Grand opening for new £1.4m library

Coun Tony Wallis, former Coun Mark Burns-Williamson, Alison Drake ( Chair of Castleford Heritage Trust) and Dave Wilders (Chair of Friends of Castleford Library. p7876a209
Coun Tony Wallis, former Coun Mark Burns-Williamson, Alison Drake ( Chair of Castleford Heritage Trust) and Dave Wilders (Chair of Friends of Castleford Library. p7876a209

Years of campaigning will finally come to an end when the Castleford Forum opens its doors for the first time next month.

The town’s ‘first lady’ Winnie McLoughlin (pictured inset) will cut the ribbon at the new community hub, which has undergone a £1.4m transformation to include a library across two floors and a museum space.

Winifred McLoughlin

Winifred McLoughlin

Mrs McLoughlin, who was Glass Houghton councillor for 45 years, will be joined by Wakefield Council’s leader and deputy, Coun Peter Box and Coun Denise Jeffery on December 9.

Coun Box said: “The opening of the new forum is a proud day for Castleford. We have long needed a place where we could display the town’s importance in Roman times, its mining and rugby league history.

“This is a real credit now to Castleford and I hope will be well used both by local people and by visitors from further afield.”

The grand opening ends more than a decade of fighting by Friends of Castleford Library (FOCAL) and Castleford Heritage Trust for a combined library, museum and arts service.

The scheme was blighted by funding problems in the early stages, including three failed National Lottery bids.

Dave Wilders, chairman of FOCAL, said: “It’s fantastic news. It’s been a long and hard road, we formed in 1998 and one of our main aims was to work towards a new library and museum.

“It’s a great new place and we’ve got to be very proud of what we’ve got. It’s a testament to the people of Castleford and the council that we can provide a new facility for the next generation.”

There are 30,000 books in the new library, 20 computers, and free wi-fi, while the museum showcases the town’s heritage across four displays.

The temporary library at Sagar Street will close on December 4.