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York's Rowntree Girls - Tales of Love, Laughter and Hardship


9:17am 18th April 2013

Former workers at Rowntrees in York have been sharing their experiences for a new book.

The stories of five women who worked at the factory between the 1930s and 1980s are featured in The Sweethearts.

The Sweethearts - Tales of Love, Laughter and Hardship from Yorkshire’s Rowntree Girls, tells the story of some of the Rowntrees’ Sweethearts - the women workers from the company’s Golden Age, an era spanning the half-century from the 1930s to the 1980s.

Co-author Neil Hanson says: “That era began at a time when a woman’s right to vote had at last been established, but her right to choose her career path, manage her own money, live her own life and follow her own destiny was far from certain. 

"In the 1930s and the decades that followed, many of the women employed at Rowntree’s found a degree of financial independence, self-confidence and self-reliance through the money they earned at the factory, the skills they acquired and, of no lesser importance, the bonds they formed with other women workers.

"For some unhappy women, whose lives were blighted by poverty, illness, bad housing and even bad husbands, their working days at the factory also offered a much-needed refuge and respite from their domestic turmoil – a place where they could be happy, respected and valued by their workmates.

"These women shared laughter and tears, hardship and good times, and in the process they helped to make Rowntrees - and York - what it is today."

Authors Lynn Russell and Neil Hanson will be joined by some of The Sweethearts during a special Q&A and book signing at Waterstones in York at 6:45pm on 25 April. Tickets are available from the store for £3.

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