Castleford is the largest of the "five towns" district in the metropolitan borough of the City of Wakefield, in West Yorkshire, England. It is near Pontefract, and has a population of 37,713 as estimated in late 2010, To the north the River Calder joins the River Aire and the Aire and Calder Navigation canal. To the west and south is the M62 motorway. The town is home to the rugby league Super League team Castleford Tigers.
Castleford is built on the site of a Roman army settlement that was named Lagentium or Legioleum. Funeral urns dating from the time of the Romans have been found there. The town's modern name is derived from the fort, Castle (referring to the fort) and Ford (a low crossing point through a river).
An old ariel photo of Queens Park in Castleford clearly shows two circles on the playing field area, which could be the remnants of round houses used by early Anglo Saxons. Standing over 250 feet above sea level, it is thought that the area which is Queens Park would have offered a great defensive advantage and it would also offer a clear line of sight of the Roman settlement within the town below.
Oliver Cromwell (1597–1659), had an encampment in Ferrybridge. It is reputed that his cannons faced towards Pontefract Castle from the Redhill plateau, which would have extended from Queens Park, across what is today the estate of Airedale and finishing at Hollywell Wood.
Queens Park is historically significant in so far as the land making up the park was donated by 2 local landowners the Monkton Milnes family of Fryston Hall and the Blands family of Old Kippax Park Hall in 1887. Queens Park was officially opened to the public to commemorate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897.
Pre-dating the library within the town centre Queens Park boasted of having the first library where local people could read the latest papers and loan books. Queens Park also still has its original bandstand built in 1900 by Messers McFarlane and a bowling pavilion built 1910. Over the years Queens Park has played a significant role in the social development of the area, and many major events such as Miners Rallys, Wakes Week, Home Guard manoeuvres, motorbike scrambling and more recently Galas and National Playday events have taken place there.
The periphery, the town centre and other areas have undergone refurbishment and regeneration over the last five years. Some of the improvements were featured in a television series on Channel 4, called Kevin McCloud And The Big Town Plan.
Castleford grew significantly in the 19th century, when collieries opened in Glasshoughton, Whitwood, Methley and Wheldale (1868–1987) all of which closed in the 20th century. The opening of Ferrybridge power station and Kellingley Colliery in Knottingley have kept employment in the Castleford area, whilst the many warehouses and distribution centres in Glasshoughton are a further source of employment.