Wakefield's City of Culture 2025 bid almost ready to be submitted as initial deadline draws near

There are just days to go until the Wakefield district officially enters its bid for the City of Culture title.

Thursday, 15th July 2021, 12:30 pm
There are just days to go until the Wakefield district officially enters its bid for the City of Culture title. Pictured is Wakefield Council leader Denise Jeffery at Pontefract Castle.
There are just days to go until the Wakefield district officially enters its bid for the City of Culture title. Pictured is Wakefield Council leader Denise Jeffery at Pontefract Castle.

Though it is today known as a home of art and sculpture, the district’s history stretches back thousands of years - and that heritage will play a key part in the submission.

Since its construction almost a thousand years ago, Pontefract Castle has played host to loyal Royalist soldiers, selfish kings, royal lovers, liquorice farmers, Victorian ladies and many more.

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Today, the castle is a place of family-friendly adventure, with wide open spaces to explore and play, and fascinating ruins to investigate.

And in 2019, work was completed on a £5m National Lottery-funded scheme which saw the installation of new pathways and restoration of areas which had not been accessible for hundreds of years, as well as brand-new family-friendly interpretation boards, a custom-designed children’s playground and the castle’s Liquorice Café.

Councillor Denise Jeffery Leader of Wakefield Council, said: “We are a district rich in culture, with a fascinating heritage.

“Pontefract Castle is just one of those sites in which our communities and visitors to the district can learn about, and celebrate our history.

“The extensive conservation work at the castle has revealed even more about this important site, which will continue to be enjoyed now and in the future.

“And we want to encourage even more people to come and visit.

“We hope our bid for City of Culture 2025 will do just that, attracting even more visitors to the castle and our other cultural and heritage sites.”

Pontefract Castle is one of the district’s biggest cultural attractions, and will no doubt play a key part in the council’s bid for the City of Culture 2025 crown.

To be in with a chance of winning, Wakefield Council will need to submit an initial Expression of Interest by Monday.

Coun Jeffery has promised that the council’s bid will represent the entire district, and resulting investment will benefit people across Wakefield and the Five Towns.

A longlist of finalists will be announced in September, and the list gradually whittled down before a winner is announced in May of next year.

Among the other cities expected to bid for the crown are Bradford, Chelmsford and Southampton.

In previous weeks, your Express has spoken to leaders of some of the district’s biggest attractions, including the Hepworth Wakefield, Production Park and the upcoming Tileyard North development.