Ghost tours, pies and art to celebrate Wakefield’s 130th city status anniversary

Wednesday 24th October 2018

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Their first ever historical ghost tours, a specially commissioned pie and new artwork inspired by young and old will celebrate Wakefield’s 130 years of city status.

Led by Wakefield BID (Business Improvement District) and working in partnership with key organisations, the WFD 130 campaign aims is to celebrate and reinforce Wakefield’s position as a city after it was given the status back in 1888.

Wakefield BID aims to mark the anniversary with the help of key partners including Wakefield Cathedral, Wakefield Civic Society, Wakefield College, Wakefield Council, Wakefield Express and others.

The city’s 130th year – which runs until next July – will include:

  • The city’s first ever week of historical ghost tours led by Wakefield Civic Society
  • The creation of a WFD PIE with local champion pie-makers Hofmanns
  • 88 18-year-olds and 18 88-year-olds contributing to a public-facing art project about the future of their city, the new generation inspired by the past
  • This will then form a brief for an artist to create works of art depicting a future Wakefield for exhibition in Wakefield Cathedral
  • Exhibition of old Wakefield Express stories and front pages from 1888
  • 18 art and design students from Wakefield College drawing their vision of future Wakefield

Elizabeth Murphy, Manager of Wakefield BID, said: “Too many people either don’t know or forget that Wakefield is a city – it has been for 130 years and that’s all the reason we need to shout about it. It offers us a chance to start reshaping people’s perceptions of the city centre – it’s a long-term plan, but all the ingredients of pride, passion and partnership have been thrown into the mix.

“The BID wants to be the catalyst for others to celebrate in their own way. This is a very fluid campaign with lots of moving parts, so things could change shape as we let people develop each part. But the plan is to open a door to encourage people to look at their city, challenge it, celebrate it and create things from those processes. It’s very much about everyone joining forces, bringing the public and the businesses into the mix. That’s what makes a city, that’s what makes Wakefield.”

Simon Cowling, Dean of Wakefield (Cathedral) added: “The identity of the Cathedral and the city of Wakefield which it serves have been inextricably linked for the last one hundred and thirty years. The whole Cathedral community is delighted to be working with BID and with other partners across the city to celebrate this significant anniversary. WFD 130 also gives us an exciting opportunity to show the many ways in which the Cathedral touches people’s lives in Wakefield and beyond, and to think about how the Cathedral might play its part in helping Wakefield to prosper and thrive over the next one hundred and thirty years.”

Kevin Trickett MBE, chair of Wakefield Civic Society, said: “Wakefield has a fascinating story to tell. The city retains much of its medieval street pattern and we will be retracing the steps of the countless people who have lived here in the past. By telling their stories, I hope to bring to life the history of the city, its buildings and, more importantly, the people who trod these streets before us. It’s a different approach for the Society but one which we hope will encourage people into the city centre to find out more about Wakefield’s rich heritage. What better way to learn about the story of Wakefield than by getting to know something about the characters who have helped shape the city we know today, to imagine what their lives, and sometimes, their deaths, were like?”

Nigel Hofmann, of Hofmanns, added: “We’ve been proudly flying the flag for Wakefield for several generations since 1896, so it makes perfect sense to be a part of the celebrations. We’ve already begun work on recipes and designs for what the WFD PIE will look and taste like as we want to try and capture that pride in our city – in pie form!”

Cllr Peter Box CBE, Leader of Wakefield Council, said: “Wakefield is a great city with a very interesting history. We’re proud to be involved with a range of organisations to celebrate the 130th anniversary, with a range of events which will bring the past to life, involving people of all ages, including young people. It’s a great way to tell stories about the past and to consider how we can look forward and embrace the future of our city.”

Sam Wright, Principal of Wakefield College, said: “The college has been at the very heart of education in the Wakefield district for 150 years, and a large part of what we do is to try and shape the future by educating and inspiring the next generation. The WFD 130 celebrations offer us an exciting chance to bring that to life and to be part of something that the whole city can shout proudly about.”

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