MEMORIAL MEETING ,
AT THE COCOA WORKS, YORK
11th OCTOBER, 1954
IN opening the meeting, Mr, N, G. Sparkes, Chairman of the Central Works' Council, said:
"We have in this Theatre a representative cross-section of the Cocoa Works' community made up of members of the Central Works' Council and members of the Departmental Councils and most members of the senior staff. We are gathered here today in order that we may pay tribute to the life and work of Mr. Seebohm Rowntree.
"My first duty as chairman of this meeting is to welcome our two visitors. We are very glad indeed to see on the platform Miss Irene Pickup, an old friend of ours, who for many years, as a leading l Trade Unionist in the Works, was closely associated with B.S.R, in the carrying out of his labour policy; and Sir Robert Hyde, the founder, and until his recent retirement the Director, of the Industrial Welfare Society who at Mr. Wallace's invitation has travelled all the way from Surrey today to attend this meeting. Sir Robert Hyde worked in close association with B.S.R. in starting the Industrial Welfare Society and their friendship goes back a very long way. No one is therefore better fitted than Sir Robert to speak to us about B.S:R.'s work in the field of industrial relations as seen by those outside the Cocoa Works.
"B.S.R. started at the Cocoa Works in 1889 and was made a Director in 1897. He succeeded his father, Joseph Rowntree, as Chairman in 1923, relinquished his executive responsibilities in 1936 and
retired from the Board in 1941, after having served the Company for over 50 years.
"Those of you who were in the Company's service in the years between the wars will know from experience the great impact that B.S.R, made on the fortunes of this business. He devoted his life to industrial and social reforms and was always intensely interested in the welfare of the workers. One of his beliefs was that employees should be treated as co-operators not as servants and to this end he started in 1919 the Central Works' Council as one of the channels through which workers and management could consult with one another. He was liked and respected by workers and management alike for his kindliness and friendliness, and I think I am expressing the feelings of everyone present who knew him when I say we are grateful to have had the opportunity of knowing B.S.R. and of working as members of the Rowntree team under his inspiring leadership. We are proud too of the distinguished work he did in so many important fields outside the Cocoa Works."
At Mr. Sparkes's suggestion, those present then stood for one minute in silence as a tribute to Mr. Seebohm Rowntree's memory.