From out of the dusty archives…
This site is not meant to provide a comprehensive start-to-finish history of Castleford. Instead, it is a series of snapshots of periods and events from various times over the past ten centuries which have shaped the town of today.
There are hundreds, possibly thousands, of documents through which the history of Castleford can be pieced together, but most are hidden away in archives, from Wakefield to London and elsewhere. In many cases it may be that these records have not seen light of day since they were deposited there, perhaps as far back as the reign of Queen Victoria.
Consequently, the purpose of this collection is, bit by bit, to bring the information and the stories contained in these records out of the storerooms and into the daylight, to make them available to anyone who has an interest in the history of the town. See the bottom of this page for the latest additions and updates.
It will not, however, include the Roman period, for this has been comprehensively written up in several widely-available books and pamphlets. Instead, the aim of this project is to present new information and, occasionally, to provide a new interpretation of existing evidence.
Castleford’s story may not contain any famous names or world-changing events but that makes it no less fascinating – and so I believe it is only right that it should be brought out of hiding, interpreted and presented in a way that anyone who wishes to do so can read and understand.
Feel free to leave comments, ask questions, make suggestions or, alternatively, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
6 January 2015: New article, Growing Pains 5, on the continuing slow progress on improving the physical condition of the town and the health of its residents in the mid 1850s.
31 December 2014: Revisions to the article Growing Pains 4: “At the least possible expense” (April 2013) including removal of some parts to appear in a forthcoming piece continuing the story.
23 November 2014: Summer hiatus over! New article on the planning and building of the York & North Midland Railway through Castleford, including an altercation between railway navvies and local miners.
31 May 2014: Pictures of the remains of a nineteenth-century bottle works and housing uncovered by archaeologists during the redevelopment of the bus station.
13 April 2014: New article on the history of the Aire & Calder Navigation at Castleford, including how the courses of the rivers and canal have been altered since the end of the seventeenth century and the effect of the Navigation on the Castleford economy.