Milestone in Pontefract Castle transformation

18/07/2019, PR-9123

Pontefract Castle

The multi-million pound project to transform Pontefract Castle for visitors is scheduled for completion this week.

It was part of the £5million Key to the North work to stabilise structures, open areas not seen in hundreds of year and create an enhanced visitor experience among other things.

Cllr Jacqui Speight, Cabinet Member for Culture, Sport and Leisure, said: "This is a very exciting time for all of us who have been involved in the project. The final work to stabilise the King's Tower has been completed and the scaffold has come down, along with the compound on Castle Garth. We are delighted with the work that has been carried out by our contractor Stone Edge North East Ltd and I'm sure visitors will be impressed by what they see.

"Although the capital works are completed, the project continues with an activity programme during the summer. This is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and includes events, music, workshops and even a bread oven which is being built in the kitchen. We are also offering some sort of activity for youngsters every day of the school summer holidays.

"Pontefract Castle is an exciting place to be this summer and we hope that visitors will come along and see what we have achieved at the site."

Cllr Jacquie Speight
Cllr Jacquie Speight

Work started on site in 2015 and since then there have been major changes which will conserve the heritage for current and future generations.  These include:

  • Extensive conservation work to the monument across the site, including the removal of masses of vegetation, which has revealed much more of the castle ruins than previously.
  • Opening up of previously inaccessible areas such as the Sally Port.
  • New paths, steps and a viewing platform above the Swillington Tower.
  • A new visitor centre that includes an activity zone, museum displays, café, toilets and shop.
  • A new bandstand which is the venue for several performances this summer.
  • New interpretation across the site telling the story of Pontefract Castle.

The Key to the North project has been funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic England, Wakefield Council, the Wolfson Foundation and landfill charity EpaC.

Trevor Mitchell, Regional Director for Historic England, said: "We're proud to have supported the restoration of this major landmark, one of our great northern castles and are thrilled that the work has now been completed. The team at Pontefract has done a fantastic job, overcoming significant challenges to reach this point. Their success is clearly demonstrated by the large number of visitors who now come to enjoy this special site." 

For details of the events and activities planned at the castle please go to www.pontefractcastle.co.uk