Doncaster

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Doncaster
Doncaster Skyline.JPEG
Doncaster is located in South Yorkshire
Doncaster
Doncaster
 Doncaster shown within South Yorkshire
Population 127,851 (2011 Census)
OS grid reference SE5702
Metropolitan borough Doncaster
Metropolitan county South Yorkshire
Region Yorkshire and the Humber
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town DONCASTER
Postcode district DN1-DN12
Dialling code 01302 (01405, 01427 & 01709 in some areas)
Police South Yorkshire
Fire South Yorkshire
Ambulance Yorkshire
EU Parliament Yorkshire and the Humber
UK Parliament __Constituency Map
Doncaster Central
Doncaster North
Don Valley
Website Doncaster Council
List of places
UK
England
Yorkshire

Coordinates: 53°30′58″N 1°07′59″W / 53.516°N 1.133°W / 53.516; -1.133

Doncaster (/ˈdɒŋkæstə/ (preferred locally), /ˈdɒŋkəstə/ or /ˈdɒŋkɑːstə/,[1]) is a town in South Yorkshire, England. Together with its surrounding suburbs and settlements, the town forms part of the Metropolitan Borough of Doncaster, which had a population of 302,400 at the 2011 census.[2][2][3] The town itself has a population of 127,851. Doncaster is about 20 miles (32 km) from Sheffield, with which it is served jointly by an international airport, Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield, based in Finningley.

History[edit]

Roman heritage[edit]

Doncaster (DANVM) positioned on the 'Alternative Route Ermine Street'

Possibly inhabited by earlier peoples, Doncaster is built on the site of a Roman fort, which was constructed in the 1st century AD at a crossing of the River Don. The commands of Antoninus Pius and Notitia Dignitatum called this fort Danum, from which the town derives the "Don-" (Old English: Donne) part of its name; "caster" (ceaster) an Old English adaptation of the Latin word Castra, meaning a military camp. The monk Nennius, in the 9th century, referred to it with the name "Caer Daun".[4] Doncaster was home to the Roman Crispinian horse garrison. The cavalry took its name from Crispus, son of Constantine the Great. Crispus, son of the Emperor, lived at Danum (Doncaster) whilst his father lived 40 miles (64 km) further north at Eboracum (York).

The Doncaster garrison units are named in the Notitia Dignitatum or Register of Dignitaries, produced around the turn of the 5th century near the end of Roman rule in Britain. This important administrative document contains the name of almost every military unit in the Roman Empire, as well as the names of their respective garrison towns. The garrison unit was originally recruited from among the tribes living near the town of Crispiana in Pannonia Superior, near Zirc in the Bakony region of western Hungary. The inclusion of Doncaster in the register demonstrates the importance which the Romans assigned to the town. The Doncaster entry is listed under the command of the Dux Britanniarum or the 'Duke of the Britons'. Doncaster provided an alternative direct land route between Lincoln and York. The main route between Lincoln and York was Ermine Street, which required parties to break into smaller units to cross the Humber Estuary in boats. As this was not always practical, the Romans considered Doncaster to be an important staging post.

The Roman road through Doncaster appears on two routes recorded in the Antonine Itinerary. The itinerary include the same section of road between Lincoln and York, and list three stations along the route between these two coloniae. Iter VII and Iter VIII is entitled "the route from York to London". The section below shows distances from Iter VIII.

The Roman road from York to Lincoln
Roman town Modern name Miles
Eboraco YORK Start
Lagecio Castleford XXI
Dano DONCASTER XVI
Ageloco Littleborough XXI
Lindo LINCOLN XIII

A route through the north Derbyshire hills was opened in the latter half of the 1st century AD, possibly by the militaristic governor Gnaeus Julius Agricola during the late 70s. The first section of the road to the Doncaster fort had probably been constructed since the early 50s.

Several areas of known intense archaeological interest have been identified in the town; many, in particular St Sepulchre Gate, remain hidden under buildings. The Roman fort is believed to have been located on the site that is now covered by St George's Minster, next to the River Don.

Early and medieval history[edit]

Map showing the boundary of the fortified Medieval township of Doncaster with four Gates

The town was an Anglo-Saxon burh, and is mentioned in the 1003 will of Wulfric Spott. Shortly after the Norman Conquest, Nigel Fossard refortified the town and constructed Conisbrough Castle. By the time of the Domesday Book, Hexthorpe was described as having a church and two mills. The historian David Hey says that these facilities represent the settlement at Doncaster. He also suggests that the street name Frenchgate indicates that Fossard invited fellow Normans to trade in the town.[5]

As the 13th century approached, Doncaster matured into a busy town; in 1194 King Richard I granted it national recognition with a town charter. Doncaster had a disastrous fire in 1204, from which it slowly recovered. At the time, buildings were built of wood, and open fireplaces were used for cooking and heating. Fire was a constant hazard.

The Norman church of St Mary Magdalene, at demolition in 1846

In 1248 a charter was granted for Doncaster Market to be held around the Church of St Mary Magdalene, built in Norman times. In the 16th century, the church was adapted for use as the town hall. It was finally demolished in 1846.[5] Some 750 years on, the market continues to operate, with its busy traders located both under cover, at the 19th-century 'Corn Exchange' building (1873)[6] and in outside stalls. The Corn Exchange was extensively rebuilt in 1994 after a major fire.

During the 14th century, numerous friars arrived in Doncaster who were known for their religious enthusiasm and preaching. In 1307 the Franciscan friars (Greyfriars) arrived, and Carmelites (Whitefriars) arrived in the middle of the 14th century. In the Mediaeval period, other major features of the town included the Hospital of St Nicholas and the leper colony of the Hospital of St James, a moot hall, grammar school, and the five-arched stone town bridge, with a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of the Bridge. By 1334 Doncaster was the wealthiest town in southern Yorkshire and the sixth most important town in Yorkshire as a whole, even boasting its own banker. By 1379 it was recovering from the Black Death, which had reduced its population to 1,500. By 1547 its population exceeded 2,000. The town was incorporated in 1461, and its first Mayor and corporation were established.[5]

Many of Doncaster's streets are named with the suffix 'gate'. The word 'gate' is derived from the old Danish word 'gata,' which meant street. During Medieval times, craftsmen or tradesmen with similar skills, tended to live in the same street. Baxter is an ancient word for baker; Baxtergate was the bakers' street. Historians believe that 'Frenchgate' may be named after French-speaking Normans who settled on this street.

The Medieval township of Doncaster is known to have been protected by earthen ramparts and ditches, with four substantial gates as entrances to the town. These gates were located at Hall Gate, St Mary's Bridge (old), St Sepulchre Gate, and Sunny Bar. Today the gates at Sunny Bar are commemorated by huge 'Boar Gates'; similarly, the entrance to St Sepulchre Gate is commemorated with white marble 'Roman Gates'. The boundary of the town principally extended from the River Don, along what is now Market Road, and Silver, Cleveland and Printing Office streets.

Because access into town was restricted, some officeholders secured charters to collect tolls. In 1605, King James I granted to William Levett of Doncaster, brother of York merchant Percival Levett, the right to levy tolls at Friar's and St Mary's bridges. Having served as mayors and aldermen of Doncaster, the Levetts probably believed they could control a monopoly. In 1618 the family began enforcing it but, by 1628, the populace revolted. Capt. Christopher Levett, Percival's son, petitioned Parliament to enforce the tolls. But Parliament disagreed, calling the tolls "a grievance to the subjects, both in creation and execution," and axed the Levett monopoly.[7] (Doncaster's Levet Road is named for this family, as are the nearby hamlets of Hooton Levitt and the largely extinct Levitt Hagg, where much of the town's early limestone was quarried.)

During the 16th and 17th centuries, the town of Doncaster continued to expand, although it suffered several outbreaks of plague between 1562 and 1606. Each time the plague struck down significant numbers of the town's population.

First English Civil War[edit]

During the campaign of the First English Civil War, King Charles I marched by Bridgnorth, Lichfield and Ashbourne to Doncaster, where on 18 August 1645 he was met by great numbers of Yorkshire gentlemen who had rallied to his cause. On 2 May 1664, Doncaster was rewarded with the title of 'Free Borough' by way of the King expressing his gratitude for Doncaster's allegiance.

12th-century Conisbrough Castle, open to the public and property of English Heritage

Doncaster has traditionally been a prosperous area. The borough was known for its rich landowners with vast estates and huge stately homes such as Brodsworth Hall, Cantley Hall, Cusworth Hall, Hickleton Hall, Nether Hall and Wheatley Hall. This wealth is evidenced in the luxurious and historic gilded 18th-century Mansion House on High Street. This land ownership developed over what is an ancient market place and large buildings were erected in the 19th century, including the Market Hall and the Corn Exchange. Perhaps the most striking building is St George's Minster (promoted from a parish church in 2004).

Doncaster was already a communications centre at this time. Doncaster sat on the Great North Road or A1, due to its strategic geographical importance and essentially Roman inheritance. This was the primary route for all traffic from London to Edinburgh and Doncaster benefited from its location.

Politics[edit]

Doncaster is represented in the House of Commons by three MPs; all three constituencies are currently held by Labour. Rosie Winterton represents Doncaster Central, Ed Miliband represents Doncaster North, and Caroline Flint represents Don Valley.

At a European level, Doncaster is part of the Yorkshire and the Humber (European Parliament constituency) constituency and is represented by six MEPs.

Doncaster is one of only twelve UK boroughs to have a directly-elected mayor, a position currently held by Labour's Ros Jones.

Geography[edit]

Doncaster is a large settlement and borough in South Yorkshire. The borough expanded dramatically in population with the development of coal mining. Closure of coal mines in the 1970s and the early 1980s caused some economic difficulties; the town then developed its service industry; the already good communication links with the rest of the UK supported this development.

The Doncaster skyline is dominated by the minster in the middle of the town. The Frenchgate Shopping Centre holds an important position in the skyline, along with the Doncaster College Hub building and Cusworth Hall. Cusworth Hall is an 18th-century Grade I listed country house in Cusworth, near Doncaster. Set in the landscaped parklands of Cusworth Park, Cusworth Hall is a good example of a Georgian country house.

Most of the old Doncaster College, the Council House and surrounding buildings have been demolished, and work has commenced to replace them with more modern facilities including a new theatre, council house and hotel which together will form the Doncaster Civic and Cultural Quarter. There are also plans for expansion onto land north of the new college (The Hub) if it gains university status.

Potteric Carr, including Potteric Carr Nature Reserve, lies to the south.

Climate[edit]

Doncaster has a maritime climate, lacking in extreme temperatures, as with the rest of the British Isles. The town lies at a low elevation in the Don valley, in the lee of the Pennines, and inland from the North sea, meaning daytime summer temperatures are no lower than parts of South East England, despite the more northerly location. The nearest weather station is RAF Finningley, now known as Robin Hood Airport, located about 5.5 miles (8.9 km) to the south-east of Doncaster town centre, and at a similar elevation.

The Doncaster area is about as far north as the 21.5c (71f) average July/August maximum temperature isotherm reaches - Indeed, the August 1990 record high of 35.5c (95.9f)[8] is the most northerly temperature above 35.0c (95.0f) in the British Isles. The nearby town of Bawtry just slightly further south still holds the UK's September monthly record high temperature of 35.6c (96.1f),[9] set in 1906. Typically, the warmest day of the year should reach 29.1c (84.4f)[10] and 12.58 days will report a daytime maximum of 25.1c (77.2f) or above.

The absolute minimum temperature stands at -13.5c,[11] set during December 1981. However, online records only relate to the period 1960-2000, so lower temperatures may have been recorded at nearby locations outside of this timeframe. According to the 1971-2000 period, 51.9 nights of the year will record an air frost on average.

Typically 106.9 days,[12] of the year will report 1mm or more of rainfall. Total annual precipitation is slightly below 560 mm (22 in),[13] comparable to the driest parts of the United Kingdom, due to Doncaster's location in the rain shadow of the Pennines.

Climate data for Finningley, elevation 17m, 1971-2000, extremes 1960-2000
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 14.5
(58.1)
17.9
(64.2)
23.6
(74.5)
22.7
(72.9)
28.4
(83.1)
32.1
(89.8)
32.2
(90)
35.5
(95.9)
27.3
(81.1)
27.7
(81.9)
18.5
(65.3)
15.5
(59.9)
35.5
(95.9)
Average high °C (°F) 6.7
(44.1)
6.8
(44.2)
9.9
(49.8)
12.2
(54)
15.9
(60.6)
18.9
(66)
21.5
(70.7)
21.1
(70)
18.1
(64.6)
13.8
(56.8)
9.6
(49.3)
7.6
(45.7)
13.5
(56.3)
Average low °C (°F) 0.8
(33.4)
0.6
(33.1)
2.3
(36.1)
3.7
(38.7)
6.2
(43.2)
9.2
(48.6)
11.4
(52.5)
11.1
(52)
9.1
(48.4)
6.2
(43.2)
3.3
(37.9)
1.8
(35.2)
5.5
(41.9)
Record low °C (°F) −13.3
(8.1)
−10.3
(13.5)
−9.3
(15.3)
−5.4
(22.3)
−3.5
(25.7)
−0.6
(30.9)
3.2
(37.8)
3.7
(38.7)
−1.1
(30)
−3.6
(25.5)
−7.5
(18.5)
−13.5
(7.7)
−13.5
(7.7)
Precipitation mm (inches) 46.25
(1.8209)
34.11
(1.3429)
44.28
(1.7433)
42.32
(1.6661)
47.55
(1.872)
54.85
(2.1594)
45.38
(1.7866)
49.38
(1.9441)
51.04
(2.0094)
46.78
(1.8417)
42.55
(1.6752)
52.55
(2.0689)
557.03
(21.9303)
Source: KNMI[14]

Economy[edit]

The High Street in Doncaster town centre

Doncaster emerged as an industrial centre in the late 18th century to 20th century . Its communication links, particularly its waterways, meant that Doncaster became extremely busy and experienced vast migration to its centre. Underneath Doncaster lies a huge natural resource by way of deep seam coal. Recently there has been an expansion in commercial and residential developments along with good transportation links with the rest of the United Kingdom.

Distribution centres[edit]

Due to its proximity to major urban centres and motorway/rail infrastructure, Doncaster has a number of major distribution centres, including the Doncaster International Railport, which dispatches goods to Europe by rail. Large warehousing and logistic capabilities for retailers such as Next, Tesco, Ikea, Amazon.com and Faberge are also sited there. The B&Q distribution centre next to the DFS UK headquarters at Redhouse A1(M) junction 38 was the largest free-standing warehouse in the UK[when?]. A significant proportion of fresh and frozen goods for northern supermarkets is dispatched by road from Doncaster.

Regeneration initiatives[edit]

On 5 March 2004, Doncaster was granted Fairtrade Town status. In recent years, its centre has undergone redevelopment including the construction of an Education City campus, currently the largest education investment of its kind in the UK. Over the last few years the Doncaster Lakeside, which is home to the Doncaster Rovers ground, has undergone modernisation. There is a lakeside village, which contains many different shops. Doncaster also has a bowling alley and a cinema (currently being enlarged) near Lakeside. One of Doncaster's most popular places is 'The Dome' which was opened in 1989, by princess Diana. It contains a state of the art swimming pool, gym and ice rink, as well as a cafe. The Frenchgate Centre, a shopping centre and transport interchange, has also been extended to connect with the railway station and bus station. Lakeside Village, a retail outlet with some 45 retail shops and restaurants is located along the A6182 duals carriageway. The Waterdale area of the town centre is currently undergoing rejuvenation, with a new theatre (known as CAST), new civic offices and a new public square already having been completed, on the site of the old Waterdale car park. Currently, the old council house and civic theatre are being demolished, and new housing is also being constructed.

Confectionery[edit]

During the 19th and 20th century a number of confectioners were based in Doncaster including Parkinson's[15] the Butterscotch inventors, Nuttalls Mintoes[16] and Murray Mints. In August 2011 Parkinson's put their 190-year-old trademark up for sale on eBay.[17] The sale was completed in 2012 to Confection by Design in Harrogate.[citation needed]

Coal and industrial expansion[edit]

Coal prompted Doncaster's exponential population growth. The waterways, River Don and Don Navigation were used to transport coal from Doncaster to the steel production centres at Rotherham, Scunthorpe and Sheffield.

In the early part of the 20th century Doncaster became one of the largest coal mining areas in the country, with the industry employing more people in the area than anything else. However, along with many other areas, a large number of mining jobs were lost in the late 1980s, and several pits closed. Today, coal mining has been all but eliminated from the area, with only a handful of collieries surviving. The demise of coal saw a cascade effect which saw the removal of many other tertiary industries. However, several companies diversified and can still be seen today.

With coal mining came secondary and tertiary industries. Large-scale glass production soon followed using coal-fired furnaces. Several specialist glass manufacturers remain to this day, such as Rockware Glass. A production facility for chemical polymers was built on Wheatley Hall Road and was the largest production facility of its type in Europe. It changed hands numerous times during its existence until DuPont closed it in the mid-1990s.

Steel foundries, rolling mills and wire mills were built close to the railways that brought steel from Rotherham and Sheffield. Bridon Ropes produces wire rope, including the ropes used at coal mines to haul coal and miners. It is claimed to be the largest wire rope manufacturing plant in Europe. Bridon has recently supplied wire rope for the Olympic Stadium for the 2012 Olympic Games.

During the First World War and Second World War, the town became involved in munitions manufacturers.

The railways and locomotive works[edit]

Main article: Doncaster Works

During the Industrial Revolution the railway came to Doncaster, and the Great Northern Railway established the Doncaster Locomotive and Carriage Building Works. The reasons for this were Doncaster's communication links, the necessity to transport coal quickly and efficiently and Doncaster's expertise in specialist metal products. An extensive housing programme was undertaken for the increased population. The Chairman of the Great Northern, anxious about the workers and their families' spiritual welfare, persuaded the directors to contribute towards the building of St James' Church, which became known as the "Plant Church". The railway also built St James' School. The Doncaster Plant became famous for building LNER 4-6-2 locomotives Mallard and the Flying Scotsman, as well as many thousands more locomotives.[18]

Today, Doncaster railway station, on the East Coast Main Line, is linked to many towns and cities across the UK such as Wakefield, Leeds, Hull, Sheffield, Manchester, Birmingham, London, York, Darlington, Newcastle upon Tyne, Berwick upon Tweed, Edinburgh, Motherwell, Glasgow, and Lincoln.

Doncaster PSB is one of the largest signalling centres on the UK network, controlling hundreds of route miles of railway. Doncaster International Railport is an important road-rail intermodal terminal.

Aviation[edit]

Main article: RAF Doncaster

In 1909 Doncaster Racecourse was chosen as the venue for an airshow, after the world's first international air display in Reims, France in 1909. Around a dozen aviators were present, the most famous being Léon Delagrange and Roger Sommer. Samuel Cody (no relation to William F.Cody) in an attempt to win a prize offered by the Daily Mail for the first British pilot in a British aeroplane to fly a circular mile signed British naturalisation papers in front of the crowd with the band playing both God Save the King and the Star Spangled Banner. Unfortunately, he crashed his aeroplane on the first day of the meeting and made no significant flights.

During World War I fighters based first from the racecourse, then a temporary airstrip near Finningley (later RAF Finningley and now Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield) and finally, in 1916, from a newly built airfield alongside the racecourse, were deployed to defend the east coast against Zeppelins. On a number of occasions fighters took off to search for the intruders but none were ever seen. The Royal Flying Corps station trained pilots for the war in France. Within months of the war ending the entire station was put up for sale and two of its three Belfast hangars, the same type of hangar that now forms the basis for the Royal Air Force Museum at Hendon, were sold to a Sheffield motor manufacturing company for storage and assembly at Finningley. The third of the hangars stayed in place, mainly housing buses, until the 1970s when it was knocked down and replaced with modern buildings.

In 1920 the Government asked local authorities to assist in the formation of a chain of airfields so the country would not lag behind other nations in the provision of civil air services. Doncaster took heed and, with expert advice from Alan Cobham, on 26 May 1934, opened its 'aviation centre'. Development of the airfield continued and on 1 July 1936 an international service was opened to Amsterdam. On 1 November 1938, after long discussions with the Air Ministry, 616 (South Yorkshire) Squadron of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force was formed. Shortly after the outbreak of war in 1939 the squadron went to its battle station and played a part in the Battle of Britain. After the departure of 616 squadron its place was taken by the formation of 271 (Transport) Squadron composed mainly of requisitioned civilian aircraft and obsolescent twin engined bombers. 616 squadron was the first Allied jet fighter squadron, equipped with the Gloster Meteor, famed for using their wingtips to throw German V-1 Flying Bombs off course. In 1944, after being equipped with American-made Douglas DC-3 "Dakotas", the squadron moved south to take part in Operation 'Overlord' and later in the airborne invasion at Arnhem where Flight Lieutenant David Lord was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross.

After the war the airfield reverted to civilian flying and finally closed in 1992.

Tractor production[edit]

Ploughing by tractor

In 1930, International Harvester (IH) started the production of agricultural implements at a factory on Wheatley Hall Road and later at another in the Carr Hill area of Doncaster. The first tractor built at the factory was a Farmall M, which came off the production line on 13 September 1949.[19] Tractors were initially built from parts shipped from the USA. The Wheatley Hall Road factory was extended after the war with a new foundry to make the heavy castings. The factory started Crawler tractor production in 1953. By 1960 the factory was making a range of tractors from scratch, designed specifically for British and European markets, and sold under the 'McCormick International' name. Assembly moved in 1965 to the Carr Hill plant. In 1983 tractor production was moved to IH's other Doncaster factory at Wheatley Hall. In 1985, International Harvester sold its agricultural division to Tenneco, Inc. which then merged the operation with its subsidiary J.I. Case to form Case IH, who continued to design and build its European tractor range in Doncaster, shutting the David Brown Ltd. tractor factory near Huddersfield. The 350,000th tractor came off the production line in 1999.

In 2000, the factory was purchased by ARGO SpA, an Italian-based agricultural equipment builder. Doncaster was the sole production site of the McCormick Tractors brand, and the factory employed around 380 people (although approximately 1,100 people are employed in the worldwide McCormick group). In December 2006 the parent company, ARGO Spa, announced that the Doncaster facility was to close in 2007 with the loss of around 325 jobs. The announcement was made only one week before Christmas. 61 years of tractor production in Doncaster came to an end in 2007 when McCormick tractor production was moved to Italy.

Transport[edit]

European[edit]

At a European continental level, Doncaster sits on the European Route E15 and is the starting point of European Route E13. The E13 connects Doncaster, Sheffield, Nottingham to London. In the United Kingdom, European route designators are not displayed on road signs. It is notable to mention that the M18 Junction 2 at Doncaster was the original intended starting point of the M1 motorway where the motorway meets the A1(M). The intended motorway design is evidenced in road maps. The M1 was extended northward to Leeds, which is why the E13 starts at Doncaster and follows the path of the M18 and the M1.

National[edit]

At a national level, Doncaster is situated on the A1(M) and M18 motorways, and is within 20 minutes of the key M1 and M62 motorways. Doncaster is also an important railway town with a station on the East Coast Main Line. The 15-mile (24 km) A1(M) motorway bypass cost £6 million and was opened by Ernest Marples in 1961. The former route is now the A638, and partly the A614 to Blyth.

Regional[edit]

Within the region, Doncaster is being recognised an important European hub with developments such as a new international airport, Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield which opened in 2005. In addition there is the well-established Doncaster International Railport facilities that link to the Channel Tunnel.

Metropolitan borough[edit]

New developments include campus facilities for Doncaster College and the Frenchgate Interchange (a unification of bus and railway stations with the Frenchgate Centre). The extension to the shopping centre and the new bus station opened on 8 June 2006, when all Doncaster bus routes started to use the station.

Culture and tourism[edit]

Doncaster Museum and Art Gallery is the town's main museum. It opened in 1964, and explores natural history, archaeology, local history, and fine and decorative art.[20] It has a major exhibit dedicated to silverware and trophies won at Doncaster Racecourse. The museum houses the Regimental Museum of the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry.

The aircraft museum Aeroventure is based on the site of the former site of RAF Doncaster at Doncaster Lakeside. The Trolleybus Museum in the nearby village of Sandtoft specialises in the preservation of trolleybuses, and claims to have the largest collection of preserved trolleybuses in Europe, with over 60 examples. Markham Grange Steam Museum, in a garden centre in the nearby village of Brodsworth, features a private collection of steam engines.

Cusworth Hall is an 18th-century Grade I listed country house in Cusworth. It is open to the public and features displays documenting the history of South Yorkshire. Doncaster Mansion House features an art gallery and displays on local history.

Theatre and cinemas[edit]

  • Cast is the new £22 million venue opened officially on Monday 2 September 2013. Cast includes a 620 seat auditorium, a flexible studio space, drama studio, dance studio, education and ancillary space, and a large foyer with a complete café.[21]
  • The Civic Theatre is a 495 seat theatre which is now closed and set to be demolished.
  • The Doncaster Little Theatre is a 99-seat community theatre which puts on their own in-house shows including a pantomime, along with 2 films a month during the day. Hire companies also use the theatre space for their own shows.
  • The town has a 7 screen multiplex Vue which is currently undergoing work to be expanded.
  • Events and concerts take place at Doncaster Racecourse and The Dome Leisure Centre.

Nightlife[edit]

The Silver Street, Cleveland Street and High Street areas have over 40 bars and clubs within a 2-3 minute walk of each other and other bars can be found on Priory Walk, Bradford Row and around the Market Place. Various restaurants serving food from around the world can also be found in the town centre, especially in the Netherhall and Copley Road areas.

Sports[edit]

Doncaster Racecourse[edit]

Main article: Doncaster Racecourse
Doncaster Racecourse Grandstand
Doncaster Racecourse


From around the 16th century, Doncaster embraced the wealthy stagecoach trade. This led to horse breeding in Doncaster, which in turn led to the start of horseraces there. The earliest important race in Doncaster's history was the Doncaster Gold Cup, first run over Cantley Common in 1766. The Doncaster Cup is the oldest continuing regulated horserace in the world.

Ten years later the racecourse moved to its present location and in 1776 Colonel Anthony St Leger founded a race in which five horses ran. This race has remained in existence and become the world's oldest classic horserace. During the First World War the racecourse was used for military purposes and substitute races were run instead at Newmarket from 1915 to 1918.

Doncaster has the distinction of both starting and ending the flat season on turf. Every September, Doncaster hosts the four-day Ladbrokes St Leger Festival. Doncaster has also taken over events whose traditional homes have closed, such as the Lincoln Cup in 1965.

More history was made at Doncaster in 1992 when it staged the first ever Sunday meeting on a British racecourse. A crowd of 23,000 turned up despite there being no betting.

Today the St Leger Stakes remains the world's oldest classic horserace and features in the horseracing calendar as the 5th and final Classic of the British flat racing season. This takes place every September on the Town Moor course.

Doncaster is a left-handed, pear-shaped track of around 1-mile 7½ furlongs which is mostly flat. There are courses for Flat racing and also for National Hunt racing.

The racecourse is no longer run by Doncaster MBC but by Arena Leisure Plc. The racecourse reopened in 2007 after undergoing massive refurbishment with the building of a new grandstand, exhibition centre, stables and bloodstock sales. It reopened partly in August 2007 for a trial run for the St Leger and fully in September, two days before the St Leger meeting. It was reopened by the Princess Royal who was presented with a box of Parkinson's Butterscotch, a traditional Doncaster sweet.

Rugby football[edit]

Founded in 1951, Doncaster RLFC (formerly known as Doncaster Dragons RLFC and Doncaster Lakers) have played consistently in rugby league's National League One and its successor the RFL Championship, with its home at the Keepmoat Stadium.

Doncaster Knights Rugby Football Club has shown success in recent years, being the most promoted club in English Rugby Union History, and competing at the top of National League One. 2008 saw the completion of the 1650 seater De Mulder – Lloyd stand at Castle Park. The creation of the new RFU Championship means that the Knights compete in the newly launched second tier of professional rugby in England.

Football[edit]

Recent leisure developments include a new community sports stadium for sports teams including the towns men's football club, Doncaster Rovers F.C., and one of the most successful women's football clubs in the country, Doncaster Rovers Belles who play at the Keepmoat Stadium. It is also the home of the British professional wrestling promotion One Pro Wrestling.

Others[edit]

Speedway racing was staged at Doncaster Greyhound Stadium in 1969 and 1970. The team was known as the Stallions and then the Dragons. The team raced in the British League Second Division.

Doncaster used to have a men's basketball team called the Doncaster Panthers. Doncaster has an American Football team called the Doncaster Mustangs, who are in Division 1 of the British American Football League.

To add, Louis Tomlinson , from world famous boy-band One Direction and a chairman and player of Doncaster Rovers F.C., was born and raised in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, England.

Twin towns[edit]

Doncaster is twinned with:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wells, John (29 January 2010). "Bessacarr". John Wells's phonetic blog. Retrieved 5 March 2010. 
  2. ^ a b "Office for National Statistics", ONS.gov.uk, web: [1]
  3. ^ "Key Figures for 2001 Census: Census Area Statistics: Area: Doncaster (Local Authority)". National Statistics Online. Office for National Statistics. 2003. Retrieved 12 October 2008. 
  4. ^ John Wainwright (1829). Yorkshire: An historical and topographical introduction. J. Blackwell. p. 1. Retrieved 1 September 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c Hey, David. Medieval South Yorkshire. Ashbourne: Landmark Pub. ISBN 1-84306-080-9. OCLC 54874386. 
  6. ^ http://public-art.shu.ac.uk/pmsa/doncaster/00000046.htm Corn Exchange Public Art (with details of construction date)
  7. ^ Collections of the Maine Historical Society, James Phinney Baxter, Maine Historical Society, Portland, 1893
  8. ^ "August 1990 maximum". Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  9. ^ "Bawtry Maximum". Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  10. ^ "Annual average maximum". Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  11. ^ "1981 Minimum". Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  12. ^ "1971-2000 Wetdays". Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  13. ^ "1971-00 Rainfall". Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  14. ^ "Climate Normals 1971–2000". KNMI. September 2011. Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  15. ^ "Official Website of Parkinson's confectionery – The confectioners. Traditional Doncaster Butterscotch, Toffee, Fudge". www.doncasterbutterscotch.com. Retrieved 23 April 2009. 
  16. ^ "Doncaster Museum". www.townfield.doncaster.sch.uk. Retrieved 23 April 2009. 
  17. ^ Parkinson's Doncaster Butterscotch - inc trademark, eBay 
  18. ^ Larkin. The Railway Workshops of Britain, 1823–1986. London: Macmillan. ISBN 0-333-39431-3. OCLC 59095511. . By August 2008, the whole Plant complex had been razed to make way for a very large housing development.
  19. ^ The Roar of Dust and Diesel A story of International Harvester Doncaster, by Mike Teanby, published by Japonica Press (2004), ISBN 1-904686-06-0
  20. ^ "places to visit in Doncaster". visitdoncaster.co.uk. 
  21. ^ "New £22m arts venue opens in Doncaster". What's On Stage. 2 September 2013. Retrieved 30 November 2013. 
  22. ^ "British towns twinned with French towns". Archant Community Media Ltd. Retrieved 11 July 2013. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Doncaster at Wikimedia Commons