History of Rowntree Wharf

Rowntree Wharf, with five storeys and a nine-storey water tower featuring original gantries and hoists, is probably York’s best industrial building.

Originally one of the largest flour rolling mills in Europe and owned by Leethams, it was founded in 1860 and supplied with grain via barge on the River Foss to the original mill close-by, now demolished and the car park.

The mill closed in 1930 and was subsequently purchased five years later by Quaker philanthropist and York businessman Joseph Rowntree, a champion of social reform and, during his time, one of the major UK chocolatiers.

It became the Rowntree and Co’s Navigation Warehouse as cocoa beans were brought to the wharf, gradually falling out of use in the 1960s as road transport replaced river transport.

Kit Kat and Yorkie are still made In York and when the wind is right you can smell the chocolate!  For your info, Orange Smarties are coming back…

In 1989 this interesting and imposing building was converted into flats and offices, the current development’s first phase finishing only recently.