Free event Family friendly


Explore the fascinating history of female entrepreneurs in Pontefract in Ladies who Launch, Pontefract Museum‘s new interactive and immersive exhibition.

Get hands on and try some of the trades from past and present. Step back in time to sample the sights and scents of Victorian Pontefract. Discover the local women leading businesses in sometimes surprising industries. Celebrate the success stories of today’s inspirational businesswomen – from indulgent skincare and beautiful bouquets to therapeutic yoga and exhilarating events.

Tell us about the amazing women in your lives with the comment wall!

Victorian businesswomen

There were more women running businesses in Victorian Britain than there are today. Pontefract had its fair share of female entrepreneurs!

Research by museum volunteers uncovered women working in everything from laundry and upholstery to watchmaking and ironmongery.

The museum team have recreated scenes from their businesses using amazing objects from the Wakefield Museums & Castles collection.

Step back in time

Find out more about the women’s stories and get hands on trying some of the trades for yourself!

Experiment with clockwork at the watchmaker’s bench. Choose a fabric for the upholstress. Browse the drawers and shelves of Ann England’s ironmongers.

Today’s inspirational businesswomen

Back in the 21st century, meet the women continuing the proud local tradition. Ladies Who Launch also celebrates contemporary success stories and we invited leading local businesswomen to share their experiences.

Find out how two sisters in law gave up their day jobs to launch their events business, Yonder, and bring fun, food and dancing to Pontefract.

Hear how florists, Karen and Michelle followed in family footsteps.

Discover how friends Hollie and Lorna grew their organic skincare brand from a tiny kitchen to a full-size workshop.

Marvel at local yoga instructor Emma’s expertise!

Tell us about the incredible women in your life

Pontefract Museum want to hear all about the inspirational women in your life too!

Nominate your local heroines and add them to the wall of fame.

Venue opening hours

Monday : 10:00 am - 4:30 pm

Tuesday : 10:00 am - 4:30 pm

Wednesday : 10:00 am - 4:30 pm

Thursday : 10:00 am - 4:30 pm

Friday : 10:00 am - 4:30 pm

Saturday : 10:30 am - 4:30 pm

Sunday : Closed

    Access facilities

  • Accessible Car Parking
  • Accessible Toilet
  • Assistance Dogs Welcome
  • Baby Changing Facilities
  • Wheelchair Accessible

Venue Details

Find us at

5 Salter Row, Pontefract, WF8 1BA