Water wheel could be turning again at historic mill

Alison Drake, Castleford Heritage Trust, Coun Denise Jeffery and Coun Peter Box. Wakefield Council granted �50k to Queen's Mill transformation project.

Alison Drake, Castleford Heritage Trust, Coun Denise Jeffery and Coun Peter Box. Wakefield Council granted �50k to Queen's Mill transformation project.

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A Victorian water wheel at one of Castleford’s most important historic buildings could soon be turning again.

Castleford Heritage Trust is hoping to restore the wheel at Queen’s Mill on Aire Street as part of a transformation project.

The group was given permission to convert the former mill last year, which was occupied by Allinson’s, into a heritage centre for both tourists and local people.

And it has now secured £50k of funding from Wakefield Council to help with the refurbishment.

The community group hopes the grant will enable them to secure further funding to bring the water wheel back to life.

Council leader Coun Peter Box said: “Queen’s Mill is an iconic Castleford building and an important part of our town’s history.

“The Trust is working hard to bring Queen’s Mill back into use as a community facility and also as a cultural destination.

“We have a real opportunity to showcase our heritage to attract new visitors, businesses and jobs into our town.

“I am very proud of Castleford and am pleased that we are able to support the project to enable them to secure further funding.”

The water wheel was a 20 foot diameter piece of iron and timber Victorian engineering and turned six mill stones using water from the River Aire.

During its peak the wheel, understood to have been designed for the mill in 1884, powered the world’s largest stone-grinding flour mill.

It was the last water wheel to be taken out of industrial service and has been out of action since the 1970s.

Alison Drake, chair of the Castleford Heritage Trust said: “I am delighted that Wakefield Council is supporting Castleford’s heritage.

“The grant will help us to try and secure match funding which will enable our refurbishment plans to progress.”

Castleford Heritage Trust made an offer to purchase the mill in 2012 from the Canal and River Trust. The contacts were signed in April 2013.

Since that date the trust has opened the mill and thousands of people from the local community have visited the site to learn about its history.

The mill started making its own flour again last year, for the first time since it ceased production in 2010.

The mill transformation will create community spaces, studios, workshops, an art gallery and business, retail and catering opportunities. Work on the mill transformation is expected to be completed by 2017.

To find out more, visit www.castlefordheritagetrust.org.uk/TheMill

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