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Henry Moore's gift to Castleford

With the season of gift giving upon us once again, this month's story looks back to the gift Henry Moore gave to the people of Castleford.

In the summer of 1980 Henry Moore unveiled the working model sized version of his sculpture Draped Reclining Figure which he had given to his hometown of Castleford, Yorkshire.

Moore was born in Castleford in 1898, and attended Castleford High School after winning a scholarship. Although he spent most of his adult life away from the town, Moore always looked back with fond affection to his happy family life and childhood; especially as it was there, upon hearing a lesson on the subject of Michaelangelo at Sunday School, he first set his mind upon becoming a sculptor.

Although Moore first began discussing the gift as early as 1976, it wasn't until changes were made to the Civic Centre in 1979 that Moore felt there was a suitable site for an outdoor sculpture to be placed in the town.

Moore had been unwell, and unable to travel abroad to visit other sculpture sites, but he made the trip to Yorkshire to personally unveil the sculpture. During the hours prior to the formal civic ceremony, Moore checked upon the condition of his recently sited sculpture, and spent time chatting to several local children who were interested in what was going on.

The sculpture remained on display outside of the Civic Centre until 2012, when, due to concerns over the increasing incidents of metal theft and vandalism, it was relocated to its current site within the Castleford Forum Library and Museum.

This autumn/winter artist Des Hughes will examine the story of Moore's gift to Castleford and the subsequent exhibition of children's work inspired by the sculpture in an exhibition entitled Stretch Out and Wait.

Hughes will be unveiling two of his own works, one in Castleford and another at the site of the exhibition, The Hepworth Wakefield.