The 2008 River Aire Footbridge
Castleford shown within West Yorkshire
|OS grid reference|
|Metropolitan borough||City of Wakefield|
|Metropolitan county||West Yorkshire|
|Region||Yorkshire and the Humber|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||Yorkshire and the Humber|
|UK Parliament||Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford|
Castleford is the largest of the "five towns" district in the metropolitan borough of the City of Wakefield, in West Yorkshire, England. Historically part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, it is near Pontefract, and has a population of 37,713 as estimated in late 2010, To the north the River Calder joins the River Aire and the Aire and Calder Navigation canal. To the west and south is the M62 motorway. The town is home to the rugby league Super League team Castleford Tigers.
Castleford and its surroundings have provided archaeological evidence of Roman activity.
The main influences in the long history of Castleford are depicted on its coat of arms which shows a miner's lamp hung from the collar of a Roman Eagle. The town’s origins are ancient. In the late 1st century and until 180 AD the Romans created an important settlement on the River Aire where Castleford stands today. This consisted of a civilian settlement around a military fort. It was known as Lagentium, or locally as Legioleum. Here travellers waited for the River Aire to become low enough to ford the river in order to cross it. This fort gave the town its name Castleford which comes from the Latin ‘Castrum’ meaning a camp or fort. One of the most notable Roman town centre sites is that of the Bath House on Aire Street. The settlement at Castleford continued after the Romans left until about 410 AD.
The Anglo-Saxons occupied the area and called it Casterford (ford by the fort), which evolved into the village of Castleford. Recently the skeleton of a bronze age lord together with the remains of his chariot were discovered in Castleford's Fryston] woodland. A long verse chronicle, written in Northern English, possibly written by a resident of the area, recounting the traditional history of Britain is known as "Castleford's Chronicle". Castleford also has a long tradition of flour milling. Allinson’s Stoneground flour mill, located on Aire Street, has the world’s largest capacity for stone-ground flour production. However this site has been used for milling flour since Roman times. The town we know today is a result of its expansion during the Industrial Revolution. During this period it was a boomtown; its population increased from below 1,000 to over 14,000 in just ninety years. This growth was built principally upon Castleford’s importance as a mining town. Although there had been mining in the area since the early 16th century, deep mining only commenced in 1868 with the establishment of the Wheldale pit. However it was also an important centre for the manufacture of glass, pottery and to a lesser extent these days chemicals. Today Castleford has a population of almost 40,000 and has become an major regional destination with the recent openings of the Freeport Shopping Village and the Xscape leisure complex which includes a real ski slope.
Castleford was established as an urban district, in the administrative county of the West Riding of Yorkshire in 1894 under the Local Government Act 1894, with an urban district council. Whitwood and Glasshoughton were added to the district in the 1930s. The urban district was incorporated as a municipal borough in 1955.
Following the Local Government Act 1972, the municipal borough was abolished on 1 April 1974, with its territory becoming an unparished area of the City of Wakefield, a metropolitan borough in West Yorkshire. Hence, Castleford is now ruled by Wakefield Council. Three electoral wards cover the town. These are ward 2 Airedale and Ferry Fryston (current councillors Linda Broom, Yvonne Crewe and Les Shaw), Ward 3 Altofts and Whitwood (current councillors Peter Box OBE, leader of the council, Darran Travis and Heather Hudson)and Ward 4 Castleford Central and Glasshoughton (current councillors Tony Wallis, Richard Forster and Denise Jeffery, deputy leader of the council.)
Castleford is considered to be a safe Labour seat.
The town is home to Burberry, the clothing manufacturer and retailer. The company has two factories in the UK - the one in Castleford makes the firm's signature raincoats. Nestlé has a factory on Wheldon Road making sweets such as Toffee Crisp, After Eight and Cabana, Texan, Novo, Montego and Nestlé Crunch bars (not the chocolate ones). Allinson's Queen's Mill is the world's largest traditional stonegrinding mill, since 2003 has been owned by ADM Milling Ltd. Both of these places as of 2011 have closed down and production moved elsewhere. In December 2011 Haribo, the sweet producer, applied for planning permission to build a factory and research laboratory on the site of the Pioneer building at Whitwood
Some areas of Castleford are poor and run down. In part, this is because of the closure of the collieries in the 1980s and '90s. Official male unemployment rates reached 20% in the mid-1980s. According to the Index of Multiple Deprivation 2000, Castleford Ferry Fryston ward falls today within the top 5% of most deprived wards in England. According to the Child Poverty Index, over 45% of 0-16 year olds living in Castleford are living in families claiming means tested benefits.
Despite a decline in coal mining and textile manufacturing, significant economic and employment growth has occurred in recent years in service sectors, especially in the retail and distribution sectors. This includes the Junction 32 Outlet village (formerly known as Freeport) and Xscape leisure complex, Europe's largest indoor real snow slope, which has turned the periphery of the town in to one of the most popular destinations for UK skiing and snowboarding. Such developments have taken place because of the town's motorway accessibility and rail connection to Leeds. Distribution companies include HI Group Plc, DHL and Argos Distributors Ltd.
This is just one of many economic developments in the town, including new retail and residential development, an architect-designed library and art museum and a new bus/rail transport interchange planned to be completed by 2010. Note this has been cancelled due to government cutbacks.
Castleford Library is being redeveloped, as of December 2012. The two story library building is currently closed for a part demolition and complete renovation; the project incorporates the retention of the historical Carnegie 'Free Library' facade and the creation of a third floor. The new Library will share space with a Museum, when open customers will be able to view previously unseen exhibits and make use of the latest technology. In the meantime library services are being offered from the Bridge Arts building on Sagar Street. The new Library and Museum will called Castleford Forum.
Castleford offers the nearest available shopping for residents of the new Allerton Bywater Millennium Community, to the north of the town across the River Aire. This is a development of commercial and community space and over 500 homes, some of which have been built using innovative and modern off-site manufacturing techniques. Allerton Bywater is the second development in a Millennium Community programme, which started with Greenwich Millennium Village at Greenwich Peninsula, London.
Castleford offers a range of shopping outlets such as Carlton Lanes Shopping Centre, Junction 32 Shopping Centre and a small Retail Park. Supermarkets include Morrisons (formerly Netto), Co-Operative and various freezer Shops. Castleford has a 24 hour Asda which is situated close to the Xscape complex in the suburb of Glasshoughton. There is a 24 hour self-service petrol station based at Asda.
Castleford is a rugby league town. The local team, Castleford Tigers, were relegated from the UK's top division, Super League, after the 2006 season, but were promoted back for the 2008 season, after Grand Final victory over the Widnes Vikings and are now established in the sports top flight. The Tigers play at The Jungle which was renamed the Probiz Coliseum in December 2010 due to sponsorship.
The Castleford Tigers rugby league club play in the European Super League. Castleford Tigers main rivals are Featherstone Rovers, Leeds Rhinos and Wakefield Trinity Wildcats. Castleford Tigers are set to move to a brand new stadium at Glasshoughton in 2013.
Rugby league in the town was originally represented by Castleford, who were unrelated to Castleford RUFC who did not participate in The schism in English rugby and still exist, nor were they predecessors of the current Castleford Tigers who were founded in 1926. The original Castleford rugby league club played in the Northern Union (Rugby Football League) from 1896–97 to 1905–06, and it had one player named Isaac Cole who won a cap for England in 1906 against Other Nationalities.
From June 1979 to July 1980, Castleford had its own Speedway racing team, The Kings, based at the Greyhound Stadium in Whitwood. The circuit was very short (just 202 yards) and the team never entered the league – only challenge matches were staged.
Glasshoughton Welfare play in the Northern Counties East League, Fryston Colliery Welfare used to be members of this league until they had to leave in 1991 due to ground grading problems. Back in the 1920s, Castleford Town played in the Midland League alongside clubs like Doncaster Rovers, Chesterfield, Scunthorpe United, Halifax Town, Leeds United (for 1919-20 season only), Lincoln City and Mansfield Town. This league also contained the reserve sides of Sheffield Wednesday, Barnsley, Nottingham Forest, Grimsby Town and Hull City. In 1920, Castleford reached the 2nd round of the FA Cup, losing 2-3 at Bradford Park Avenue. Castleford played at Wheldon Road, when they shut down, the ground was taken over by the rugby league team.
Castleford also has two other lower league rugby league teams, Castleford Lock Lane ARLFC and Castleford Panthers (based at Raglan Close).
Notable people 
The sculptor Henry Moore was born in Castleford, the son of a miner. He attended Half-Acres Junior and Infants School before later attending Castleford High School some of his work can be seen at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park at West Bretton.
Novelist Peter Robinson was born in Castleford
Writer and creator of Bill & Ben the flower pot men, Hilda Wright, was born and lived in Castleford.
Author Valerie Wood, was born and raised in Castleford until the age of 13.
Academic Mark Bailey, current High Master of St Paul's School, is from Castleford.
Pools winner Viv Nicholson, remembered for her "spend, spend, spend" assertion was born and still lives in the Castleford area. Her life story was published in book form, before being turned into musical which had a run in London's West End. Nicholson also appeared on the cover of Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now by The Smiths.
World famous composer, poet and actor Richard Stoker, is from the Castleford area. Stoker was Professor of Composition at the Royal Academy of Music, and also for the editor of Composer magazine for 11 years. He has also published several books of poems and short stories, as well as a children's novel.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Castleford, West Yorkshire|
- "Allinson Ltd". Wakefield Council. July 2009.
- "Castleford go-ahead: Wakefield Council approves Metro's Interchange plans". West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive. February 2007.
- "Wakefield Council Castleford Library". Wakefield MDC.
- "Library revamp gets go ahead". Pontefract & Castleford Express. October 2011.
- Rothmans Rugby League Yearbook 1995-1996. London: Headline Book Publishing. 1995. p. 164. ISBN 0-7472-7817-2.
- "International Statistics at englandrl.co.uk". englandrl. 31 December 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2012.