Rowntree, Arnold Stephenson, 1872-1951, Quaker MP

Identity area

Type of entity

Person

Authorized form of name

Rowntree, Arnold Stephenson, 1872-1951, Quaker MP

Parallel form(s) of name

Standardized form(s) of name according to other rules

Other form(s) of name

Identifiers for corporate bodies

Description area

Dates of existence

1872-1951

History

Arnold Stephenson Rowntree was born on 28 November 1872, the son of Quaker grocer John Stephenson Rowntree and his wife Elizabeth Hotham. He was educated at Bootham School and was then apprenticed to his father’s grocery business at Pavement in York before spending some time working at Barrow’s Stores in Birmingham. In 1891 his uncle, Joseph Rowntree, invited him to work at his Cocoa Works, ‘H. I. Rowntree & Co,’ which had been founded by Joseph’s brother, the late Henry Isaac Rowntree.

Arnold began work at Rowntrees in 1892 where he was soon put in charge of the firm’s new advertising department. By 1897 the firm was successful enough to move to new purpose designed premises on Haxby Road, becoming a limited company under the new name of ‘Rowntree & Co Ltd.’

In 1904 Arnold was made a trustee of three new trusts created by his uncle; the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust to support social research and adult education, the Joseph Rowntree Social Trust to support social and political activities, and the Joseph Rowntree Village Trust to build affordable working class housing. Joseph used the Social Trust to back the North of England Newspaper Company he had founded in 1903, installing Arnold as chairman of the Board of Directors, which also included John Bowes Morrell.

The North of England Newspaper Company merged with the Westminster Press Ltd in 1920, becoming Westminster Press Provincial Newspapers in 1937. Arnold served as chairman for all of the company’s newspapers in the North of England and was director of fourteen of the sixteen papers controlled by the company nationally.

Arnold was also a supporter of the adult school movement. He taught at Leeman Road adult school in York and served as honorary secretary and then chairman of the National Adult School Council. In 1920 he was a founder member (and later president) of the Educational Settlements Association which built upon the adult school movement to create non-residential adult education institutions. The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust gave significant financial support to the Association, whose institutions included St Mary’s Settlement in York.

Like many of his family, Arnold was a supporter of the Liberal Party and was elected Liberal Member of Parliament for York in 1910. As a Quaker he was strongly opposed to war and at the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 he helped to found the Union of Democratic of Control, which would become the leading anti-war organisation in Britain. In 1916 he took up the cause of the ‘Richmond Sixteen,’ a group of absolutist conscientious objectors who refused to perform even non-combatant duties in support of the war effort. His pacifism was however deeply unpopular and he was defeated at the 1918 election and did not stand for Parliament again.

In the 1920s Arnold increasingly acted as a deputy to his cousin Benjamin Seebohm Rowntree, who inherited the chairmanship of the company from his father in 1923. In 1924 Arnold was involved in the creation of British Biscuits Ltd through the amalgamation of two of Rowntree’s subsidiary companies. In 1928 he chaired the Conference of Quaker Employers.

Arnold withdrew from active daily involvement in Rowntree & Co in the early 1930s, although he continued as a company director until 1941. In 1931-1932 he served as honorary Sheriff of Yorkshire. In 1906 he had married Mary (May) Katherine Harvey, daughter of William Harvey, a Manchester warehouseman, and his wife, Anna Maria Whiting. The couple had six children together, moving from York in 1939 to settle at Brook House in Thornton le Dale.

Arnold Stephenson Rowntree died on 21 May 1951.

Places

Legal status

Functions, occupations and activities

Mandates/sources of authority

Internal structures/genealogy

General context

Relationships area

Related entity

York Educational Settlement (1909-1987)

Identifier of the related entity

Category of the relationship

associative

Dates of the relationship

Description of relationship

Related entity

Rowntree, Richard, 1921-1997, Director of Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust (1921-1997)

Identifier of the related entity

Category of the relationship

family

Type of relationship

Rowntree, Richard, 1921-1997, Director of Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust is the child of Rowntree, Arnold Stephenson, 1872-1951, Quaker MP

Dates of the relationship

Description of relationship

Related entity

Rowntree, Michael, 1919-2007, bird watcher (1919-2007)

Identifier of the related entity

Category of the relationship

family

Type of relationship

Rowntree, Michael, 1919-2007, bird watcher is the child of Rowntree, Arnold Stephenson, 1872-1951, Quaker MP

Dates of the relationship

Description of relationship

Related entity

Rowntree, John Stephenson, 1834-1907, Quaker minister (1834-1907)

Identifier of the related entity

Category of the relationship

family

Type of relationship

Rowntree, John Stephenson, 1834-1907, Quaker minister is the parent of Rowntree, Arnold Stephenson, 1872-1951, Quaker MP

Dates of the relationship

Description of relationship

Related entity

Rowntree, Benjamin Seebohm, 1871-1954, sociologist and manufacturer (1871-1954)

Identifier of the related entity

Category of the relationship

family

Type of relationship

Rowntree, Benjamin Seebohm, 1871-1954, sociologist and manufacturer is the cousin of Rowntree, Arnold Stephenson, 1872-1951, Quaker MP

Dates of the relationship

Description of relationship

Related entity

Macdonald, Agnes Julia, 1870-1960, née Rowntree (1870-1960)

Identifier of the related entity

Category of the relationship

family

Type of relationship

Macdonald, Agnes Julia, 1870-1960, née Rowntree is the cousin of Rowntree, Arnold Stephenson, 1872-1951, Quaker MP

Dates of the relationship

Description of relationship

Access points area

Occupations

Control area

Authority record identifier

Institution identifier

GB 193

Rules and/or conventions used

ISAAR(CPF): International Standard Archival Authority Record for Corporate Bodies, Persons and Families, International Council on Archives (2nd edition, 2003); Rules for the construction of personal, place and corporate names, National Council on Archives (1997).

Status

Level of detail

Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Language(s)

Script(s)

Sources

The Rowntree Society, 'Arnold Stephenson Rowntree' (http://www.rowntreesociety.org.uk/arnold-stephenson-rowntree-1872-1951/)

Ian Packer (ed), 'The Letters of Arnold Stephenson Rowntree to Mary Katherine Rowntree' (Cambridge, 2002)

Maintenance notes

Created by Sally-Anne Shearn, September 2015.
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