Launch of online history of liquorice industry in Pontefract

29 June 2015

A new online catalogue of hundreds of items linked to Pontefract’s historic liquorice industry has been launched, to celebrate the town’s association with the famous plant.

Liquorice has been grown in Pontefract since the Middle Ages, on sites including Pontefract Castle’s grounds where growing took place from the 1660s.

More than 1,500 artefacts connected to the liquorice industry are in Pontefract museum’s collection, but only a small selection can go on display at any one time because of limits on space.

Now an online catalogue has been created, which brings the collection together in one place, and is based on the themes of advertising, growing, manufacturing, packaging and people.

The indepth information includes photographs of items such as design and packaging for sweets in the 19th century, photos of people working in liquorice factories and the tools used to cultivate the plant.

Cllr Les Shaw, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport, at Wakefield Council said: “This new online catalogue gives a fascinating glimpse into the history of Pontefract’s liquorice industry, and it will help make the collection more accessible.

"The museum receives many requests for information from people living locally, as well as national and international enquiries, so this new catalogue is great way for more people to find out more about the town’s links to liquorice.”

The catalogue can be seen, with other museum catalogues at

Pontefract will be celebrating all things liquorice on Sunday 12 July when the Pontefract Liquorice Festival takes over the town. The unique festival offers talks about liquorice from a local expert and, of course, plenty of liquorice products to buy from stalls and shops, as well as the usual festival fun.