£53.69 – £96.17

Civic Voice Annual Convention in Wakefield

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Unity Works and Cedar Court Hotel



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This year the Civic Voice Annual Convention and AGM is taking place in the city of Wakefield in West Yorkshire and will be co-hosted by Wakefield Civic Society.

The Convention begins on Friday morning when there will be an opportunity to take part in workshops, hear presentations about topical issues from Civic Voice and to find out more about the city and its fascinating history through a series of talks and tours organised by the local Society. We will be based at Unity Works in Westgate, just a stone’s throw from Westgate Railway Station for our daytime activities before moving to the Cedar Court Hotel on Denby Dale Road, Wakefield, for our drinks reception and convention dinner. We will remain at Cedar Court for our Saturday programme. The hotel is approximately three miles from the city centre but is adjacent to junction 39 of the M1 motorway. We are providing coach transport to the hotel for those arriving by public transport on the Friday but taxis are readily available and relatively inexpensive.

Although other hotels are available, we are recommending that people attending the convention book overnight accommodation at Cedar Court where we have been offered a special ‘delegates’ rate of £60 for a single room and £70 for a double room for bed and breakfast. Please telephone the hotel events team(01924 276 310) Between 09.00-18.00 and quote Civic Voice Convention when booking to secure these rates. Staying at the hotel with other delegates at the Convention can increase your enjoyment and networking opportunities.

A full ticket will allow you access to a Friday evening drinks reception and dinner (Menu to be decided) If you are vegeterian please email lisa.crisp-ullah@civicvoice.org.uk with your name and dietry requirements.The full ticket will also allow you access to Saturday workshops/Talks/Tours for £53.69 inc booking fee.

Other hotels you may wish to consider for their proximity to the Convention venues are the Premier Inn Wakefield Central – located in Thornes Park approximately half-way between the city centre and Cedar Court, and the Holiday Inn Express in the city centre, just off Westgate and up from Unity Works.

Please note that the Civic Voice registration fee includes the Friday workshops and tours, a drinks reception and dinner at Cedar Court Hotel and the Saturday programme which includes a buffet lunch and teas and coffees during the day.

The City of Wakefield

Although officially created a city in 1888, Wakefield has been known as the “Merrie City” since medieval times and can trace its history much further back. There is some evidence of Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age activity in and around the area and the Romans certainly knew it but it seems likely the area was first settled by the Anglo Saxons; indeed, one possibility is that the name itself came from the name of an Anglo-Saxon settler – Waca’s field. The first written mention of the place to survive is in the Domesday Book of 1086 where it was recorded as Wachefeld.

Wakefield grew in size and derived its wealth principally from textiles, grain, quarrying, and mining. By the early 19th century it was a busy and successful market town and an inland port and became the county town for the West Riding of Yorkshire.

Today, this Cathedral city is undergoing economic regeneration and boasts new shopping centres, an internationally renowned art gallery ( The Hepworth Wakefield, named after locally born artist Dame Barbara Hepworth), and a resurgent arts and performance culture. For anyone wishing to extend their visit to Wakefield, there is much to see and do with the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, National Coal Mining Museum for England and Nostell Priory (National Trust) close by – and be sure to visit Wakefield’s Theatre Royal, Drury Lane!

Wakefield Civic Society

Wakefield Civic Society was established in 1964 and is one of the larger and most active civic societies in the region. Now based in an office at Wakefield’s fine Victorian Town Hall, the Society is chaired by Kevin Trickett who will already be known to many of our members. The Society has a lively programme of events and activities including a monthly Dining Club from which it presents its annual Restaurant of the Year Award. The Society also runs an annual Design Awards Scheme and has erected 45 blue plaques to date with more on the way. It regularly comments on planning applications, engaging in consultations with developers and Wakefield Council.

The Society is a member of Civic Voice and also YHACS, the regional association for civic societies in Yorkshire and Humber.

Friday afternoon tours, 20th October

Tour 1: An afternoon at the Hepworth Wakefield, Wakefield Waterfront

The Hepworth art gallery opened in Wakefield in 2012. Designed by architect David Chipperfield, the building is worth a visit in its own right. Dedicated to the life of Wakefield-born sculptor Dame Barbara Hepworth, the gallery stands on the bank of the River Calder and is part of Wakefield’s Waterfront, a key development area in the city’s regeneration plans.

The tour departs ride outside from Unity Works at 1.30 pm where a mini-coach will take you to the gallery with a member of Wakefield Civic Society acting as escort. At the gallery, you will have free time for the afternoon to explore the collection and perhaps have a look at some of the surrounding area on foot. There is a café at the gallery should you require refreshment during your stay.

At approximately 4.15 (time to be confirmed on the day), your mini-coach will collect you from the gallery to return first to Unity Works and, for those who require transport, to take you on to the Cedar Court Hotel for the Convention Dinner.

It will be possible for those who wish to do so to leave the gallery earlier and make their own way back to Unity Works on foot or by using the free city bus which loops around the city centre approximately every 10 minutes and picks up from outside the gallery.

Tour 2: A visit to Theatre Royal Wakefield, Drury Lane

There has been a theatre on the site of Wakefield’s Theatre Royal since 1776. Today’s building, which dates from 1894 was designed by Frank Matcham.

Your tour will be on foot – the Theatre Royal is directly opposite Unity Works – and you will be escorted to the Theatre by a member of Wakefield Civic Society. At the Theatre you will be met by a member of the Theatre’s staff who will lead a tour of the building. Access to stage areas will be dependent on rehearsals/set up activity for the evening show.

After your visit to the Theatre, you will be escorted back to Unity Works.

Tour 3: A visit to Wakefield Cathedral, City Centre

There has been a church on the site of today’s Cathedral since Saxon times. By the 12th century there was a substantial parish church here but this was largely rebuilt in the 14th century. The church became a Cathedral in 1888 with the creation of the Wakefield Diocese – and Wakefield attained its status as a city. Today, Wakefield’s skyline is dominated by the Cathedral spire, which at 247 feet is the tallest in Yorkshire.

This tour will be on foot. It is a short walk from Unity Works and you will be escorted to the Cathedral by a member of Wakefield Civic Society. At the Cathedral, you will be met by one of their own guides for a tour of the building before returning to Unity Works.

Tour 4: A visit to County Hall, Civic Quarter

Wakefield became the ‘county town’ for the West Riding of Yorkshire and the West Riding Magistrates met in the Court House on Wood Street at a time when magistrates were responsible for decisions on civil matters such as roads and bridge repairs, as well as criminal cases. In 1889, the West Riding County Council was established and commissioned the building of the County Hall which opened in 1898.

The West Riding County Council was abolished in 1974 and replaced by West Yorkshire County Council. When this too was closed in 1986, County Hall was put up for sale and purchased by Wakefield Council.

This tour will be on foot. It is a short walk from Unity Works to County Hall and you will be escorted to there by a member of Wakefield Civic Society who will then lead a tour of the inside of the building, including the Council Chamber and Committee Rooms before returning to Unity Works.

Coach Transfer to Cedar Court Hotel

For anyone without transport of their own, Wakefield Civic Society has arranged a free shuttle service by mini-coach from Unity Works to Cedar Court Hotel. This will leave from outside Unity Works for the 10-minute drive to the hotel at 4.30 pm and 5.15 pm approximately (exact times will be confirmed on the day). Places will be allocated on a first-come basis.

Taxis and private hire cars can also be booked: a private hire vehicle will cost approximately £5 to £6 for a one-way journey to the hotel.

Sunday morning tour, 22nd October

Tour 5: A Guided Walk of Wakefield’s Civic Quarter

Join Wakefield Civic Society President Kevin Trickett for a guided walking tour of Wakefield’s Civic Quarter. Meeting outside the Town Hall in Wood Street at 10.30 am, the tour will explore the history of the street and its buildings. The walk, which will be over level ground will last approximately 90 minutes.

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