Joseph Rowntree (1836–1925), English cocoa and confectionery manufacturer and philanthropist. A pupil of F. M. Alexander.
Joseph Rowntree and his brother, Henry Isaac, acquired a small cocoa manufacturing business in York in 1862, and Joseph Rowntree became the sole owner in 1883. At Rowntree’s retirement in 1923, the factory employed 7,000 people under working conditions well in advance of their time. Rowntree came from a Quaker family. He was a social and industrial reformer who was concerned with the welfare of his workers. His company was one of the ﬁrst in England to employ a company doctor when, in 1904, it employed Dr Peter Macdonald. Macdonald was a pupil and supporter of Alexander, who married Rowntree’s daughter, Agnes Julia (1870–1960). Rowntree founded three trusts in 1904: one for charitable purposes, a social service trust, and a village trust in charge of his model village of New Earswick, outside York. The trusts continue to issue reports on and support housing, social care, education, and social policy.
Alexander credits Rowntree for describing the Technique as ‘reasoning from the known to the unknown, the known being the wrong and the unknown being the right’ in UoS. It is also quoted in UCL and in Goddard Binkley’s diary of his lessons with Alexander, The Expanding Self.
Joseph Rowntree *24 May 1836 – †24 February 1925.