say it," says Mary, "but it was wonderful. How about you."

"It was horrible ," he replies. "All I got was a headache, the bitch kept slapping my forehead and pulling my ears all night."