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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 a historic roman settlement and is the largest of the five towns in the metropolitan borough of the City of Wakefield in West Yorkshire, England, near the M62 and has a population of 39,192. Historically part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, to the north of the town the River Calder joins the River Aire and the Aire and Calder Navigation canal. The town is home to the rugby league Super League team Castleford Tigers.
Borough of Castleford
Castleford’s history dates back to Roman times, as it is said to have been built upon a Roman army settlement. Roman funeral urns have been found in modern day Castleford, giving further evidence to this theory.
Queen’s Park in Castleford provides evidence of round houses used by the Anglo Saxons. This was a strategic area due to the views of the entire settlement. Castleford has been a part of important historical events, such as Oliver Cromwell’s local encampment in the town.
In the 19th century, Castleford became a boomtown with the population growing from 1,000 to 14,000 as collieries opened around the town. However, these collieries closed in the 20th century. The Ferrybridge Power Station and the Kellingley Colliery in nearby town Knottingley keep many of the residents of Castleford employed, as do the warehouses and distribution centres in Glasshoughton.
Castleford is home to Burberry, the famous retailer and designer label. Nestlé also has a factory here, where they make their famous chocolate bars. Castleford is still overcoming its high unemployment rate through its retailing and manufacturing factories.
Presently, Castleford has 39,192 residents, according to the 2011 census.
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.)
In recent years, Castleford has seen much economic growth through its retail and distribution centres. Today, Castleford is home to the Junction 32 outlet and Xscape Leisure Complex. This leisure complex is Europe’s largest indoor real snow slope. The outlet is located on Carrwood Road while Xscape is located on Colorado Way.
Castleford plans to have more retail and residential developments. In December 2013 a library and art museum opened in a new building. The new building is called the Forum. The towns library had been in temporary accommodation for two years while the old site was redeveloped. The existing frontage was kept, while the building further back was demolished. A new 3 floor building was then constructed.
Castleford has its fair share of chain restaurants such as Frankie & Benny’s and Nando’s, both located on Glass Houghton.
Castleford offers a range of shopping outlets such as Castleford open and indoor Markets, 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.
The town centre has a number of pubs, bars, working men's clubs. Although has declined in recent years since most of the nightlife is more focused around the Xscape complex at the turn of the millennium 3 nightclubs were situated in the town centre Mansion, Tigerfeet and Bondi Beach.
The town is home to Castleford Academy and Airedale Academy; secondary schools for children aged 11–16. The town has a small further education and higher education college, Wakefield College: Castleford Campus.
Castleford is a rugby league town. The local team, Castleford Tigers was formed in 1926, Castleford was one of the twelve founder members of Super League when the new league format was introduced in 1996. The 'Tigers' nickname and logo were introduced in 1992 and the clubs honours include 4 Challenge Cup triumphs.
Castleford Tigers have rivalry with local teams Wakefield Wildcats, Featherstone Rovers and Leeds Rhinos. The club have been based at Wheldon Road since 1927. Castleford also has two other lower league rugby league teams, Castleford Lock Lane ARLFC and Castleford Panthers.
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.
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. A Moore sculpture is on display in the new library. It has previously been on displayed outside the Civic Centre for several years.
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.
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