Special open day to mark 220 years since Castleford Corn Riot

Date:4th March 2014. Picture James Hardisty (JH1002/74b). Queens Mill, Aire Street, Castleford.

Date:4th March 2014. Picture James Hardisty (JH1002/74b). Queens Mill, Aire Street, Castleford.

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A mob of starving people hijacked a boat carrying corn as it made its way through Castleford.

The group, desperate for food , mounted the boat armed with pikes and scythes and began to unload the wheat and food.

Alison Drake.

Alison Drake.

The next morning a riot broke out between soldiers and civilians as they fought for the possession of the boat and the food.

Now, 220 years on, Castleford Heritage Trust will hold a special open day on Sunday to mark the anniversary.

The riot broke out near the site of Queen’s Mill and as part of the anniversary the Commoners Choir will sail on the River Aire from Leeds to the mill and perform a short concert.

Alison Drake, chairwoman of Castleford Heritage Trust, said: “I think this will be a very special event because it is not just an open day, it is a commemoration of 220 years of our history.

“It is not all about history though. The sad fact is that we are still getting people who are hungry in the town today and it’s important we think about that.”

The event will start at around 10am and the choir will arrive at around 2pm before performing a concert at the mill.

People will also be able to sample bread baked using the mill’s flour and are also encouraged to bring food for the town’s Trinity Mission food bank.

Mrs Drake said: “We’ll also be running guided tours of the mill so people will be able to see the transformation of the mill for themselves.

“People will be able to look at the work we’ve done to unearth the archaeological wheels too.”

David Pickersgill, town historian, will give a talk on the 1795 riot before the choir perform at around 2.30pm.

The mill’s cafe and tearooms will be open throughout the event from 10am until 5pm.

For more information on the event or the work being done to transform the mill into an arts and culture musuem visit Castleford Heritage Trust’s website at www.castlefordheritagetrust.org.uk