FOCAL Logo. Friends of Castleford Library.

Castleford Forum Project

Castleford Forum

A brief overview of a project.

The Friends Of Castleford Library from its conception in 1998 recognised that the town's library and small museum were totally unacceptable for modern-day users. On formation we made it one of our aims to work tirelessly towards building a new library and museum.

The idea of a new library was not a new one, it had been recognised there was need for one in the 1940s. The council had relatively little or no money to build one without a commercial partner. In 2000 the alliances of FOCAL, the newly formed Castleford Heritage Group, and the Castleford Town Centre Partnership pushed forward for modern facilities. They attained funds to write an independent strategy plan for such a new library/museum or heritage centre.

It was at this point the local council joined the three groups to develop such a building. The project was also given a new name by the townspeople - 'Castleford Forum'. Some 2000 years ago Castleford was an important Roman station. The Roman word forum, a place to meet and gather, reconnects the town's past and lends itself to a new centre of learning.

The project was put out to consultation and a RIBA (Royal Institute of Architects) competition took place to select an architect. Over the next few years plans and designs were worked up along with applications to national funding bodies. Unfortunately none were successful.

Due to national changes in government and funding the best way to move forward in 2010 was to deliver a new but somewhat smaller scale library/museum. The new project was to redevelop the original library site in Carlton Street with council funding.

We are pleased to say that after all the hard work of the local people of Castleford a project that was a concept in 2000 finally came to fruition in December 2013.

The Castleford Forum consists of the old Carnegie Library and three new floors of library and museum, built at the rear.

Check out our gallery of photographs of the project.

D. Wilders (chairperson)

Pontefract and Castleford Express articles:
21 October 2011 Library revamp gets go-ahead
6 March 2012 Work starts after library's 13-year fight