Castleford Heritage Trust are delighted to announce that we are one of the 60 organisations taking part in @amadigital’s #DigitalHeritageLab this year. The Lab is funded by @HeritageFundUK for their Digital Skills for Heritage initiative.
Visit www.a-m-a.co.uk/digital-heritage-lab for more details.
If you find yourself with a few minutes over the next few days, Castleford Heritage Trust would love to hear your thoughts upon the last few weeks and also the future ahead.
Please follow the link below and complete our Survey. It would be good to get as many people as possible completing this. Your views will help to inform our future planning.
Those of you that are over 60, please could you also complete our activities survey - link below.
We have funding from Connecting Communities specifically for over 60s - our activities were previously all run face-to-face and were guided by meetings of our Community board.
This second survey is looking at how we interact and deliver these activities now and going forward.
June 2nd saw our miller Dave Weatherson along with volunteer John Parker take part in a photoshoot to be published in the Yorkshire Post. The article is due to be published on Saturday June 6th and will feature the work put in by Dave to help the community buy flour during the national shortage. The flour is being delivered by John to local outlets including Bert's Barrow in Hillam and Farmer Copley's in Purston. As reported here and on social media Dave has sold over £3,000's worth of flour which is an incredible achievement
The Yorkshire Post article can be found here.
Postcards from Wakefield District is a project currently being run by the Positive Mental Health Network. The project is about sharing positive thinking across the district and beyond.
As members of the network we have lots of postcards going out into the community this week for people to fill in...but did you know you can also do them online?
Use the attached form, decorate with pictures and positive messages and send them via social media or email. Let's see how many we can send in from Castleford!
Postcards From Wakefield
On the morning of May 26th, Queen’s Mill achieved £3,000's worth of sales of our Wholemeal Stoneground Flour over the lockdown period!
Don't forget we are open for sales of this amazing product, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 10am while 2pm. Cash only. Lucky customer Claire Easton was presented with a copy of our fascinating recipe book which also contains a history of Queen's Mill.
Claire told us that her mother used to work here. We really are a big family!
On Thursday 21st May the Canal & River Trust dropped the level of the navigation to allow maintenance work on the weir to commence.
Local photographer Brian Lancaster was on hand to capture this unique event.
May 9th marked the first anniversary of the death of Alison Drake, our much loved and missed Chair and Heritage Trust co-founder.
Our thoughts are of her and her family. In these unprecedented times we are sure Alison would be proud of the work the Trust is doing to continue to serve our community.
The Castleford Support Hub is now fully up and running at Queens Mill and we are already responding to requests for support and assistance within the area. We have had a great response from people offering to volunteer and are building our support network of Community Responders. If you or anyone you know needs assistance with anything: shopping, a collection, getting a prescription or if you would simply like some activities to do or regular phone calls, please let us know. You can email requests or call the office number - 01977 556741.
Out of hours, or if the request is for or from someone not already known to Queens Mill, they need to go via the Council Hotline: 0345 8 506 506 in the first instance. Please note we are also trying to put out daily activities across our facebook site for the community to get involved in. If you have access why not have a go? We also would welcome any suggestions!
Full information on how to deal with the COVID-19 virus can be found here www.healthwatchwakefield.co.uk.
Or via email to .
The COVID-19 pandemic gave the milling team a surprising request recently. Charlotte Wells Thompson the co-owner of Bert's Barrow a farm shop in Hillam called volunteer John Parker and asked if she could have one hundred bags of flour. After calling the trust miller Dave Weatherson, work on the delivery began. The first task was to buy in some wheat as there was little in the Mill. After Dave had brought in the flour on Monday 23rd of March Dave got to work and the order was ready for delivery two days later.
Both Dave and John took the flour to Bert's where it was unloaded by Charlotte's husband Jase. Afterwards Charlotte commented; “Testimonials are coming in saying we are saving lives! This is such a surreal experience we are humbled to receive such wonderful comments. Thanks for your support it means so much and you are helping support other local businesses.”
During the first week in March the Mill hosted a Business Wth Brunch event which had been organised by BLeisure Rewards. Delegates to the event were given a full tour of the building intermixed with presentations and of course brunch. After the event Ali Gordon CEO & Visionary Officer of BLeisure rewards said, “ Yet another fantastic event this week at The Queens Mill in Castleford. Local businesses came together and discovered this local treasure in the Wakefield district.”.
A video of the event was taken and this can be viewed here.
A detailed map of the Wakefield area has been produced by local artist Liz Kay. Amongst the towns and visitor attractions on the map is our very own Queen’s Mill. A full version of the map can be found here.
Liz has a vast portfolio of illustrations and design work created for organisations worldwide. Her website is LizKay.co.uk.
On Wednesday 19th of February attended an award ceremony at Wakefield Town Hall. The award, “The Mayor says ‘thanks’.” was given to the group by the Mayor of Wakefield Councillor Charles Keith, and his wife Grace.
Councillor Charlie Keith, who was appointed to the ceremonial title in April 2019, wanted the public to nominate people who deserve recognition for the work they do on a daily basis. After taking the robes at Wakefield's annual full council meeting, Councillor Keith told the chamber: “I want to draw some attention to those people who do great things, and never expect to receive any recognition.”
The ceremony itself honoured both individuals and groups who give some of their time to helping within the community. The award has now been framed and hung up at Queen’s Mill and a copy can be viewed at The CHT shop in Castleford Market.
Having tried and tested the buns John said, “These buns are delicious with just the rght amount of fruit, candied peel and spices, and are well worth a trip to the farmshop to buy some.
I don't know their secret mix of spices but I will be baking some myself using Queen’s Mill flour which is available at Farmer Copley‘s near the deli counter.”
They had no family and, after Marie died in 2017 (Frank passed away in 2013), the care home staff were asked to clear their house in Cawood. Care home owner Gillian Conroy (on right in pics) saved the wedding items - they had saved absolutely everything from the day! They looked to donate them to Leed's Museums but museum services suggested they should go to CHT instead.
Queen's Mill are delighted to welcome on Friday 17th January at 19:30, the Red Shed Players with their production of Peter Hirst's Peterloo - The Past Lives in the Present. The proceeds from the production will go to Trinity Food Bank in Castleford.
“At Peter’s Field, Manchester in August 1819 a peaceful demonstration for improved working conditions and democratic rights was met with cavalry charge and bloodshed. Eighteen people were killed and over four hundred injured”.
The play is made up of two parts;
The hard hitting yet entertaining play resonates not only with the past but with current divisive political climate. Tickets are £5 and are available directly from the Mill or by phoning 01977 556741.
Between the 13th and 27th January the Mill is also collecting non-perishable foodstuffs and toiletries etc. which which will be distributed to the Castleford Foodbank. Items should be brought to the Mill between those dates.
The 7th & 8th of December saw the Leeds Steampunk Market make its first appearance at the mill.
Steampunk markets are a regional events so for some followers of the genre this was not just a first time visit to the mill but also a first time visit to Castleford. The market itself sported a wide range of steampunk clothing and regalia, there was a magician, coffee jousting and flying demonstrations from the owl lady. Over 450 people attended the market many of whom took advantage of the hourly mill tours and the milling demonstrations.
The year 2020 marks the 20th anniversary of Castleford Heritage Trust so a series of special events will be taking place.
If you have any ideas or suggestions or would like to take part please get in touch.
Contact us here ...
Hundreds of people enjoyed a highly successful Queen's Mill Christmas Fair on Saturday 30 November. Stalls laden with all kinds of handmade gifts and decorations from local craftspeople filled the Island Gallery, Screen Room and one of the first floor rooms, while most younger visitors headed straight for the second floor where they found Santa's grotto and a range of hands-on craft activities. Entertainment was provided by the Park Juniors school choir, an energetic exhibition by Victoria School of Dance, and members of Encore Theatre Company who performed songs from their forthcoming production of Aladdin and then led a seasonal sing-along. Visitors were also invited to write down their memories of Christmas as part of the trust's ongoing Castleford Memories project. Trust volunteers manned the kitchen to provide hot snacks, while outside the door Swillington Organic Farm's sausage sandwiches soon sold out.
CHT activities co-ordinator John Heywood said: “We were delighted to see so many people, especially children, coming to the mill and having a wonderful festive time. A mixture of craft and artisan stalls, Christmas entertainment, craft activities and, of course, Santa himself made it a lovely community occasion. A couple of days to recover and then on to preparing for next weekend’s Steampunk Market!”
Three Classes from Ackton Pastures Primary Academy recently visited the Queen's Mill and from their reaction had a wonderful and very interesting time. It was a pleasure to meet the children and the staff and we look forward to seeing them again.
The school had a tour of the mill and learned and saw how flour was made, they also saw the waterwheel. They took part in activities involving a 1940's room set, handling Roman artifacts and painting and drawing.
We were delighted to receive letters from many of the children and some of their comments are featured below.
“I am writing to you for making this the best day ever.”
“There were so many fantastic things.”
“I especially liked it when we made the flour.”
“I liked pretending to wash my clothes with the posser.”
Over the weekend of October 5th and 6th volunteers Dave Weatherson, Dave Pickersgill and John Parker were at the Caldervale Industrial Heritage Museum in Halifax as guests of the Leeds Steampunk Market.
Queen's Mill will be hosting the next market so CHT had been made the market charity.
Over the weekend the two Dave's and John raised funds for CHT, promoted Queen's Mill as a venue and explained the milling process to interested members of the public and members of the steampunk community.
The note had been sent by the organisers of The Penistone Show in thanks for the display that had been set up by John along with Jeanette Bannister.
The date for the 2020 show is September 12th. We hope to see you there!
The Trust would like to thank all the groups and organisations who gave up their time to be part of an outstanding day. Thanks also go to all the craft stalls and a big, big thank you to all the volunteers without whom it would be impossible to run these events.
At the first event on Saturday 14th volunteers Jeanette Bannister and John Parker attended The Penistone Show where they promoted Queen’s Mill as a venue and as a working mill producing stoneground wholewheat flour. Visitors to our stall had the opportunity to grind wheat by hand using our quern stone and also to buy Queen’s Mill flour. The event was well attended as John found out when he took a walk around at lunchtime; “I was surprised at the size of the queue at the pedestrian gate. People had over a thirty minute wait to get in, but everyone was well humoured even though they were eager to be in the showground.”
The second event took place on Sunday 15th at St. Aiden‘s nature reserve where volunteers from the RSPB and The Friends of Bucyrus Erie BE 1150 Walking Dragline held an open day as part of the National Heritage Weekend. John Heywood spent the day promoting the work of the Trust highlighting the work we undertake in the community. John was assisted by volunteer John Parker who took the opportunity to take a look at Oddball on one of the few days when it is open to the public.
The preservation of the Dragline is a memorial or “landmark” recognising the achievements of opencast mine workers or “Sunshine Miners” who worked alongside their deepmine colleagues to produce coal when it was needed.
Bank Holiday Monday 26th August saw a flotilla of boat leave Castleford travelling along the Aire & Calder Navigation bound for Knottingley Ampitheatre. The boats had been decorated with sculptures created at Queen's Mill by local people, amongst the sculptures on the boats were miners, glass blowers and rugby players.
On arrival at Knottingley Ampitheatre members of the Trust joined representatives of the Knottingley Afloat Festival and members of the public who were enjoying the afternoon sunshine.
On Saturday 24th August volunteers Dave Weatherson and John Parker attended the Sherburn In Elmete Festival taking with them freshly milled flour and a variety of Trust related items. The duo spent the day chatting with festival goers who showed a keen interest in the work of the Trust and the milling process. Amongst the people visiting the stall was former Great British Bake Off contestant Howard Middleton who was impressed by the quality of our stoneground wholewheat flour.
The Trust gazebo provided welcome shade as the afternoon temperature rose to 28oC. The day proved an overall success with the stall taking enough money to pay for the pitch and provide additional funds.
Saturday August 10th saw Science, Engineering, Medicine and Mathematics Students from Cambridge University descending on the Queen’s Mill in Castleford to deliver an exiting and fascinating Science Fair for all the family. A great time was has by all. The Mill had been chosen by the university group as an ideal location for one if its summer fairs.
Pictured are two of the students with their friend “Boris” in the town centre encouraging folk to join us at the mill.
Volunteers Jeanette Bannister, Dave Weatherson and John Parker spent the last day in June at Farmer Copley's Farm Festival on the outskirts of Pontefract. Visitors to the festival were given the chance to mill wheat into flour using a replica quern stone and ask questions about the work of CHT.
A steady stream of visitors kept the trio busy throughout the day. Afterwards Dave Weatherson said; “It's been a long day and we never got the chance to sit down but it's great that people have shown such interest in us with some people planning to attend the ‘CHaOS’ event in August.”
“Really enjoyed doing talk on History of #Afternoon Tea and meeting everyone at Queens Mill #Castleford in support of the Alzheimer’s Society.
#CupcakeDay event today.
Scrumptious Cakes made with Stoneground flour from the mill.”
Our new group activity “Plodders Heritage Walks”, will take place monthly. Minibus transport to and from the Queens Mill in Castleford to and from Pugneys/Sadal Castle and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park will be available.
From laugh out loud banter to dark times too Lisa Holdsworth’s adaptation “Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile” is a must see play telling the life story of Andrea Dunbar of “Rita, Sue and Bob too” fame.
Queens Mill Castleford 21st June 7.30. All tickets £5.
Come along and not only find out what a decoupage box is but make one!
The activity is free with all materials supplied.
Check out the new volunteering website for the Wakefield district launching today at the start of #volunteerweek. Lots of opportunities available with us at Castleford Heritage Trust, Queens Mill, Castleford.
Castleford Heritage Trust have been delighted to have been involved in the inspirational ‘Postcards from Wakefield’ project. The project was made up of a number of diverse groups and organisations promoting positive mental health across the Wakefield district. Individuals and groups were asked to create postcards highlighting what made them happy. how they dealt with mental health issues or to provide inspirational quotes. The Project culminated in a display of the cards at Trinity Walk during Mental Health Week where many more cards were created. The cards will next be displayed as part of the Wakefield Art Walk on 29 May.
Project Manager John Heywood said that it had been a pleasure and a privilege to be involved and that he had met some wonderful people who had shared their inspirational stories. The activities we currently offer at Queens Mill and our future expansion plans will help tackle the problems of loneliness and isolation.
On Thursday 23rd May, come to Queen’s Mill for a FREE Art workshop. Artist James Macpherson will be joining Artist David Cawthorne and the art group to create a very special piece of work especially for Castleford Roman Day with everyone welcome to come and have a go.
The task is to create a Roman themed bee hive. Whilst it will look like a regular beehive from the outside within it the finished piece will contain a scene of Roman life with a few conceptual twists.
No need to book. Drop in 10:00 - 16:00. All materials provided.
Arts Catalyst are working with artist Invisible Flock on a project called Duet. See this link for more information.
As part of the project members of the public answer a question per day via a dedicated website. The questions are all about the local environment and people's relationships with the rivers and canals. At the end of the month the answers will be collected and then used to create an art installation which will go on display at both the Hebden Bridge Arts Festival and Mirfield Arts Festival.
If you would like to take part please click on the following link each day and answer the daily question.
We had an amazing time at the Castleford Boat Festival 2019. Over 1000 people came down and enjoyed the BBQ, Stalls, Games and Free Craft activities, with nearly 500 people taking a trip on the Safe Anchor Trust Boats.
The family canoes were very popular too.
Thank you to everyone who came along, to our volunteers, partners and staff. We look forward to doing this again next year.
The winning number for the Treasure Hunt was 117 and the winner was Kasey who took away the explorers backpack.
Following on from the popularity of our Science Saturday event Castleford Heritage Trust are pleased to welcome students from Cambridge University to Queen’s Mill on Saturday 10th August as part of their CHaOS Science Roadshow.
Expect lots more hands on Science fun in an event open to everyone.
For more information click here.
Doncaster based food historian Meryl White visited Queen’s Mill on Wednesday 3rd April and had a guided tour with Trust volunteer John Parker where she saw first hand the original milling process plus a visit to the Victorian water wheel.
Before the tour Meryl was presented with a copy Queen‘s Mill recipe book Castleford Born And Bread along with a bag of our unique flour with the proviso she tried some of the recipes.
You can see Meryl’s report of her visit by clicking the link below.
Castleford Heritage Trust are delighted to announce that we have been awarded funding to help shape and grow provision for people over 65 within Castleford and across the Five Towns.
We are currently recruiting for representatives to form a Community Board to have a direct say in where funds are spent and what new services are provided. Board members need to be over 65 and will need to be regularly available to attend board meetings at Queen's Mill. Support is available to help people attend if needed.
If you are interested please complete an expression of interest form and return it to the CHT Office. For more information please call Jenny or John on Tel: 01977 556741
Expression of Interest Form Please can all applications be in by Monday 22nd April.
The work to demolish the grain silo was completed in March after specialist contractors Hutchinson’s of Wakefield began the task of taking the building down at the end of February. As can be see from the photographs walkers and motorists on Aire Street have an enhanced view of the Island Gallery part of the mill. Plus in the background, a good view of the Millennium Footbridge, the weir, the remains of Thomas the barge and the houses on Mill Lane.
The silo was constructed in the 1940’s when Alinson’s upped production as part of the war effort. It became redundant when the mill was closed down and was never envisaged the be a part of the work of The Trust. The Trustees are in discussion on how the resulting space can best serve the community.
The first public event at Queen’s Mill for 2019 was a joint venture between the Trust and the organisers of British Science Week. The event held on March 16th was entitled Science Saturday where Trust volunteers and representatives of the scientific community demonstrated hands on experiments to the families that attended the event. Some of the topics covered were making a pin-hole camera, flower chromatography, making a rainbow in a test tube, plant pathology and making a model waterwheel. Also on hand were ambassadors from the Children’s University and Further Education.
After the event the Trust’s Community Involvement Manager Jenny Catch said;
“ Science Saturday was a new venture for Castleford Heritage Trust at Queen's Mill and we were delighted to see so many people from our community getting involved with all the activities, having fun and learning new things.
The event was born out of the idea that our community and area has a lot to offer in terms of STEM learning and we were pleased to be able to showcase many local and national organisations who do such great work in the community. We wanted to inspire our younger audiences with the idea that science is not just something you do in school, it it all around us everyday and can be used for many purposes.
We were thrilled to hear that our visitors found the event engaging, informative and fun and that the majority of our visitors said their interest in science increased after taking part.”
Her colleague Project Support Officer John Heywood added;
“I think I would just make three main points:
Building on the success of the weekly Wednesday social and activity mornings which started in January, the Archive Group are planning to launch a monthly ‘Castleford memories’ event. Starting in April, the idea is to get people sharing their memories of different aspects of life in the town each month, which will be recorded, archived and hopefully used as the basis for future presentations and projects, especially once the museum is up and running.
The first topic, on Thursday 18th April, will be the town's tailoring industry, timed to coincide with an exhibition of the Quilting Group's work.
Subsequent sessions will be:
The sessions will run from 11.00 to 14.00.
The specialist demolition company Hutchinson’s of Wakefield commenced the operation on Wednesday 27th of February with work expected to finish by the end of March.
Once finished the site will be levelled giving people an enhanced view of the river and the Millennium Bridge.
Whilst there John spotted a brick which has clearly been made in Castleford so we would like to know how this brick ended up at an old flour mill near Pocklington.
If you think you can help us with this please email John at:
On Thursday 7th of February BBC Radio York farmer and presenter Sam Dilcock was given a tour of the mill by volunteer John Parker. Sam hosts a Wednesday evening program called God's Own Countryfile where BBC Radio York celebrates rural life in North Yorkshire. Sam was eager to see how we produce our wholewheat flour from grain sourced near Selby using a traditional stoneground milling technique. John started the tour by explaining how milling in Castleford can be traced back to Roman times before taking Sam to the milling floor here he demonstrated how the milling process worked and how the mill stones were manually dressed.
The tour ended at the waterwheel where Sam can be seen recording the closing sequence of his show. After the tour John said; “Sam was impressed by the skill and dedication of the volunteers in their efforts to make Queen's Mill an asset for the townsfolk of Castleford. Unfortunately Sam had to leave at lunchtime as he had a field of carrots to harvest otherwise he could have had a lunch in the Queen's Mill Tearooms.”
Sam's show, God's Own Countryfile can be heard on BBC Radio York every Wednesday at 19:00. BBC Radio York 104.3 MHz
At a recent Wednesday session one of our activities was to make a collage on the theme of the seaside. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves and talked about their favourite holiday resorts and places they had been.  One lady had even been born in Whitby. We are sure you will agree that the finished product was colourful and captured the essence of the coast. After refreshments had been served several competitive games of Play Your Cards Right were played.
On Wednesday 13th February we are are getting all romantic and having a Valentine's Day Special including a romantic music quiz, themed word Searches and a special Valentine's Bingo!! Tea, coffee and cakes will be served. All very welcome.
Door to door transport is available for those who require it. Please phone 01977 556741 before 11 am on Wednesday to book.
The Trust is pleased to announce two new events will be taking place this year at Queen’s Mill.
The first event on Saturday March 16th involves the Trust, in collaboration with British Science Week, hosting a day of science, technology, engineering and maths. Families will be challenged to complete a number of hand on experiments including making a rainbow in a test tube, creating a pinhole camera, get water to travel UP, learn about chromatography and much more. There is a challenge to build a model of a waterwheel, inspiration for the design will be helped by a free viewing of the cast iron Victorian waterwheel which once powered the millstones and made the mill the first building in Castleford to have electric lighting. Volunteers will be on hand to show participants the waterwheel and assist cohorts in their challenges using material supplied by the Trust.
The day will also feature information stalls and activities from Groundworks, Wakefield Children's University and Get into HE.
LSM has been going since October 2011 and is one of longest running steampunk gatherings in the world. This event was set up by Doctor Geof and held at Leftbank on Cardigan Road in Leeds. Then in October 2012 LSM was made a two-day event due to the volume of traders forming an orderly queue keen to be a part of it. This was the last time it was at Leftbank as the organisers wanted to do more with it rather than it being just a market in a building and give something more back to the community. Therefore it is now held in museums and places of interest that need community support
Details of the event can be found on their website Leeds Steampunk Markets.
Sessions will run from 12:30 to 14:30 every Wednesday and free door to door transportation is available where needed.
To book a session please call our office on Tuesdays or Thursdays on 01977 556741 or email:
Castleford Heritage Trust is looking to appoint a PROJECT SUPPORT OFFICER to support the work of our Community Involvement Manager with a range of participation programmes and opportunities, strengthening our offer as a Community Anchor.
The post is for 8 hours per week, paid at £10 per hour, and funded for 1 year.
For more information please contact Jenny Catch, Community Involvement Manager for Castleford Heritage Trust, at
Full details of the post and how to apply are available at: www.castlefordheritagetrust.org.uk/vacancies
Closing date for applications is 5pm on Monday 7th January 2019.