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YHA Chocolate history unwrapped at YHA York
    08/07/2013 08:10

Chocolate history unwrapped at YHA York

The little-known link between the world-famous Rowntree family and YHA York has been brought to life in a stunning art installation at the Youth Hostel in Clifton.

Following privileged access to the Nestlé Archive the history of the Rowntree family and its relationship to YHA (England and Wales) has been told in a giant six metre-long timeline installation in the hostel’s brand new conservatory.

The Youth Hostel was the former home of the son of one of the founders of the City’s chocolate dynasty in 1908, and was gifted to the youth hostelling charity by the Joseph Rowntree Village Trust in 1945.

Alex Hutchinson, responsible for the Nestlé Archive said: “We’re very proud to have been involved in the creation of such a stunning piece of design work while inspiring and informing YHA York visitors to the role this building played within the Rowntree family.”

The installation is the culmination of a £1.95 million facelift at YHA York, which has created a world-class Youth Hostel with unrivalled facilities for families, schools, and tourists, including 32 en suite bedrooms, meeting and conference facilities and an upgraded restaurant within a conservatory extension.

In honour of the influential family, YHA York’s meeting rooms have been named after family members and the brand new conservatory given the title, the ‘Yorkie Bar’. Additionally, the story of chocolate has been told in a series of iconic images and advertisements reproduced from the archive and displayed throughout the hostel.

The concept of the Rowntree’s installation was the idea of YHA Network Marketing Manager Hannah Knox-Hewson and was brought to life by London-based agency The Hub. Hannah said: “We are hugely grateful to Nestlé which has made this amazing project possible by allowing YHA unfettered access to their Rowntree archive. We hope this will both be a fantastic piece of informative art for our all guests, but also bring the story of Rowntree and Nestlé to life for the many educational groups that visit YHA York and offer our customers an ”experience” rather than just a bed.”

The Hub worked closely with the Nestlé Archive team. Together, they spent more than three months sampling and re-working 150 years’ worth of Rowntree’s typography and advertising imagery to create the six-metre long installation.

Kyle van Blerk, The Hub’s Creative Director, said: “We're over the moon to have been able to work so closely with Nestlé and YHA on this project - something we hope will turn into a local landmark for many years to come. This is the first in a series of unique installations throughout the YHA network, which aims to educate, entertain and inspire in equal measure. We'll also be entering the piece into a number of international design awards, so watch this space!"

The investment in YHA York by the Youth Hostelling charity was part of YHA’s Capital Investment plan to create a world-class network of Youth Hostels in England and Wales.
The Rowntree’s installation at YHA York is an important part of the charity’s drive to change the outdated public perception of its accommodation.

YHA has around 160 Youth Hostels throughout England and Wales and is working hard to shed its former reputation of rickety bunk beds, sleeping bags, compulsory membership, chores and 1960s dormitories by investing significantly in its network.

The investment is helping create great value, modern and comfortable accommodation which is open to everyone; however there are significant discounts for YHA members.

By Harry Hosteller

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