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Saturday, 13 May 2017

Culture, canals and Castleford.

We have created a spare day so we decided to take advantage and go and visit The Hepworth, Wakefield, which is just 10 minutes from our mooring.

Next door to the green next to the new Hepworth Gallery is an Rutland Mill which is an old integrated worsted spinning mill that was built between 1872 and 1875. These coloured brick voussoirs really stand out!

The corbelling on the roof line is also outstanding. It is Grade II Listed, and it looks as though The Hepworth may have taken some of the space, but it would be a real shame if these buildings were not adapted to add to the office/shop/apartment area that is now developing on the island between the river and canal.

Just by the bridge over the river Calder to the Hepworth is Wakefield Wharf where this is suspended from a crane.

The Hepworth Wakefield was designed by David Chipperfield and made of coloured concrete to mimic the industrial buildings of the river front site. It was opened in 2011 and cost £35 million.

I wasn't sure what to expect the interior to be like from the appearance of the exterior, but I was pleasantly surprised. The galleries are on the upper floor and they seem to give a good light with areas of shade etc. In the foreground is The Wandering Palm by Eva Rothschild. 

Barbara Hepworth was born in Wakefield and said that it was the years in Yorkshire that gave her ideas freom the landscape etc throughout her career. The above picture is part of the Hepwroth Family Gift to the Gallery and includes the contents of her workshop and tools and working models. In the background is the full size working model of the commission for John Lewis's Oxford Street store.

I include this as I liked it. It is by F.E. Mc.William and is the Kneeling Figure from 1947. It is concrete and apparently he left out the torso in most of his art work!

There was an exhibition of some of the well known War Artists from WWII. This one is by Henry Moore. He drew on the home front and this is people asleep down the tube shelters. There was another exhibition of Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore's works that are held in Wakefield's collection. Henry Moore was born in Castleford.

This also an exhibition called Disobedient Bodies and I was taken by the steel head by Naum Gabo. He made a small version of this in 1916 but upscaled it in 1964. He liked to take the four planes and use them to sweep out a volume, or 'solid'. We had a bite to eat and then had a 30 min opera by the Northern Opera Group called the 'Wandering Scholar' by Gustav Holtz, just to round off our culture for the day.

The boat was being protected by an Heron when we got back to our mooring.

Despite it being about 1330 we decided to move on and soon were ready and made our way to Fall Ing Lock. This marks the end of the Calder and Hebble and the start of the Aire and Calder. It is a big lock and very heavy gates. Helen just about managed on her own.

This is a view down Broadreach, which was opened in 1839 and cut the distance by water between Wakefield and Castleford in half, from the flood lock, through Harrison's Bridge, Ramsden's Swing Bridge nad to Stanley Ferry Arched bridge and road bridge beyond. That is getting on for a mile and a half.

There are a few of this type of classical buildings near Stanley Ferry and they remind me of the bridge houses on the Sharpness Canal.

Helen taking things casually now that she has left lock beams and gears behind and can concentrate on a button finger at the first of these automated locks at Birkwood Lock.

Just after Kings Road Lock, that always seems to be windy when ever we have been this way, is the old Foxholes lock. This penned down to the river and an old canal cut that led to Stanley where the Aire and Calder Co. had a workshop.

Woodnook Lock looks massive from this view point, and we have finally left the cut and are down on the River Calder once again. I loved the vegetation growing on the lock skirt walls. We filled up with water before dropping down to the river.

There are two railway aqueducts on this stretch to Methley Bridge. Stephenson's Bridge behind us is still in use and carries the railway from Castleford to Leeds. This one is redundant and was the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway between Pontefract and Leeds.

Here we are at the confluence of the River Calder, that we have accompanied right from the start at the summit of the Rochdale Canal, with the River Aire, which enters from stage left and flows over a weir to the right. Straight ahead is the flood lock at Castleton. I magine a very long loaded gravel boat trying to get in or out of it with a good bit of fresh coming down! Today there was no problem and we moored up through the Barnsdale Road Bridge. You never know I may get to the Junction for a pint later.


  1. Hi. You're really quite close to us here.
    If you're about next weekend let us know.

    1. Hi Sue, I thought you were swimming the channel or something! We have just got back from a walk round Fairburn Ings and our plan is to travel to Pollington tomorrow, (Near Greak Heck, Eggborough. We are here tonight at Castleford if you fancy a pint tonight at the 'Junction' or at the brewery tap in Pollington.