Friday 20th November saw the launch of the first ever Castleford Beer Festival which was held at Queen's Mill.
The event where over 500 visitors enjoyed sampling the 30 beers on offer was jointly organised by the Trust and Revolutions Brewery in Whitwood.
Mark Seaman, director of Revolutions said; “The event went very well we were happy with it and the turnout. We would now like to make it an annual event. We don't want to count our chickens but everyone told us they really enjoyed it and it's something we want to make happen.”
Alison Drake, Chair of the Trust said; “The beer festival was an immense success. We had so many people come it was just fantastic. There was a lovely atmosphere throughout the weekend. I think it was a good beer festival but it was made even better by the venue. We had a younger age group in the mill compared to what we are used to and it brought in people that didn't know about the work we were doing. We ran some guided tours of the mill and everybody said they were really happy and excited about the works.”
Queen’s Mill Crafts got the official stamp of approval on Saturday when chair of trustees Alison Drake and volunteer Wendy Rayner officially opened the store on October 31st, Halloween, at Castleford Indoor Market following a total refit. The shop, which sells handmade items crafted by CHT’s Knit and Knatter and Quilting groups, along with work made by other local crafters, had been closed for three weeks to complete the refit, which saw our volunteers fit all new shop fittings, which had been kindly donated from a closed unit at Carlton Lanes. To go with this, we have also rebranded the shop as “Queen’s Mill Crafts – Handmade in Castleford”.
It has already proved a big hit with volunteers, crafters and customers, and it is hoped the bright new look will help boost sales, all of which helps to support the work of Castleford Heritage Trust.
Alison said: “It looks absolutely wonderful, everyone has worked so hard to make this happen, and I’m very proud of all their efforts.”
A new enterprise is doing its bit to revive a Castleford industry with the launch of a new paint a pot business at Queen’s Mill. James and Ruth Knowles launched Riverside Paint a Pot at Queen’s Mill on Saturday October 17th. They will be operating every Saturday from 10am to 5pm.
Visitors pay for an unfired piece of pottery, ranging from ornaments to plates and cups, which they can then decorate before it is fired and glazed. James, who is also a volunteer at Castleford Heritage Trust, said: “We think it’s a fantastic venue and it’s another way of attracting people to the mill. In part we were inspired by the success of Queen’s Mill Tea Room, which opened here in August, and all the new people it’s brought to the mill.”
The venue has room for up to 26 people, and it is advisable to book a place in advance, although people can just drop in as well. They can also do special events like birthday parties and evenings by arrangement. Completed items will be available for collection from seven days later.
James added: “Ruth is a DBS-checked, mainstream and special needs trained teaching assistant, so it is suitable for children who need more attention – get in touch and let us know.” Alison Drake, chairman of Castleford Heritage Trust, said: “We are delighted James and Ruth, who already support the mill so much, have decided to use us as a venue, and help revive a traditional Castleford industry.”
Delegates from afar a field as Somerset and Scotland attended the one day event which consisted of a series of presentations on restoration work, health & safety, and attracting visitors
as well as a talk on the history of mills in the immediate location.
The opening talk, “Queen‘s Mill, Past, Present and Future” was given by Trust Chair Alison Drake MBE, this gave the audience a history of Castleford and a flavour of the work done by the Trust.
During the lunch break the Society members were given guided tours of the Mill by volunteers Rod Rayner and John Parker, lunch being provided by Castleford Tea Rooms.
Delegates also took the opportunity to explore the Millennium Bridge and take photographs of the bridge and the exterior of the Mill.
After the event closed Alison said, “Everyone was absolutely delighted with the mill. I am very proud of the volunteers who prepared the venue - they worked very hard and it looked pristine.
All the talks were extremely interesting and the catering was delicious - the event was really good. We had delegates from all over - Devon, Dorset, Hampshire, Cumbria - as well as mills closer to home such as Darrington and Ackworth.
The organisers were delighted with the mill, they had no complaints.
They have now said they will get behind the Queen’s Mill projects and help us move forward with the restoration. We are delighted as SPAB is a very prestigious organisation looking after all kinds of buildings.”
On Tuesday 10th November a local Yoga teacher is offering people the chance to try Feel-Good Yoga for free.
An hour long introductory session will be held at Queen's Mill begining at 19:30. Feel-Good Yoga is suitable for men and women, all ages and abilities.
Further details can be seen by clicking the thumbnail or by visiting Marie's website www.castleford-yoga.co.uk where you can book your place.
Baking fans are being asked to call on their flour power to come up with recipes for a new book to raise money for Castleford Heritage Trust. The trust, which has recently started milling traditional wholemeal stoneground flour at its home, Queen’s Mill, wants to produce a recipe book using the flour to help swell its funds to refurbish the building.
It is the idea of volunteer John Parker and chairman of trustees Alison Drake, and is being launched on Thursday October 1, with a tasting session of cakes and biscuits baked with the flour. John said: “I’m quite new to baking, but I’ve found the flour is very versatile and produces some lovely light bakes. We thought if people could send in their recipes for cakes, biscuits, breads – anything they have been baking with our flour – we could produce a recipe book that we can sell alongside the flour to give people inspiration.”
The wheat used to produce Queen’s Mill flour is grown a few miles away in Kellington, and is hand-sieved to give a unique wholemeal flavour. All the recipes sent in will be tested by volunteers before going into the book.
Alison said: “There has been huge interest and support for the flour we have started to produce, and we’ve had lots of positive feedback, including from professional bakers, about the quality of our flour. Our volunteers have been making some wonderful bread, cakes and scones with the flour, and we’re hoping the people of Castleford will share their favourite recipes to support us and our work here.”
Alongside the book, the website is also featuring a recipe of the month using Queen’s Mill flour. The flour is on sale at the trust’s shop at Castleford Indoor Market, and from Queen’s Mill Tea Rooms.
Everyone who submits a recipe which makes it into the book will be given a credit. Recipes, with a full list of instructions and weights, should be sent to:
On Saturday 10th October the Trust will host the Mills Section Autumn 2015 Meeting of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, (SPAB), at Queen's Mill. The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings is involved in all aspects of the survival of buildings which are old and interesting. Their principal concern is the nature of "restoration" or "repair", because misguided work can be extremely destructive.
The meeting will feature talks by members of the society covering a variety of topics as well as a contribution from members of the Trust.
There will also be the SPAB Mills Archive Bookshop and tours of Queen's Mill.
Places cost £35 each or £40 with lunch. To book a place at the event please download the PDF file below.
SPAB Autumn Meeting. Details and Booking Form
One of the visitors to our September open day, Denise Rowlinson, has sent us this picture of trustees Alison Drake and Dave Wilders joining in with the Roman theme and showing off some of the artefacts.
If you have any digital photographs you would like to share with us you can do so via the link on the 'Contact Us' page.
If your photographs are prints call us on 01977 556741 and we will get them digitised and return them safely to you.
The Trust held a Roman themed open day on Saturday 12th September which ran alongside Roman themed events taking place in the town. Some of the Trustees and volunteers donned Roman garb and a display of reproduction Roman artifacts gave visitors a glimpse of life in Roman Britain. On sale for the first time at an open day were bags of flour that had been milled on site by a team of the volunteers. The event raised over £800 on the day, the organisers of the tombola would like to thank all the people who contributed prizes for their generous support. The Trust would also like to thank ASDA for their donation of a food hamper which was won by Mrs. Myers of Castleford who can be seen collecting her prize from the Tust shop in Castleford Market.
Some of the comments from visitors who had taken a tour of the mill are shown below;
“Fantastic, my boy and I really enjoyed it, it's answered a lot of questions my son had about flour.”
“This is such a worthwhile project. Thank you all who are working towards it.”
“Thank you for the tour it was really interesting. It would have been better to have more chances to take pictures because the view is amazing.”
“Excellent!! Looking forward to seeing progress and ultimate completion of project.”
Local crafter Krissy Warriner is supporting Castleford Heritage Trust with a series of button making workshops, which launch on our open day on Saturday September 12.
Krissy will be holding the workshops, to make Dorset waterwheel buttons, to help raise money for the restoration of Queen’s Mill waterwheel. For just £3 you can learn to make this pretty button to take home, and Krissy is donating every penny to the waterwheel project.
She will be here on Saturday from 10am, and is hoping to do a series of fundraising button workshops for the wheel project.  :So come down and have a go, or sign up for a future workshop!
This marks a further step forward by the Trust in its plans to restore the Mill and create a business facility and community hub. The first batch of flour was milled from locally grown wheat and made fifty 1.5kg bags which are on sale in the Queen‘s Mill Tea Rooms and the Trust Craft Shop in Castleford Market Hall at £2.50 per bag.
Following the completion of the first batch Rod said “I'm really pleased with the way this project is going. Ultimately we plan to make enough flour to sell to the public and also to sell to Stuart our in-house baker.”
Rod then added; “Now the commercial milling operation is up and running we can incorporate it into Mill tours to teach visitors and school parties about an important part of the town's heritage”
On Sunday August 16th the Trust held a a special open day to mark the anniversary of the 1795 Castleford Corn Riot.
The event started at 10am with visitors being given the opportunity to take a guided tour of the Mill and to sample bread baked on site by The Bay Tree Bakery using flour produced at the mill. In the afternoon local historian David Pickersgill gave a talk on the 1795 riot before Commoners Choir performed a short concert of their own songs including a specially written song about the riot. The group had earlier assembled at Thwaite Mills in Leeds before travelling to Castleford along the Aire and Calder navigation. As well as being able to sample local bread visitors were able to sample a special "Commoners Beer" brewed for the occasion by Revolutions Brewing Company, Castleford.
Alison Drake, chairwoman of Castleford Heritage Trust, said: “I think this is a very special event because it is not just an open day, it is a commemoration of 220 years of our history. We ran guided tours of the mill so people could see the transformation of the mill for themselves. People could look at the work we’ve done to unearth the archaeological wheels too."
New local business The Bay Tree Bakery has moved into the mill to produce traditionally produced bread, while local business woman Dana Russell is taking over the mill’s café, which was re-launched as Queen’s Mill Tea Rooms on Saturday August 1st.
The mill’s café has been manned by volunteers since the trust bought Queen’s Mill in April 2013. Dana, who is also a partner in Ambassador Catering Events and has ten years of catering experience, is transforming the café into a new-look licensed luxury tea room.
The Tea Rooms proprietor Dana said: “When I came to the mill to look round I thought what a fantastic opportunity it would be to set up in such an impressive building full of local history. I have been working towards launching my tea room for some time. When I saw the mill, I knew it was right.”
The Bay Tree Bakery is run by ex-teacher Stuart Boothman, and produces a range of artisan breads using locally sourced ingredients which he sells at farmers’ markets around Yorkshire.
Bakery owner Stuart said: “While there are a lot of bakers on our high streets, they all seem to sell the same things – bland, soft bread; lots of pies, pastries and sweet things. I want to get back to real bread – organic, local, no additives, no rush. Just hand crafted, artisan bread from local, stone-ground organic flours.”
Alison Drake, chair of the trust said the support of local businesses was an important step forward for Castleford Heritage Trust. She added: “These are important developments for us. We have two excellent new partners who are helping to take forward our plans for the site and furthering our aims to make Queen’s Mill and Castleford’s riverside an attractive destination.”
The trust presented café managers Stef Petrow and Claire Pouton with special gifts as a thank you for their work running the café at Queen’s Mill for the last two years, as well as their contribution to running the café at the trust’s previous home in Bridge Arts.
The other regular café volunteers were also given boxes of chocolate as a token of appreciation.
Alison Drake, chair of trustees, presented the volunteers with their gifts and thanked them for their contribution to the trust. They will be carrying out different volunteering roles in future at the mill.
The café has been taken over by local businesswoman Dana Russell and is currently being refurbished as Queen’s Mill Tea Room, which will open on Saturday August 1st.
Visitors flocked to Queen’s Mill on Saturday July 11th for our summer open day, where the attractions included the first chance to taste bread baked from flour milled by our milling volunteers.
There were hundreds of people, coming not just from Castleford, but Wakefield, Harrogate, London and one visitor all the way from Australia, to go on tours around the mill, listen to Dr Andrew Rollinson’s latest talk about the waterwheel and enjoy entertainment from local youngsters.
There were also stalls selling crafts and children’s activities, along with a bike doctor from Wakefield Cycle Forum and Scouts showing off their skills.
CHT received lots of positive feedback from visitors who went on the mill tours, with comments including:
A big thank you to all our volunteers for helping on the day, and for their tireless work getting the mill ready for the event. Thanks to all their effort the open day raised over £1,000. Esther, Wilf & Hazel who ran the tombola would like to thank everyone who contributed to help them raise over £150.
Pictures provided by webmaster John Parker.
On Thursday the 16th of July, the Queen’s Mill Café, which has been run by our team of dedicated volunteers for the past couple of years, will close for two weeks.
On Saturday the 1st of August it will re-open as the Queen’s Mill Tea Rooms and be run by local business woman and outside catering specialist Dana Russell.
Dana has exciting plans, from re-decoration to new menus – we’ll have more details over the coming weeks.
Our volunteers have done an amazing job of running our café and the Heritage Trust thanks them all for all their hard work and commitment. It’s not goodbye though – there are plenty of other projects which they will get involved with at the mill, and our regular customers will no doubt see them around the site.
Our Visitor Information Centre will remain in the Tea Room and continue to be managed on a voluntary basis by Norma and Frank Sedgwick.
We are very excited about Dana setting up her new business at Queen’s Mill, which brings us a step nearer to realising our vision for the mill as a supporter of local businesses as well as the community.
The team led by Hellen Hornby of the Sheffield River Stewardship Company, (RSC), will be removing Himalayan balsam and giant hogweed from the river bank in a series operations over the next few months. Hellen was joined by local volunteers and colleagues from RSC and the Environment Agency who started to clear the bank from the start of the weir before moving upstream towards Castleford Lock.
More volunteers are needed to help improve the riverside area in Castleford. The volunteer days are open to all and anyone wanting to get involved should contacting Trish Ellis at Castleford Heritage Trust on 01977 556741 or email email@example.com.
More details of the scheme can be found by clicking this link. CRiSP
James, 16, a pupil at St Wilfrid’s RC High School, will be charting the progress of the restoration project, headed by Dr Andrew Rollinson, by taking photos of the work. His pictures will be used in the Pontefract and Castleford Express to accompany a regular column being written by new volunteer David Pickersgill, a former journalist, who is also helping with the restoration project.
James has just completed his GCSEs and plans to study photography at A level. He is one of Castleford Heritage Trust’s youngest volunteers.
On Friday the 12th of June a team of volunteers led by Dr. Andrew Rollinson put in place a temporary stop to the sluice gates of the water wheel. The condition of the timbers on the existing sluice gates had deteriorated allowing the river water to pass into the wheel chamber which made any work on the wheel unsafe. Lengths of timber were cut to length and hammered into place by Dr. Rollinson who was wearing waders to carry out the work, with the stop in place restoration of the wheel can safely take place.
On completion of the task Dr. Rollinson commented; "This is a temporary installation to repair the sluice gate. It will allow us to explore inside the wheel housing as the broken timbers were letting water through. The main dam will hopefully be in place later this year when we install stop logs into the head race a few metres up channel".
The pictures below show the volunteers carrying out the work with the completed task being pictured from the far bank of the river.
Seasonal weather ensured a bumper attendance at the fifteenth annual Castleford Canal Festival on Saturday May 16th. The event is a joint venture organised by Castleford Heritage Trust, hosted by The Canal and River Trust with the boat rides being run by The Safe Anchor Trust a charitable organisation from Mirfield.   Safe Anchor visit Castleford Lock every May and stay for ten days, during this time they offer free boat rides to local school children and community groups. During the day the mill was open for car parking, guided tours and drinks.   Meanwhile at the lock the crowds had the opportunity to buy burgers and ice creams and also browse around the craft stalls being operated by the volunteers.
The Canal Festival included a children's activities tent organised by Trust volunteer Alison Fender pictured here with Alfie Knowles, with a range of activities aimed at children and young people including a wildlife spotter sheet with free prize draw, a colouring-in competition and children’s tombola. More than 50 children took part in the wildlife spotter activity and 50 children entered the colouring-in competition. Feedback on the day from both children and parents was very positive and the competition winners are below.
Colouring-in 1st prize : Alfie Knowles, Age 5, Glasshoughton Infants School. Runners up : Jacob Breslin, Age 9, St Joseph's J&I School; Tia Garside, Age 5, Wheldon Road Infants School; Katelan Gale, Age 8, Willow Green Primary School.
Wildlife Spotter Prize Draw Winner: Toby Hopes, Age 5, Allerton Bywater Primary School. We had some fabulous entries, and it was very difficult to choose our winners. Here are the winning pictures along with some of the wildlife spotted by Toby.
Congratulations to our prize winners and well done to everyone who took part.
Saturday 2nd May saw the first Queen's Mill open day of 2015 and the launch of our on site bakery The Bay Tree Bakery run by former head teacher Stuart Boothman. Business was brisk as Stuart sold his artisan bread, bread made with flour, water, yeast and salt only – no other additives: no enzymes, no accelerators, and no preservatives. For the launch Stuart concentrated on four lines, Yorkshire White: a traditional white bread, Yorkshire Wholemeal: a tasty traditional wholemeal bread made with stoneground flour, Multi-Seed: a wholemeal loaf with his own seed mix added: sunflower, pumpkin and linseed and his signature loaf, The Bay Tea Loaf: a slightly sweet loaf with currants, and bay tea. At present Stuart is baking using organic flour sourced from North Yorkshire but he will be using flour produced on site when we start our own milling.
The first open day of the year was opened by Yvette Cooper MP who also crowned the maypole prior to local children giving visitors a demonstration of traditional maypole dancing.
Despite the weather being overcast hundreds of people turned out to enjoy the attractions which included a visit by JT the Castleford Tigers mascot, arts and craft stalls, the opportunity to try pottery painting and button making, live music, and tours of the mill.
New to the open day this year were talks by Dr. Andrew Rollinson on the history of milling in Castleford and the work he is undertaking to restore the water wheel at the mill.
Chair of the Trust, Alison Drake MBE said: “The open days go from strength to strength and we had more people turn up than at the last one. It was busy throughout the day and people were delighted with the work that was being done.”
Here is an extract from Stuart's website which explains how the bakery came to be associated with the Trust. "A friend forwarded me an email from Incredible Edible Wakefield, I went to meet them, was introduced to someone who said “I’ll put you in touch with Castleford Heritage Trust”. So I am looking for somewhere to bake, and the Heritage Trust who own Queen’s Mill are looking for a baker to bake and sell bread using the flour they will mill. I felt that fortune was smiling and this opportunity had fallen into my lap – almost too good to be true!" Stuart then goes on to say, "I really like the trustees attitude – they think big and have a clear vision – all backed up with values that I share. They are investing in the town for the future. Local economic development, training and apprenticeships, a Made in Castleford brand, renewables and sustainability. It is a real pleasure to be associated with the mill.
Henry Moore’s family have made a pledge to visit Queen’s Mill after meeting chair of trustees Alison Drake.
Alison met Henry Moore’s daughter Mary Moore, along with her three children, at the opening of a new exhibition of his work at Yorkshire Sculpture Park in March. The exhibition, Henry Moore: Back to a Land, examines his relationship with the land, along with a room curated by Mary, which gives a personal insight into how her father worked.
Alison had already met two of Mary’s children when they visited Castleford Heritage Trust’s previous home at Bridge Arts to open an exhibition by artist Carlos Garaicoa, and they introduced her to their mother. Alison said: “They were very interested in what we are doing and said ‘we intend to visit to see what you are doing’.”
Alison also met Henry Moore Foundation curator Sebastiano Barassi at the exhibition launch, and added he was very encouraging about what we are doing. She said: “He also said he would like to arrange a visit to the mill the next time he is in Yorkshire; both he and Henry Moore Foundation trustee Charles Asprey have been very supportive of our plans. If we make our gallery and exhibition spaces high quality, they would love to bring a Henry Moore exhibition here, which is exciting news and something for us to work towards.”
Building on the success of last year's event the Castleford Heritage Trust invites you to join them at their Race Night on Saturday 11th April at the Lock Lane Community Centre. Tickets are only £5.00 per person which includes entry and a Pie and Pea Supper. Children are welcome to attend (£2.50 PC) but must be responsibly supervised.
The Events Teams Chair James Knowles will be on the mike for the night and there will be multiple races for you to place your bets on. The Trust has sold over 70 Tickets sold so far, so this will be an excellent opportunity for everyone to socialise and have some fun!
Please contact the Trust if you would like any tickets…bring friends and family along. The Trust can be contacted at the office on 01977 556741.
The Trust's first Open day of 2015 at the Queens Mill will take place on Saturday the 2nd May. Dr Andrew Rollinson is a specialist who is working to regenerate the water wheel at Queens Mill, you can find out more about Dr Rollinson on his website www.blushfulearth.co.uk
At the Open Days Dr Rollinson will be giving a 25 minute talk titled Science, History, and Heritage Restoration of the Queen’s Mill Water Wheel, Castleford. This will explain the significance of the mill to Castleford life, with pictures that show old maps of Castleford going back 200 years. It will explain the science and engineering of why and how the wheel was built, and also how it is being restored by the Trust. Talks will be each hour throughout the day at open days.
If you are interested in these or any future events click here... Contact Us
The café at Queen's Mill has been awarded a five star rating by hygiene inspectors.
Trust Chair Alison Drake said "This is a great success and a great reward for our hard working staff and volunteers. The café is run mainly by volunteers but they run it to the highest of standards and this is the proof of that. Once the inspector had finished looking around he said it was one of the best cafés he had seen".
Pictured from left are volunteers; Scott Till, Claire Pouton, Ricky Felstead and Rob Crosslands.
Castleford Heritage Trust is delighted to announce we have received a Special Award of £10,000 from the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851.
The award will be used towards the restoration of our Waterwheel at Queen’s Mill. It will fund the stop planks required to isolate the wheel race from the flowing river to enable restoration work to commence, and will also fund the project management and development of this specialist work.
The Royal Commission aims to ‘increase the means of industrial education and extend the influence of science and art upon productive industry’.
This was originally interpreted as a requirement to create a centre of intellectual excellence, which resulted in the acquisition of the South Kensington estate and its subsequent development with museums, academic establishments and a concert hall (the Royal Albert Hall).
Later, in 1890, the emphasis was switched to the support of individuals, starting with the award of Science Research Scholarships from 1891.
Today the Commission runs its own schemes for:
Industrial Design Studentships
Built Environment Fellowships
Fellowships in Design
It also supports worthy individuals and appropriate organisations by Special Awards.
Registered charity No. 206123
On Tuesday 11th November the Trust received the news that it had been granted £3,000 from Lloyds Bank community fund. This will help us to restore the milling equipment which is on site. Trust Chair Alison Drake MBE said "I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who voted for us and is supporting what we are doing. It's really nice to know we have got the backing of so many people, businesses and organisations across the area. The grant is fantastic news for us. To get the equipment up and running and the volunteers trained up will be a huge boost to our sustainability. Everything we are doing is part of the regeneration of Castleford and the grant is a boost to our plans".
The Trust's vision will see the Mill become an exciting heritage and arts destination for the region and beyond. The project will restore and refurbish a unique heritage building and create a high quality venue for learning, leisure and creativity. The grant will enable volunteers to start using the stone mill wheels to grind flour, which would be used in a bakery. The Trust also plans to get the water wheel working again to generate electricity.
Alison also added, "The wonderful thing about this money is having the backing of the community and it's so uplifting that people came out and voted for us. Without the support we wouldn't be able to do what we are doing. The project is going really well and there's a good feeling about everything at the moment".
On Saturday 11th October the Wakefield district cycle forum held its first monthly cycle ride using Queen's Mill as a meeting point.
The organisers aimed for cycling at an easy-going pace, ideal for beginners, families and those wanting to build their confidence. The ride took three hours using traffic free routes and quiet roads.
For future rides the Trust will be opening the café so tea, coffee, toast and bacon sandwiches will be provided by volunteers Claire, Amy and Rod.
This ride takes place on the second Saturday of the month meeting at 10:15.
For further details check their website: cycling-wakefield.org or download their November newsletter.
WDCF November Newsletter
On Thursday 18th September we were honoured to host a visit by HRH The Duke of Gloucester, who met volunteers, trustees, artists, businesses and pupils from local primary and secondary schools. His Highness toured the mill, meeting our architects and Chair, who presented the mill's vision and redevelopment plans for the future. After the Mill tour The Duke, who read architecture at Magdalene College Cambridge, was shown Castleford footbridge by Renato Benedetti who designed the structure. Among the guests were representatives from Goverment agencies, national companies and local businesses.
The Duke also unveiled the Civic Trust's blue plaque for the mill and enjoyed a lunch of local produce before his next engagement. One of the highlights of the royal visit was a tremendous singing performance by pupils from our local primary schools who gave a rendition of Castleford Our Heritage which had been specially written for the occasion. Afterwards David Hookham who conducted the performance was approached by the Chief Executive of Castleford Tigers who asked if the children could sing the Heritage Song on the pitch before the next Tigers game.
Commenting on the day Alison Drake said, "This has been a fantastic event for Castleford Heritage Trust and for the whole town."
Following on from the success of the open day The Trust held a vintage tea party on Sunday 14th to celebrate the 93rd birthday of their president, Winnie McLoughlin BEM.
The party was well attended by members of The Trust, along with friends and well wishers all taking tea from fine china tea sets, and to mark the occaision a special birthday cake had been produced. This was a day to commemorate a milestone in the life of a remarkable woman.
Our President, Winnie McLoughlin, has been the President of the Castleford Heritage Trust since it formed in the year 2000. Winnie has served the community for many years, being a local Councillor from 1955 to 2000. In that time she was Mayor of Castleford from 1971 to 1972 and Mayor of Wakefield Metropolitan District from 1980 to 1981.
The Queen’s Mill open day on Saturday 13th September 2014 was another very well attended and successful day for Castleford Heritage Trust. Featuring Revolutions Brewery for the first time, as well as lots of craft stalls, the event attracted well over 500 visitors. The event included more music and dance performances than at previous open days, and each was received with high acclaim from the audience. Local musician, Jack Edwards, kicked things off with an impressive acoustic set in the morning, followed by another brilliant performance by impressive singing trio Niamh Raven, Courtney Cranton and Jess Edwards (all from Castleford Academy).
Victoria School of Dance also entertained the crowds with several impressive routines, danced throughout the day, and then the event was headlined by local band Third Knight (all from Castleford Academy, and previous winners of “Cas has got Talent”). The boys provided a 50 minute set and this included the premiere of 2 new songs recently written by the band.
As well as mill tours, which help to raise invaluable funds for Castleford Heritage Trust, the open day included lots of children’s activities, a Bar-B-Q and another outstanding flower, heritage and art exhibition located in most of the mill’s former industrial spaces.
Working in partnership with local primary and secondary schools, art groups and the Castleford Flower Club, the exhibition was once again very well received, and this included a small photography exhibition created by members of the Castleford Heritage Young People’s (CHYP’s) group.
The next open day at Queen’s Mill is on Saturday 29th November 2014, from 10:00 - 15:00.
On Friday 8th August our Chair, Alison Drake MBE, was invited by Network Rail and the Henry Moore Foundation to the unveiling of the first piece of public art to be exhibited at King’s Cross Square, the new public square in front of the redeveloped King’s Cross station. The Spindle Piece has been loaned to Network Rail to display at King’s Cross, serving as a gateway to the Henry Moore Foundation in Hertfordshire and the Henry Moore Institute in Yorkshire, both of which are accessible by train from King’s Cross station.
Also attending the ceremony on behalf of Castleford Heritage Trust were Renato Benedetti and Ketan Lad of architects McDowell+Benedetti who have developed the plans for the future shape of Queen's Mill. Alison was introduced to sculptor Sir Anthony Gormley, who was interested in our plans to tell the story of Castleford’s most famous son, Henry Moore. He commented "As the birthplace of Henry Moore, Castleford offers a unique location from which to explore the early life of Moore, his personal development from child to adult and how these early years influenced the internationally significant artist that he became."
After the ceremony Sir Anthony Gormley introduced Alison to Richard Calvocoressi, Director of the Henry Moore Foundation, who was very supportive of the project to convert the Queen’s Mill into an Arts and Heritage destination.
Alison says "It was wonderful to attend the event at King’s Cross and meet the trustees and Director of the Henry Moore Foundation. This was a perfect opportunity to inform them about our project. They were very supportive and some want us to arrange for them to come to Castleford to find out more about Queen’s Mill and Henry Moore’s birthplace. I also enjoyed meeting sculptor Antony Gormley who was very interested in our plans for a sculpture gallery in Castleford. Antony already has pieces on display in Castleford so it would be great to think he might add to our town’s sculpture experience."
Pictured at the unveiling from left are; Renato Benedetti, Sir Anthony Gormley and Alison Drake MBE.
On Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th July 2014 Castleford Heritage Trust held its annual Heritage Festival at Queen’s Mill and there was more than traditional flour-milling displays on show to the public. Held over 2 days, hundreds of people attended the festival which included spectacular flower and heritage displays created by the Castleford Flower Club, as well as an art exhibition.
These pictures of a part of the floral arangements were taken by Rod Rayner:
Not all the pictures are available on this device.
The heritage festival included the open day with live music, mill tours, children’s activities, craft stalls and Bar-B-Q on Saturday and a vintage tea party on Sunday. Mill tours also included traditional flour-milling demonstrations and the presentation of plans and the latest information about the mill’s future redevelopments.
Inspired by Castleford’s cultural and industrial heritage, a range of flower displays were included depicting Henry Moore, the brickworks, pottery and glass making, the Castleford Tigers, the new footbridge and many more. The festival also celebrated the talent and creativity of the town’s youngest artists with over 100 pictures exhibited in the mill from 6 local primary schools, as well as both Castleford Academy and Airedale Academy.
Here is some of the art which was exhibited in the mill:
Alison Drake, Chair of Castleford Heritage Trust, sums up the festival: “We are delighted with this year's annual heritage festival and through the hard work of our volunteers we were also able to mill flour again at this important heritage site. The heritage, flower and art exhibitions have exceeded our expectations and the feedback from our visitors over the 2 days has been wonderful. We could not have delivered such a successful festival without the help of our volunteers, local community groups and schools, and we are very proud to work in partnership with them all.”
As well as a range of artwork from 6 primary schools and Castleford Academy, the exhibition included a specific art project by Airedale Academy pupils depicting architectural features of the mill and the new bridge. Alison added that she was very impressed by the quality of all the art on display: “All of the work exhibited was of the highest standard and pupils and staff in all our schools should be very proud of their achievements. Feedback from our visitors was exceptional and many people commented about the quality of the art work from such young pupils, including reception classes. It is a privilege to showcase some of Castleford’s young artists’ work in the mill. It received so much praise that we will be displaying the work again at our next open day on 13th September, so even more people can see it.”
Children’s activities at the open day included lots of creative fun including sand-art, plant pot and bun decorating, competitions and other games. Special guests at the open day included JT, Tigers Mascot and Castleford Fire Brigade. Even JT got in on the fun and gave the event the thumbs up.
The colouring-in competition was won by Kennedy Pennington (right), aged 7, from Castleford Half Acres Primary School. Kennedy is pictured below at the festival with sister Maddison and mum Julie, along with her winning entry. Kennedy won lots of art and activity resources worth over £10.00.
The live music was provided by singers and musicians from Castleford Academy, as well as local band The Memphis Cruisers. The Castleford Academy pupils received much acclaim from the audience and they sang a number of popular songs, including some by Dolly Parton, who recently headlined at Glastonbury. The Memphis Cruisers, who have performed at previous open days delivered another amazing set in the afternoon, much to the delight of visitors.
Sunday’s vintage tea party in the café was very well attended, so much so that the activities room was quickly commandeered to accommodate the visitors. Tea, cakes and sandwiches were all served on vintage tea sets which had been brought along by the volunteers. A raffle was held with the lucky winners each receiving one of the floral arrangements which had been on display during the heritage festival. At the end of the day the event had raised £350. Wendy Rayner, Volunteer & Steering Group member received lots of positive comments from customers. “The vintage tea party has been wonderful. So many people came dressed up in their vintage clothes and said what a fabulous time they had. Lots of people also said they would like to come to vintage tea parties in the future and so we hope to do this again soon.”
The Trust has formed a partnership with the town’s neighbourhood policing team (NPT) in the hope of keeping the history of the town’s former police station alive. The building in Jessop Street closed in April 2013 and the NTP relocated to the town's newly-refurbished fire station on Beancroft Road. Before its closure, the Jessop Street station was believed to be the oldest active police station in the country. Inspector Dave Bugg of Castleford NTP said: “We have work closely with the Heritage Trust on a number of schemes in the past and know the history of the station will be in safe hands. We’re delighted that some of the heritage of the building will be kept alive by the Trust.”
Members of the Trust visited the building on Thursday 19th June to view the items which were donated. The Trust hopes that subject to funding, the items from Jessop Street will provide an exhibition in the planned mill museum and is looking for volunteers to help relocate other artefacts to the mill. Alison Drake, chair of the Trust, said: “The former police station is very much part of the town’s heritage. It used to have its own court and is full of history. It was also former magistrate Dr Adam Jessop’s house before it was a police station. We are delighted by the fact that some of the artefacts from it will be used in the mill.” Alison then added “We want to create hands-on activities with what we’ve been able to get from the police station. We want children to be able to use them to learn about the history of the building as well as being able to use them for play activities.”
On Wednesday 28th May the Trust launched its latest initiative CRiSP, the Castleford Rivers Stewardship Project with a trip along the local waterways
in a narrowboat belonging to the Safe Anchor Trust. The project run in partnership with the Environment Agency, aims to help maintain and improve
the heritage and natural environment of the waterways through volunteering, training and employment opportunities.
The Chair of the Trust Alison Drake said: “Looking after our waterways is important as we move forward with Wakefield Council’s housing growth strategy, to make the River Aire and River Calder in Castleford a corridor for housing development. The Trust wants local businesses to get involved in the scheme and hopes to eventually work with Wakefield College to create waterways apprenticeships." Alison also added; “This is a great opportunity for people to get involved and take pride in our waterways. It also offers people the opportunity to learn new skills and possibly in the future provide much needed apprenticeships.”
Representatives from various local businesses attended the launch event and it is intended that training for the project will be based at Queen’s Mill, which is owned by the Trust. The first phase of the work is planned for the river from Castleford Lock to the weir where the banks will be cleared and the fishermen's platforms will be restored.
The Trust webmaster John Parker commented, "One of my jobs in the 1970s was maintaining the anti-foam pumps which were located at the back of the mill. In those days the River Aire was heavily polluted and devoid of any aquatic life. The work being done by the CRiSP initiative will give Castleford an amenity to be proud of."
A hot sunny day and the prospect of free boat rides ensured a bumper attendance at the fourteenth annual Castleford Canal Festival on Saturday May 17th. The event is a joint venture organised by Castleford Heritage Trust, hosted by The Canal and River Trust with the boat rides being run by The Safe Anchor Trust a charitable organisation from Mirfield.   Safe Anchor visit Castleford Lock every May and stay for ten days, during this time they offer free boat rides to local school children and community groups. During the day the mill was open for car parking, guided tours and drinks.   Meanwhile at the lock the crowds had the opportunity to buy burgers and ice creams and also browse around the craft stalls being operated by the volunteers. One visitor Roy Batty of Wakefield said: "It's been a fantastic day out for the family we've really enjoyed ourselves, we'll be telling our friends all about it so they can come next year."
The Canal Festival included the ‘Wild Zone’ with a range of activities aimed at children and young people including a wildlife spotter sheet with free prize draw, a colouring-in competition, children’s tombola and ‘guess the name of the doll’. More than 50 children took part in the wildlife spotter activity and 50 children entered the colouring-in competition. Feedback on the day from both children and parents was very positive and the competition winners are below. Louie Smith (Aged 9) from Three Lane Ends Community Primary School won the wildlife spotter sheet prize draw.
The prize winning pictures are shown below.
|1st Prize (Boys): Ben Wood (Age 8)
Heaton Avenue Primary School, Bradford
|1st Prize (Girls): Charlotte Cohen (Age 7)
Normanton Common Primary School
|Runner up: Kayden Hunter (Age 7)
Kippax North Junior, Infants & Nursery School
On Saturday May 3rd over 800 people attended an open day at Queen's Mill which not only raised money for the Trust but also made visitors aware of the scale of the planned renovations for the site.
The Trust Chair, Alison Drake said: "It was a wonderful success. We were amazed by the number of people that turned up. We had more than 200 people on guided tours around the mill.
and everyone seemed pleased with our plans. I think it shows the town are staying with us in terms of what we want to do and that means an awful lot to us."
The Trust hopes to open the mill as a museum and arts centre complete with a site revamp and café by 2017.
Over the Easter period Joan Prewer helped in raising money by holding a tombola in Castleford town centre. Joan dressed as the Easter Bunny was assisted by husband Gavin, Reg Lavine the Town Crier and members of the Heritage Group. On the day they raised over £200 for the Queen's Mill project.
Following the theft of the Gilligan's Roundabout Horses the police have advised us to publicise the fact as this is the best way to recover the artefacts.
This theft is now registered on the national police data base as missing artefacts and antiquities.
If you have any information that will help in the recovery of the roundabout please contact the Trust on 01977 556741 or Castleford Police on 01924 206210.
On the evening of Saturday April 5th the Trust held a race night hosted by the Lock Lane Residents Group to raise funds. Over fifty people attended the event and were treated to a night of racing with the added bonus of a pie and pea supper. We would like to thank Wendy and Rod Rayner and their team of volunteers from The Trust who raised over £500.
The first week in April had two items of note. Firstly on Wednesday 2nd a Blue Plaque issued by English Heritage was placed
at Henry Moore's birthplace on Roundhill Road. The plaques themselves are permanent signs installed in publicly visible locations on buildings
to commemorate famous people who lived, worked or were born there. The ceremony was attended by civic dignitaries, local school
children and members of the public.
The following day Thursday 3rd gave members of the Trust the opportunity to have a guided tour of
Castleford's Forum Museum. The second floor of the public library on Carlton Street houses exhibitions of the area's rich history and has five permanent
displays which feature the life and work of Henry Moore, the town's Roman past and the industries of mining, pottery and glass which helped to shape the town.
Tuesday 18th February saw the opening of our newly refurbished Café & Visitor Information Centre.
It is open from 10:00 'til 13:00 and features a new menu so why not come along.
Breakfast bites, including bacon butties and toasted teacakes
Light lunches, including freshly prepared sandwiches and home made soups
We also have a range of information leaflets about the Wakefield District and wider region.
Café opening hours: 10am – 1pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
There is free parking at the Café
Our café is run by volunteers and we are always looking for more help.
If you are interested in supporting us please contact the Castleford Heritage Trust office on 01977 556741 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday 18th also saw a delegation present a petition signed by over a thousand concerned residents to Wakefield District Council, the residents are objecting to the sighting of a proposed waste incinerator between Wheldon Road and Healdfield Road . Chair of the Trust Alison Drake commented, "I object to these plans on all counts. They would be highly detrimental and the entire town would be affected." The protesters fear the planned facility could increase pollution and cause traffic chaos. The campaigners subsequently held a public meeting about the plans at Trinity Methodist Church, Powell Street, Castleford, on Monday, February 24th.
|Concerned residents and their petition.|
|December saw two landmark events take place in our plans to
improve Queen's Mill.
On Friday the 13th Jonathan Tinsley of the Canals and River Trust handed over their history of the mill to Yvette Cooper MP. Then on Saturday the 14th the new Café and Tourist Information Centre was officially opened by Denise Jeffery the Deputy Leader of Wakefield Council.
Pictures by Rod Rayner.