The Secret Museum

By Alex Hutchinson, Nestlé UK Archivist & Historian

05 August 2015 See comments (2)

Today I was lucky enough to be able to visit Joe: the most dedicated collector of Rowntree’s memorabilia I’ve ever met. Joe has been collecting Rowntree’s packaging (and moulds, and photos, and jars, and catalogues…) for 55 years and has created his own private museum. Not many people get a chance to see inside this secret location, but this morning I was one of the chosen few.

My photos can’t do justice to the World of After Eight where every surface from floor to ceiling is covered with the thin mint’s logo; the full-size advertising billboard that swallows up the wall above the stairs; the pristine 1920s chocolate foils bright as fireworks; the years-old patina on the chocolate moulds and tins; the never-ending hand-crafted cabinets; the electric Mad Hatter’s tea party; the sweet shop in the hall.

It is perplexing, and it is a paradise, and it is perfect.

A still rarer glimpse into this hidden world is available through three excellently made films on the Rowntree Society website; follow this link to see:

  1. Martin (Pextons) - No @ No

    02 Aug 2016 - 18:20 (GMT)

    What an amazing collection! perhaps Nestle should have a museum and cafe at the York factory with access to the old staff records, both my mother, aunty, and grandma worked at Rowntrees and so did my wife's mother!

  2. Alex Hutchinson - Archivist and Historian @ Nestlé

    03 Aug 2016 - 16:58 (GMT)

    Well it would certainly be something to keep me on my toes! Most of our records are kept at the Borthwick Institute Archives at the University of York where they can be kept in the best conditions to give them the longest possible life. I'm slowly but surely putting lots of them online, but visitors are welcome to visit the Borthwick and order up records to read. My favourites are the Cocoa Works Magazines; if you know the dates that your family members worked there you might find their photos in it!

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