Our heritage


We have a powerful heritage.

We were established over 100 years ago by Joseph Rowntree to provide housing in communities and to understand the root causes of social problems.

Joseph Rowntree's legacy

We will always be driven by our founder’s vision. We are constantly working out what this means for our influencing and communications work in the present day.

Joseph Rowntree was a visionary businessman and social reformer. He built New Earswick, a village in York, for people on low incomes. It gave staff who worked in his factory access to decent homes at affordable rents. He was committed to understanding the causes of poverty and disadvantage in order to create a better society. His son, Seebohm Rowntree, was a pioneering social researcher who undertook one of the country’s first investigations into poverty.