Pontefract’s long history of liquorice

Sir William O'Brien who is hoping to secure use of the ex-Magistrates court in Pontefract as the home of a Liquorice museum.
Sir William O'Brien who is hoping to secure use of the ex-Magistrates court in Pontefract as the home of a Liquorice museum.

Community groups are continuing their campaign for a liquorice museum in Pontefract.

Pontefract Town Centre Partnership (PTCP) has teamed up with Pontefract Groups Together to formulate plans to transform the former Pontefract Magistrates’ Court into the museum.

Members of the groups will visit a similar attraction near a Haribo factory in Uzes, South France in October.

Sir Bill O’Brien, secretary of the town centre partnership, said: “There are a lot of similarities between the towns - it has the liquorice link and a castle, so we’d like to explore the possibility of setting up a twin-town partnership.

“We have also made a bid to Wakefield Council to get the former courthouse established as a community asset.

“This would mean if anybody else was to bid for the building it would have to be for the benefit of the community.”

In June, business leaders and residents showed their support at the official launch of the plans.

Christopher Marshall, former owner of Pontefract’s Wilkinson’s liquorice works, Peter Sanders, of Tangerine and Herwig Venneken of Haribo all backed the plans.

Sir Bill said: “The support for the creation of a liquorice museum is still as strong as it has ever been.

“I would like to assure people that these plans are very much still active but these things do take time.”

Plans for the liquorice museum will also feature in a BBC Inside Out documentary about Pontefract’s liquorice history.

The programme will air on BBC One in Yorkshire on October 14 at 7.30pm.

Sir Bill said: “There is a mountain of information about liquorice in Pontefract.

“We would be foolish not to take advantage of that to draw in tourists.”