Minstrels, missionaries and the Minster
Race, imperialism and the historic city
in Chocolate, women and empire
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This chapter draws on company sources to explore the complex interrelatedness of 'home' and 'empire' for Rowntree and for York. It examines the role played by the firm in influencing understandings of race, empire and the city, as well as in providing a space for employees effectively to act out 'local' and 'imperial' consciousness. The chapter explains the ways in which Rowntree constructed their relationship to York and the versions of the city they represented and created. It considers how Rowntree represented the rest of the world, and their own place in the British empire. Workers were involved in making global, often imperial connections at an economic, social and cultural level through migration and missionary work, and through the performance and spectatorship of race in factory minstrel shows. The chapter illuminates how imperial identities were situated in the context of imperialism and in relation to the chocolate industry in particular.

Chocolate, women and empire

A social and cultural history

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