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1879 - The Market Hall
The Local Board of Health decided in January 1876 that it needed to build a covered market in order to protect the people of Castleford from the unhygienic ragbag of stalls that were in use prior to that date. Lord Houghton laid the foundation stone on the 24th. of March 1879 and he also performed the opening ceremony on the 12th. of July 1880.
The report in the Pontefract and Castleford Express read:
       "The 12th. of July was a day the like of which had never before been seen in Castleford, and will be kept in view as long as the memory of the youngest of those who took part in its proceedings holds good! We refer, of course, to the proceeding attendant of the opening of the new Market Hall."       
It consisted of an arcade of sixteen shops, galleries with thirty-one side shops, extensive cellarage and eighty-nine stalls. The total cost was in excess of £11,000 and many at the time claimed that it was too large for a town the size of Castleford. Although it took a long time the shops were all finally let and in later years people were to complain that it was too small. The opening day coincided with the centenary of Sunday Schools so to celebrate the occasion, the children of the town were invited to tea in the Market Hall and were each given a souvenir mug and medal.
On the very last day of 1927 Castleford Market Hall burst into flames and was destroyed. With lightning speed the rebuilt Market Hall was opened in August 1929.
In December 1934 the market was extended to include a Fish and Meat section consisting of eighteen shops and six kiosks.
The Market Hall was to finally close on the 24th. of August 1991 and a new one, on the site of the old Allerton and Castleford Co-operative, opened its doors on the 30th. of August the same year.
I shall leave it to history to judge the wisdom of this move but in all honesty it is difficult to find anyone in Castleford who does not mourn the passing of the old Market Hall. In fact the Hall itself did not just go quietly because later in 1991 there was a fire in the tower that forced people to do something, if that something was only to make the place safe.
As of 2005 the gutted building is still standing and used as a walkway until someone decides what to do with it.
Memorial Stone
The Market Foundation Stone
Centenary Stone
The Opening And Sunday Schools Centenary Stone
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