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The Rowntree Family

Colin Rowntree - Architect

Born 9th August 1891

Son of Frederick and Mary Anne Rowntree

Brother of Douglas and Molly

Died 13 November 1965

Married 30th Oct 1914  to (Ada) Mary Begg
born 14th May 1894 
died 11 Nov 1967  

Children -
Michael  born 7th Nov 1915  died 10 July 1942
Paul  born 27 May 1920 died 11 Sept 1999



Articles relating to Colin and some aspects of the Rowntree family

Colin Rowntree in World War 1
Museum containing Colin Rowntree's Documents and Diaries from World Wars
Colin Rowntree's World War photographs
Colin and Mary in WW1

Mary Begg

Letters to and from Colin and Mary during WW1 - a summary
Letters to Colin Rowntree from his father and mother, Fred and Annie Rowntree 
Two letters from Colin to Mary while he was at Daltote 
One Branch of the Rowntree Family in the WW1 Era.
Frederick Rowntree in the Early Twentieth Century
The Rowntree Clan gathering on Holiday and at other times.
Colin  Rowntree from the Bootham Register
A letter from the next Generation about the Architectural family
A Cruise in 1936

Some aspect of the life of Colin Rowntree ( and his wife Mary Rowntree nee Begg)

Colin Rowntree was born on 9 August 1891 at 9 Queen Square, Strathbungo, the son of architect Fred Rowntree and his wife Mary Anna Gray. At the age of 9 years old he moved with the family to Fulham at 23 Palace Mansions. Br the time that he was 20 years old the family had moved to 11 Hammersmith Terrace and joined the Architectural Practice with his father and brother. He practiced in partnership with his father and brother in Hammersmith, London from 1912 as Fred Rowntree & Sons His wife to be, Mary, was living with her Father Sam Begg and Mother Ada at 23 Fairfax Road, Bedford Park Chiswick. 
They were married on 30th Oct 1914 and at this time Colin had already committed himself the Friends Ambulance Unit and had started training in Medical work on 25th August 1914 about three weeks after the start of war. 
Details of their early life together
, such as it was.
The day they got married  Colin went to Dunkirk to work with Friends Ambulance, so Mary lived with her parents throughout the war period although there is reference to them buying a house during 1916, the one in which they lived after the war on Strand on the Green, Chiswick. It should be noted that Colin would have had no pay during his time with the Friendís Ambulance Unit and it can be surmised that the main reason for him leaving the FAU to join the Royal Engineers, to work with the War Graves, was his need for money, as his first son was born in November 1915 and now he had a child dependant on him. From their letters to one another we get some idea of their lives during the war however significant insight of life behind the lines in France and Belgium, came be obtained from Colinís 
diaries 1914-1916
and diaries 1916-1918

There are a number of letters between Colin and Mary but have virtually no detailed information regarding the state of life for either during the war. There are references to holidays that Mary had in Cornwall during that time and one letter giving a beautiful of the countryside round Perranporth.

There is other information that can be gleaned from them but many of them seem to be of little consequence with not much more than missing you comments and Colin telling Mary that she is a naughty girl for not writing and Mary also grumbling that Colinís letters are not often enough. 

Summary notes and excerpts from letters 

There is a short set of comments about Letters 1914-1918 between Colin Rowntree and Mary Rowntree nee Begg

From the letters from Mary it seems clear that by early 1915 they had rented Picton House and Mary was busy getting decoration done. Despite owning this house Mary continued to live with her parents throughout the war and even considered renting it out to friends or family. 

Immediately after the war Colin went down with Flu and Bronchial Pneumonia and was poorly for some months. See diary note

Mary and Colin then settled  at 45 Strand on the Green ( Picton House) and Colin worked within his Father's Partnership. Their second son Paul was born in 1920 and he and his brother enjoyed the next 5 years by the Thames until they moved to York to continue with the Partnership work in the North. 
According to a letter written by Paul in 1988, Colin was grateful to be away from the "head office".

During the post war years it seems that Colin and family joined with Fred Rowntree and members of the extended family on holiday near Tavyalich on the West Coast of Scotland and we have a couple of letters from Colin about one such holiday and also photographs of the family. These have helped in assembling a short article about the meeting up of the Rowntree Clan

In about 1925 Colin and his family left London for the North and settled at Aumitts in Bransby for a couple of years before moving into Stonegate in the middle of York. Colin ran the NOrthern office of Rowntree and Sons for many years until the Partnership was dissolved. Fred Rowntree in 1927 and Mary Anne in 1933. Thoughout their lives Colin and Douglas kept in touch by letter and after Fred's death had the responsibility of ensuring that the estate made regular payments to Fred's mistress Mrs Brown. There are still memories of Colin and Mary's  life at Stonegate where they stayed until after the WW2 finally moving to 120 The Mount which was later passed onto Paul and Gwen. 

There is an indication that Samuel Begg moved North 

Details of the work of Fred, Colin and Douglas Rowntree can be obtained from the Dictionary of Scottish Architects http://www.scottisharchitects.org.uk/ 

Attended Bootham - see the Bootham note


born at

9 Queen Square, Strathbungo



lived at

23 Palace Mansions Fulham



known at

23 Fairfax Rd (Mary Begg)



lived at

45 Strand on the Green

at War - FAU and War Graves


lived at




lived at

17 Stonegate York



Office at

Museum Chambers York



lived at

120 The Mount York


Colin Rowntree

Friends Ambulance 1914-18

Royal Engineers Directorate of War Graves Commission

1918 A.R.I.B.A.

1940  No.4 Graves Registration and Enquiry Unit - Aldershot.