Castleford Heritage Trust


Visitors to the Christmas Fair 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!”

River Aire in full flow 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.

Dave Weatherson demonstrates the miling process in Halifax 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 thank you received by volunteer John Parker Volunteer John Parker was thrilled when a Thank You note was delivered by his local postman.

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!

Volunteer John Bell leads a tour party Saturday 21st saw a brilliant Heritage Open Day at the Queen’s Mill where the Mill tours were almost fully booked all day.

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.

John Parker on our stall at Penistone The second weekend in September saw members of the Trust out and about at two very different 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.”

Oddball’s Dragline Bucket 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.

A Tribute to Cas’ Tigers 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.

John & Dave @ Sherburn. 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.

Boris and friends 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.

Dave demonstrating milling to two visitors 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.”

Tea Time @ Queen’s Mill We have received this Twitter post from Meryl White, Baker and Food Historian who gave a presentation on The History of Afternoon Tea at The Mill.

“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.”

Let's Get Walking 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.

Queen’s Mill £5 per ticket 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.

Let’s Get Crafting Starting on Tuesday June 11th at 13:00 you can pick up crafting skills at no cost.

Come along and not only find out what a decoupage box is but make one!
The activity is free with all materials supplied.


Volunteer In Wakefield 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.

James Macpherson and bee hives 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.

the CHaOS Science Roadshow 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.

Meryl White’s BlogMeryl White’s Blog

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 FormExpression 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 completed demolition of the grain silo

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:

Archive Group co-ordinator David Pickersgill said: “As a student of history I'm aware that it's the experiences and opinions of ordinary people that don't get recorded for posterity.   It's particularly important that we get people's memories of life in the town's past industries recorded while there are still plenty of former employees around.   One of the group members, John Heywood, has been in touch with the organiser of a forthcoming Burberry's staff reunion so we can spread the word of the first session and, hopefully, get a good turnout to set the ball rolling.

The sessions will run from 11.00 to 14.00.

Demolition of the grain silo Work has started on the demolition of the old grain silo which was constructed on the mill site in the early 1940’s as part of the war effort.

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.

The Castleford brick seen at Devonshire Mill In late February our webmaster John took a trip with his wife to Devonshire Mill near Pocklington to see the drifts of snowdrops in the former mill's gardens.

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: 

Radio York presenter Sam Dilcock 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

Seaside Collage 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.

British Science Week 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.

Leeds Steam Punk Market The second event takes place over the weekend of 7th and 8th of December when Leeds Steampunk Markets will be holding their first ever event in Castleford.

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.

Connect, Be Active, Have Fun The Trust is pleased to announce that from Wednesday 23rd January we will be holding activity afternoons here at Queen's Mill.

Sessions will run from 12:30 to 14:30 every Wednesday and free door to door transportation is available where needed.

Activities include:

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:
Closing date for applications is 5pm on Monday 7th January 2019.

News from 2018

The winning numbers from the November open day are listed below, to collect your prize please call 01977 556741 to arrange collection.

  1. 201    Collected
  2. 131    Kev 07*** ****76    Wine
  3. 131    Kev 07*** ****76    Wine
  4. 187    Collected
  5. 167    Liz & Dave 07*** ****36    Boxed Scrapbook
  6. 89     Stuart    2 tickets for Trampolining in York
  7. 80     Jenna    2 tickets for Trampolining in York
  8. 139    Paul     2 tickets for Trampolining in York

Edward Walden takes our flour sales over £3000.. We have now reached over the £3000 mark for flour sales!

The customer taking us over the mark was Edward Walden who is from Power to Change, one of organisations who are funding the the ongoing work at Queen's Mill.

Edward is pictured outside the Queen's Mill Tea Rooms with his significant purchase which had been produced the week before by our miller Dave Weatherson.

Volunteers from The Church of The Latter Day Saints.

On Friday the 2nd of November Sarah Emberson of the River Stewardship Company brought twelve volunteers to clear vegetation and rubbish from the mill tail race.   The group cleared away eighteen bags of rubbish during the day and were kept supplied with hot soup and drinks from the community kitchen in the mill.  

At the end of the session Sarah said: “Unfortunately we didn't have time to poison the tree stumps or the weeds on the ledge but everything will die back for winter now and if you cut the new growth on the trees at the end of each summer it should be easy to keep on top of it.   You could also try cutting a noughts and crosses shape into the top of each stump (around 1cm deep) which will allow water to run into the stump to rot it.”

Queen’s Mill Waterwheel Castleford Heritage Trust are entering the Aviva Community Fund competition this year.  The Aviva Community Fund awards projects with the highest numbers of votes funds to complete community based projects.

This year Castleford Heritage Trust are taking part in the new Environment Category and want to raise funds towards Restoring Queen’s Mill Waterwheel.

It only takes a few minutes to vote and you could be helping to restore this amazing heritage asset for all the community to enjoy.

Voting opens on 23rd October to vote for us please follow this link to Aviva.
Each voter gets up to 10 votes and these can be spread out or all used for the same project.  Click on register/login and follow the instructions.
Please have patience and try again if the site is busy.
There are 300 projects in our category - Environment and we are hoping to go to the finals to get £25,000 towards the Waterwheel restoration.

Our waterwheel project is now also live on Crowdfunder.  The link to the project is here.
Please share this information and spread the word.  Donations made via this crowdfunder account will go directly to the CHT Waterwheel Fund.  The target amount is ambitious but we keep what we raise and every pound moves us closer to our goal.
Our Crowdfunder account will run for 8 weeks so we need to keep sharing and reach as many people as we can.

When We Were Brothers. Lads don’t cry.  But what if you have to?  When you feel like you’re going to explode.  When everything’s closing in.  And you don’t even know if you can stand it anymore.  What then?

Danny and Tommo have been friends since they were 8 years old.  Played, fought, had each other’s backs.  Like brothers.   Now they’re grown up; Danny’s down in that London and Tommo is off work and back at his old bedroom.  But Tommo’s mum, Julie, is really worried about him, and Danny may be the only one who can help…

‘When We Were Brothers’ is a one-hour new play by Ben Tagoe (Coronation Street, Lucky Man) about being a man, mental health, and friendship.

This play is being performed on Friday 16th November at Queens Mill starting at 19:30.  Full details can be obtained from the Freedom Studios website.

Scaffolding platform for the overhang.

A specialist team of have been on site erecting the scaffolding that will enable refurbishment work to start on the overhang.  

Money for the work was granted by not-for-profit group, Waste Recycling Environmental (WREN), it will be used to refurbish the exterior of the wooden overhang on the river side of Queen’s Mill, which gives essential access to the two main areas of the building.   It will also provide new windows and heating in the Island Gallery wing, as well as insulation to the roof, to make the building more energy efficient.

Commenting on the grant Penny Horne, WREN’s grant manager for Yorkshire, said: “We’re delighted to be supporting the project and pleased our funding will make such a difference.”

Victorian Avery Scales The Trust has acquired two new items which, once restoration has been completed, will go on display in Queen’s Mill.  Both items had been located in the village of Kellington where Trust volunteer John Parker lives.

The first item is a set of cast iron Victorian weigh scales which were rescued from a mill in the heavy woollen district of the former West Riding.   Two of John's neighbours were thinking of moving to a smaller property and it was decided that the scales, which were to be turned into a garden feature, would would be better placed as an exhibit at Queen’s Mill.   When John was asked if he thought the Trust would like the scales he said yes they would be delighted to accept them.   Scales of this sort were in general use at the end of the 19th century and a set would have been in use when the building was operational.   Once restored they will be on display in milling room.

Harmonium from St. Edmund's Church Kellington The second item is a harmonium which probably provided the music for the congregation of St. Edmund's church before the electric church organ was installed.

John's wife is a member of The Parochial Church Council and they had decided that the harmonium was surplus to requirements so John was asked if he would help dispose of it.   John suggested to his wife that the harmonium would be found a good home with The Trust so after a few phone calls he was told the harmonium would be given to The Trust.   It will go on display in the museum section of Queen’s Mill which is currently under construction.

Trust volunteer Harry Malkin arranged for the collection of the two items and they are now with The Trust waiting for restoration to take place.

Chair of the Trust Alison Drake said, “CHT is pleased to add these interesting items with their unique local story, to our growing museum collection at Queen’s Mill.   There is a dedicated team of volunteers taking care of the collection and using items in the community.   We are working hard to provide an exciting museum exhibition, so we are delighted to add these items to the display, thanks to John and the team.”

Jeanette Bannister with a display of Roman pottery A Roman themed open day was held at Queen’s Mill on Saturday 15th September.   On show were; Roman pottery handling, a Roman quern stone replica, Roman storytelling sessions, Roman themed games, Roman themed Children's crafts including Mosaic printing with ceramic tiles and there was a Roman family trail around the site.   Plus visitors had the opportunity to taste samples of Panem Lagentium, our Roman themed bread with a Castleford twist, and take away the recipe to cook at home.   The open day was held as part of the Heritage Open Days Scheme which meant visitors could take advantage of a free tour of the mill.

The open day was held in conjunction with an event staged by Wakefield Metropolitan District Council which saw various Roman themed displays taking part in the main shopping area of Castleford.

John Parker and Jeanette Bannister at the Penistone Show Volunteers Jeanette Bannister and John Parker were in attendance at this year's Penistone show which is the largest agricultural show in South Yorkshire.   During the course of the day Jeanette and John answered questions put by visitors to the show, promoted the work of Castleford Heritage Trust and made contacts with like minded volunteers.

At the end of the show John said; “It's been a long but rewarding day meeting people from all over Yorkshire.   A lot of visitors didn't know the mill existed and some said they would be coming along to our open day on September 15th.   So in terms of promoting Queen’s Mill and Castleford Heritage Trust the day has been a great success.”

Rod Rayner and Alison Drake walk over the Millennium Bridge To mark the tenth anniversary of the opening of the Castleford Millennium Footbridge the following article was published in the Yorkshire Post.

The article is titled The Big Town Plan revisited - ten years on, how has The Castleford Project impacted on the town?
It examines how the town has fared in the ten years since the Channel 4 program The Big Town Plan ended.

John and Dave with David Buckle On August 12th volunteers Gini Bannister, John Parker and Dave Pickersgill attended “Producers Day” at Bert's Barrow in Hillam.   At a well attended event the team answered questions from the general public and promoted the next Mill open day which will be on Saturday September 15th.   Amongst the highlights of the day were a visit by local mayor David Buckle, plus John was interviewed by Radio York for the Wednesday evening show God's Own Countryfile.
Event organiser Charlotte Wells Thompson said, “It's been a fantastic day for all our lovely customers and hard working producers, I would like to thank everybody who has been involved”.

Dana in the new tea rooms Over the past few months the volunteers have been working hard to make changes to the tea rooms and Riverside Paint A Pot.   Walls have been torn down, new walls have been plastered, doorways have been sealed up, concrete has been poured, windows have been replaced, flooring has been fitted and paint has been applied.

Riverside Paint A Pot The tea rooms owner Dana Russell said, “Three years have flown by since the tearooms opened.  Now well established the tearooms have a great reputation with some fantastic customers.   With the support of the Mill, we have now expanded, enabling beautiful views of the River Aire, the Mill, water wheel and the famous bridge.   The expansion has been sympathetically carried out to provide extra seating as well as the fantastic views.   I would like to thank everyone who has been on this journey, especially the hard working volunteers & mill staff who have put their hearts & souls into delivering this expansion on time.”

Riverside Paint A Pot owner Ruth Knowles is equally delighted with the effort put in by the volunteers.  She now has bright cheerful premises where folk can turn plain pottery items into custom artefacts.

The Trust is pleased to announce that in conjunction with Wakefield Council we are holding a number of events over the school holiday's here at Queen's Mill.

The events consist of activities at Riverside Paint A Pot followed by craft work in the Mill.

Sessions will run from 09:30 to 12:30 on the following days.

To book a session please call our office on Tuesdays or Thursdays on 01977 556741 or email:

John Parker on our stand at The Great Yorkshire Show In July members of the Trust attended The Great Yorkshire Show at the invitation of the NFU.   The Trust shared a stall with Alastair Trickett who grows heritage varieties of wheat on the family farm which is situated on the Harewood estate.   Over the three days of the show volunteers met members of the public many of whom were impressed at the work done by the Trust.   The days were well attended and a great success.   Many thanks to our team of John Parker, David Pickersgill, Jeanette Bannister, Glynnis Wilson and Lorna Malkin for going along to help out.

Jini Bannister commented “I had a really good Day on Wednesday and the public were full of praise for the CHT at Queens Mill and wished us well for future projects.”

During the last two Sunday's in June volunteers spent the day at Farmer Copley's near Pontefract.   On the first Sunday it was a farm open day where Dave Weatherson spent the day telling visitors how we turn wheat into flour.   On the second Sunday the farm held a “Festival At The Farm” where Dave was joined by Dave Pickersgill and John Parker who again told visitors the story of milling wheat into flour.   The Queen's Mill stand was positioned next to Alan Copley's combine harvester so visitors could easily understand the link of field to flour.   The events were hailed a great success and more volunteers will be meeting members of the public in July at The Great Yorkshire Show and in August at Bert's Barrow farm shop in Hillam.

We are holding a Great Get Together at Queen’s Mill this Friday 22nd June at 14:00 to 16:30.

All welcome for tea and cakes etc.

Jo Cox on her first speech in parliament noted that “We are far more united and have far more in common than that which divides us”.   The great get together is a nationwide event for people to come together in this spirit.

Everyone is welcome so do invite friends and family and anyone who you think would like to come along.  The idea is that if everyone brings a little something, we can share and enjoy a good time.
Our apologies on the short notice, but we hope you can make it.

Janice Brooks and HRH Prince Andrew Representatives of Castleford Heritage Trust were invited to a presentation of the Duke of York Award for Community Service.   Janice Brookes received the award from the Duke on behalf of the Trust at Sheffield Cathedral.   It was a wonderful day, and everyone was proud that the work of the Trust in Castleford has been recognised by the Duke of York Trust.   There are many CHT members and volunteers who serve the community in so many ways and this award is for everyone involved, to celebrate all that they do.

The Tombola Team with Alison & Gillian The Tombola Team break records in fundraising for the Trust!

Esther and Wilf Rhodes along with Esther's sister Hazel Parks have raised over £1,000 for the Trust in less that twelve months with their tombola stall.   The stall is a regular feature at Queen's Mill open days and it has also raised money for the Trust in the Carlton Lanes shopping centre in Castleford.   The Trust would like to thank the tombola team for their sterling work.
Pictured from the left are; Hazel Parks, with from the Trust, Alison Drake MBE and Gillian Cohen, alongside Esther and Wilf Rhodes.

Volunteering Opportunities

The following opportunities have become available for volunteers with the Trust ...

In addition CHT will be having a stall and running an activity at the Children's University event - MayHem 2018.   The event takes place on Wednesday 30th May between 10:00 and 14:00 at Castleford Campus, Wakefield College.

For the official events page: click here.

For more information, contact Jenny Catch, email: , alternatively telephone CHT on 01977 556741 or call in at Queen's Mill, on Aire Street.

A crowdfunding campaign is being launched in a bid to get a historic Castleford waterwheel turning once again.

The 130-year-old wheel, at Queen's Mill, has been out of action since 1970 but Castleford Heritage Trust (CHT) wants to restore it to generate electricity for the mill, with the surplus being sold to fund the trust's activities.
The initial target for the project is £20,000, which the trust aims to raise through business sponsorship and individual donations.

CHT chairwoman Alison Drake said: “We have been unable to secure grant money for the waterwheel so, instead, we're turning to the people of Castleford and saying 'let's fund this ourselves'.   With the help of funding from Power To Change, our volunteers have already put in thousands of hours of unpaid work to transform the mill buildings and now we're calling on the rest of the town to help us with this vital aspect of our plans.   The trust's ambition is to be self-sustaining – and the income we could achieve by selling electricity generated by the wheel would go a long way toward this.   If we succeed in restoring the waterwheel, it will not only bring an impressive part of our heritage back to life but will also be a fantastic demonstration of what a small town like Castleford can achieve if everyone works together.”

The huge waterwheel, which is more than 6m in diameter and 4m wide, was installed in 1885 and meant the mill became the first building in the town to benefit from electric power.

CHT project manager James Knowles said: “If we hit the £20,000 target this will release other funds for the project, which we hope to start work on in April.   First we'll need to drain the water from around the wheel so engineers can have access to assess its condition and give us an idea of the work needed to get it turning again.   We already have £50,000 from Wakefield Council for generating equipment but that needs the wheel to operate it, so the plan is to carry out the work in two phases: first to get the wheel back in action, then to install the generator and connect it to the grid.   It won't be the easiest job but we're up for the challenge – and we hope the people and businesses of Castleford will play their part, too.”

Sponsorship opportunities are available from £50 upwards: for more information, contact ,  telephone CHT on 01977 556741 or call in at Queen's Mill, on Aire Street.

The next stage to regenerate the former Queen’s Mill site in Castleford has been given the go-ahead by planners.

An application from Castleford Heritage Trust to bulldoze the prefabricated structure next to the main mill building and build several units, including a music studio, has been passed.   Accessed via Aire Street, the proposed new building will also house an office and a store room for canoes from water sports on the River Aire.   The upper level of the new building will be turned into a dormitory, with an intention to offer bunk-bed style accommodation for people who are doing the Desmond Family Canoe Trail - a water sports partnership project with the Canal and River Trust which runs from Merseyside to East Yorkshire.

The whole building will be wholly owned by Queens Mill with all the units, apart from the boat house and dorm, which is intended for business lease.
The planning officer recommended approval saying: “It is considered that the proposal would seek to encourage the long term vitality and regeneration of Castleford town centre and enhance local leisure facilities, having long term benefits to the riverside.”

Letour de Yorkshire The Letour de Yorkshire Business and Community Roadshow is coming to the Mill on Thursday 1st March!!

Businesses across Yorkshire are being invited to a series of Tour de Yorkshire roadshows as the county gears up to host the major international cycle race.   This roadshow, delivered by Welcome to Yorkshire, is a great opportunity to come along and find out more about what is happening in Castleford and across the region during the Tour.   The session will include a short presentation, detailed information of the new route, advice on how to make the most of this world-class event and a Q&A opportunity.   They will also give advice around brand guidelines and how your business and community can make the most of the opportunity.

Colne Valley Bread As part of its 2018 opening attractions The Colne Valley Museum featured bread making in their Victorian kitchen using flour from Queen's Mill.   Jane Bickerton of the Colne Valley Museum Bread Team said "We would like to thank Delia Perret for making the donation we really enjoyed working with your flour."   Also on display at the museum was a new transport exhibition, Days Gone By.

The Colne Valley Museum is located within the Colne Valley at Golcar, Huddersfield.  The museum consists of three converted 19th century weavers' cottages.

YogaPoster On Friday 26th of January Castleford Yoga will be holding a Free introduction to Feel-Good yoga session at the Mill between 19:45 - 20-45.

If you are interested please bring a mat, some water and wear comfortable clothes.  Also if you wear reading glasses please bring them to help fill in the health screen form.

Click here for more information.

The 1st meetings of 2018 for our community groups are as below.  New Year, new resolution, learn a new craft and join our community groups.....

Knit and Knatter - Thursday 4th January 1pm
Quilting - Friday 5th January 1pm
Both great groups and new members welcome.

Life In Our Iron Age Landscape:  At home with the Celts

From 26th January to 9th March 10:00 - 12:00 the WEA are holding a series of workshops at Queen’s Mill.
Learn together about the Iron Age and life in Yorkshire before the Romans arrived.   Think about the past and develop the confidence to talk about the landscape around us.   The Iron Age was a fascinating time in the history of the Yorkshire landscape.   The people who lived here left lots of clues about their lives.   This is an opportunity to join a friendly group of people and will enable you to develop your knowledge and your confidence.

The course costs £42.  Call 0300 303 3464 and quote course code C3672284 for more details.
Or click here to enrol on-line.

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