Kirkgate Calling

Kirkgate Calling 2014


Kirkgate Station

Kirkgate Station from ‘Drawings of Wakefield’ by Henry Clarke

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) awarded Groundwork Wakefield a grant for an 18 month project, named Kirkgate Calling, designed to enable local people to participate in learning about the historical significance of Kirkgate Railway Station and the wider Kirkgate area. Wakefield Historical Society were partners in the project with Wakefield Civic Society, The Hepworth, Chantry Chapel and Wakefield and District Housing.

The project aimed to complement the multi-million pound refurbishment of the station buildings and frontage with a programme of exciting heritage based activities.Young people and interested residents researched the stories of the Kirkgate area over the decades – developing interviewing skills and techniques to support the collection of stories of people who have used the station as a place for work, lived nearby or passed through it on journeys. Phil Judkins of Wakefield Historical Society provided training sessions for the volunteers. 

 The original Kirkgate railway station was opened by the Manchester and Leeds Railway in 1840 and was the only station in Wakefield until Westgate was opened 27 years later. The station building, an important local landmark, dates from 1854 and is grade II listed. Playing a pivotal role in the development of industrial Wakefield, the railway station was built to connect to the expanding manufacturing towns around it.

By the end of the project in November 2015, interested people had the opportunity to attend talks, learn interesting facts through the website, themed leaflets and exhibitions and engaged in dialogue between people of different generations and backgrounds to unveil and share the history of the station from its heyday in 1840 and how it contributed to the Wakefield we live in today.

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