Doncaster: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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

Doncaster Skyline.JPEG
A view of Doncaster from the top of the Frenchgate Centre (2009)
Doncaster is located in South Yorkshire

 Doncaster shown within South Yorkshire
Population 67,977 (2001 Census)
OS grid reference SE5702
Metropolitan borough Doncaster
Metropolitan county South Yorkshire
Region Yorkshire and the Humber
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district DN1-DN12
Dialling code 01302
Police South Yorkshire
Fire South Yorkshire
Ambulance Yorkshire
EU Parliament Yorkshire and the Humber
UK Parliament __Constituency Map
Doncaster Central
Doncaster North
Don Valley
Barnsley East
Website Doncaster Council
List of places: UK • England • Yorkshire

Doncaster (pronounced /ˈdɒŋkastə/[1]) is a large town in South Yorkshire, England, and the principal settlement of the Metropolitan Borough of Doncaster. The town is located about 20 miles (32 km) from Sheffield and is popularly referred to as "Donny". Doncaster has an international airport, and in recent years its centre has undergone regeneration including the development of an Education City campus, currently the largest education investment of its kind in the UK. Doncaster has also recently extended the Frenchgate Centre, a shopping centre and transport interchange.

According to the 2001 census, the urban sub-area of Doncaster had a population of 67,977 — together with Bentley and Armthorpe it forms an urban area with a population of 127,851. The wider metropolitan borough has a population of around 286,866.[2]



Roman heritage

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

Doncaster is located at 53°31′N 1°8′W / 53.517°N 1.133°W / 53.517; -1.133 — the site of a Roman fort which was built in the 1st century AD at the site of a crossing across the River Don. The Roman empirical command of Ninius called this fort "Caer Daun". Later the commands of Antoninus Pius and Notitia called this fort Danum, from which the town derives the Don part of its name; caster a Saxon word corrupted from the Latin original Castra, meaning a military camp. 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). Much of Doncaster's Roman past remains to be discovered.

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 — among other things — the name of almost every military unit in the Roman empire, also the name of their respective garrison towns. The garrison unit was originally recruited from among the tribespeople living near the town of Crispiana in Upper Pannonia, near Zirc in the Bakony region of western Hungary. The fact that Doncaster is included, highlights the importance placed by the Romans on Doncaster. 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 meant crossing the Humber estuary in boats. For obvious reasons this was not always practical and thus Doncaster became an important staging post on the Roman map.

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

The Roman Road from York to Lincoln
Roman town Modern name Miles
Eboraco YORK Start
Lagecio Castleford XXI
Ageloco Littleborough XXI

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

Today, there are several areas of known intense archaeological interest however 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 St George's Minster next to the River Don.

Early and Medieval history

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 [Doncaster Castle. By the time of the Domesday Book, Hexthorpe was described as having a church and two mills; David Hey contends 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.[3]

As the 12th century approached, Doncaster matured into a busy town and in 1194 King Richard I granted Doncaster national recognition with a town charter. During the Middle Ages Doncaster evolved further and it was then later in 1204 that Doncaster suffered and recovered from a disastrous fire. At this time, buildings were built of wood and fire was a constant hazard.

The Norman church of St Mary Magdalene, on demolition in 1846.

In 1248, a charter was granted for Doncaster Market to be held around the Church of St Mary Magdalene, which in the 16th century became the town hall and was ultimately demolished in 1846.[3] Some 750 years on, the market still exists with its busy stalls located both outside and under cover. The market also occupies the 19th century 'Corn Exchange' building, opened in 1873[4] and extensively rebuilt in 1996 after a major fire.

During the 14th century a number of friars arrived in Doncaster who were known for their religious enthusiasm and preachings. In 1307 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 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 already recovering from the Black Death and had a population of around 1,500 people. By 1547, it had over 2,000. The town was incorporated in 1461 and its first Mayor and corporation were established.[3]

Today, 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 thereby confirming that Baxtergate was indeed the bakers' street. It is assumed 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 earthern ramparts and ditches leaving 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 also commemorated, this time with white marble 'Roman Gates'. The boundary of the town principally extended from the River Don, along what is now, Market Road, Silver Street, Cleveland Street and Printing Office Street.

Because access into town was circumscribed, 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 felt they could pull off their monopoly. In 1618 the family began enforcing it, but by 1628 the populace revolted. Capt. Christopher Levett, Percival's son, petitioned Parliament. But Parliament disagreed, calling the tolls "a grievance to the subjects, both in creation and execution," and axed the Levett monopoly.[5] (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. This was despite several outbreaks of plague from 1562 until 1606. Each time the plague struck down significant numbers of Doncaster's population.

First English Civil War

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 later rewarded with the title of 'Free Borough' by way of the King expressing his gratitude for Doncaster's allegiance.

St. George's Minster, Doncaster with a floral representation of the saint in front of it
12th century Conisbrough Castle, open to the public and property of English Heritage

Doncaster is traditionally very wealthy. The borough itself was known for its rich landowners with vast estates and huge stately homes such as Brodsworth Hall, Cantley Manor, Cusworth Hall, Hickleton Hall, Nether Hall and Wheatley Hall. This wealth is evidenced in the luxurious and historic gilded 18th century Mansion House which stands on High Street. This land ownership developed what is an ancient market place and large 19th century Market Hall and Corn Exchange buildings. 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 cashed in on its location.


Doncaster represented in the House of Commons by four MPs. Rosie Winterton of the Labour party represents Doncaster Central, Ed Milliband of the Labour party represents Doncaster North, Caroline Flint, also of Labour represents Don Valley and a fourth Labour MP, Jeff Ennis represents Barnsley East (UK Parliament constituency).

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

Locally Doncaster is one of only twelve UK cities to have a directly elected mayor, a position currently held by English Democrat Peter Davies.


Doncaster is the 15th largest population centre in the UK outside London. The borough expanded dramatically in population with the development of coal mining. Closure of coal mines in the 1970s and 1980s caused some economic difficulties, the town relied then to a greater extent on tertiary industries; 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 Center also holds an important position in the skyline, along with the Doncaster College Hub building.

Doncaster has plans to demolish the old doncaster college, the council house and surrounding buildings and replace them with more modern facilities including a new library, council house and swimming baths which together will form the Doncaster Civic and Cultural Quarter. There is also plans for expansion onto set aside land north of the new college (The Hub) if it gains university status.


Doncaster has a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. The average July–August temperature is 21 °C (70 °F) with lows of around 11 °C (52 °F). Winters are generally mild, wet and windy with average temperatures around 5–6 °C (41–43 °F).


The late 18th century to 20th century saw Doncaster emerge as an industrial centre. Its communication links, particularly its waterways, meant that Doncaster became extremely busy and saw vast migration to its centre. Underneath Doncaster lies huge natural resource by way of deep seam coal. Recently the expansion in commercial and residential developments along with good transportation links with the rest of the United Kingdom, due to the central location has led to Doncaster being one of the fastest growing towns in the UK, with the towns economy growing at an average rate of around 16% annually.[citation needed]

Distribution centres

Due to its proximity to major urban centres and motorway/rail infrastructure, Doncaster is home to a number of major distribution centres. These include an International Rail Freight Centre at Black Bank from where goods are transported to Europe by rail. Huge warehousing and logistic capabilities for retailers such as Next, Tesco, Ikea, Exel and Faberge also exist. One location in particular is the B&Q Distribution Centre next to the dfs UK headquarters at Redhouse A1(M) Junction 38 which was the largest freestanding warehouse in the UK. A significant proportion of fresh and frozen goods for Northern Supermarkets is dispatched by road from Doncaster.

On 5 March 2004, Doncaster was granted Fairtrade Town status.


During the 19th and 20th century a number of confectioners were based in Doncaster including Parkinson's[6] the Butterscotch inventors, Nuttalls Mintoes[7] and Murray Mints.

Coal and industrial expansion

It was coal that 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.

With coal mining came secondary and tertiary industries:

  • Large scale glass production soon followed using coal to fire the furnaces. Several high-quality specialist glass manufacturers remain to this day, firms such as Rockware Glass
  • A production facility for chemical polymers — hydrocarbon compounds produced from coal and oil — 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 closure (by DuPont) in the mid-1990s.
  • Steel foundries, rolling mills and wire mills were built close to the railways that brought steel from Rotherham and Sheffield.
  • British Ropes (now Bridon) produce wire rope, including the ropes used at coal mines to haul coal and miners, this is claimed to be the largest wire rope manufacturing plant in Europe. Bridon have recently supplied wire rope for the Olympic Stadium for the 2012 London games.

The railways and locomotive works

Continuing the Industrial Revolution, the railway came to Doncaster, and the Great Northern Railway Locomotive and Carriage Building Works was established there. The reasons for this were due to 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 to cater for the increase in the population. The Chairman of the Great Northern, anxious about their 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.[8]

The Flying Scotsman - An example of the many LNER A Class locomotives built in Doncaster - Seen here at Doncaster Plant.

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

Doncaster PSB is one of the largest signalling centres on the UK network, controlling hundreds of route miles of railway.

During World War I and World War II, the rail industry gave way to munitions building. 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.


In 1909 Doncaster Racecourse was chosen as the venue for an airshow, after the world's first air display in Rheims, France in 1908. All the world's leading aviators were present. Samuel F. 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 British Army Aeroplane No.1 whilst taxiing.

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 a grandly called '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 an honourable 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 should be noted as the first Allied jet fighter squadron, who were equipped with the Gloster Meteor, famed for using their wingtips for throwing German V-1 Flying Bombs off course. In 1944, after being re-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

Farmall M 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.[9] Initially, tractors were 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 mid-2007 with the loss of around 325 jobs. Much to the dismay of trade union officials and local news, the announcement was made only one week before Christmas. When the factory closed, 61 years of tractor production in Doncaster came to an end as the production of the tractors was moved to Italy. The factory closed in late 2007.


The town 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, serving 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.

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.

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, from when all Doncaster bus routes started to use the station.

Sports and leisure

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 prestigious four-day Ladbrokes St. Leger Festival, which is acclaimed as the premier sporting occasion of the autumn calendar. 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 pride of place every September on the famous 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.

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 and the announcement of the new Guinness Championship which will see the Knights compete in the newly launched second tier of professional rugby in England.

More recently, the town has sought to reinvent itself, primarily as a commercial and leisure centre.

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. Doncaster RLFC (formerly known as Doncaster Dragons RLFC and Doncaster Lakers) have played consistently in rugby league's National League One. It is also the home of the British professional wrestling promotion One Pro Wrestling.

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 also used to have a successful 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.

Notable people

Twin towns

See also


  1. ^ Wells, John (29 January 2010). "Bessacarr". John Wells's phonetic blog. Retrieved 5 March 2010. 
  2. ^ "Key Figures for 2001 Census: Census Area Statistics: Area: Doncaster (Local Authority)". National Statistics Online. Office for National Statistics. 2003. Retrieved 2008-10-12. 
  3. ^ a b c Hey, David. Medieval South Yorkshire. Ashbourne: Landmark Pub.. ISBN 1-84306-080-9. OCLC 54874386. 
  4. ^ Corn Exchange Public Art (with details of construction date)
  5. ^ Collections of the Maine Historical Society, James Phinney Baxter, Maine HIstorical Society, Portland, 1893
  6. ^ "Official Website of Parkinson's confectionery - The confectioners. Traditional Doncaster Butterscotch, Toffee, Fudge". Retrieved 2009-04-23. 
  7. ^ "Doncaster Museum". Retrieved 2009-04-23. 
  8. ^ Larkin. The Railway Workshops of Britain, 1823-1986. London: Macmillan. ISBN 0-33339-431-3. OCLC 59095511. . By the beginning of August 2008, the whole Plant complex had been demolished and flattened to make way for a very large housing estate
  9. ^ The Roar of Dust and Diesel A story of International Harvester Doncaster, by Mike Teanby, pub by Japonica press in 2004, ISBN 1-90468-606-0

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Doncaster is a large town in South Yorkshire, England. It has a wide variety of shops and boasts spacious indoor and outdoor markets.


Tourist information

The tourist information centre is located on the High Street.

Get in

By air

Doncaster is situated approximately 6 miles from Robin Hood Airport where airlines such as Thomsonfly,Ryanair and Wizzair connect Doncaster to European cities such as Warsaw and other Polish cities and Holiday destinations.

Easyjet starting to operate from DSA from April 12th 2010 serving Amsterdam, Barcelona, Prague, Palma and faro.

By train

Doncaster can be reached from most of England and part of Scotland. For more information, please see below.

  • Arriva Cross Country[2] operate trains between the south and south-west coasts, Birmingham, Newcastle and Scotland.
  • Transpennine Express operate routes from Doncaster to Manchester and Manchester Airport.

By bus

Bus services operate to Doncaster from all over South Yorkshire.

By car

There are plenty of car parks dotted around the town centre. The M18 motorway passes through the outskirts of Doncaster as does the A1 motorway which provide Doncaster with excellent links to both the M1 motorway to London and the M62 motorway to Manchester and Liverpool.

Get around

By bus There are services to all parts of Doncaster operated by 'First' Buses, simply ask for a FirstDay ticket for Doncaster and pay £4.00, this entitles you to unlimited use of the buses within Doncaster for the remainder of the day.

  • Conisborough Castle, take bus number X78 from the Doncaster Interchange and wait until you see it to get off.
  • Visit the largest leisure centre in South Yorkshire, the Doncaster Dome, offering ice skating in the UK's first split level ice rink and swimming in 'The Lagoons' [4]
  • The newly refurbished Frenchgate Shopping Centre located in the heart of the town centre. [5]
  • Lakeside Village is an outlet shopping area located located about 1 mile from junction 3, M18. You can reach the M18 from the M1, M62 or A1. It boasts over 40 stores including Next Outlet, Marks & Spencer and Cadbury's. [6]


Doncaster has a wide variety of shops, including the recently extended and refurbished Frenchgate Centre, many department stores, several large supermarkets, two indoor markets, two outdoor markets, charity shops, a large retail outlet known as the 'Lakeside Village' and much more.


Doncaster is awash with dreadful drinking establishments and is a pub crawler's dream with all the pubs within a concentrated area. Promise me one thing though when you visit Doncaster and indulge in your favourite pastime, visit possibly one of the best pubs the town has to offer, Tut 'n' Shive. Also never ever rely on Walkabout as a final destination, it so often puts a dampener on proceedings and leaves you with a bitter taste in your mouth. Probably that crappy Australian lager.

  • Danum Hotel, High Street, Doncaster, DN1 1DN, Tel: +44 1302 342261[7]
  • The Regent Hotel, Regent Square, Doncaster, DN1 2DS, Tel: +44 1302 364180[8]
  • The Grand St Leger Hotel, Bennetthorpe, Doncaster, DN2 6AX, Tel: +44 1302 329865[9]

Premier Inn, Travelodge and Holiday Inn Express have hotels in the Doncaster area, all within easy reach of the town centre.

  • Capio Park Hill
  • Tickhill Road Hospital
  • St. Catherines Hospital

Get out

Sheffield can be reached in under 20 minutes on the fastest trains.

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

DONCASTER, a market-town and municipal borough in the Doncaster parliamentary division of the West Riding of Yorkshire, England, 156 m. N. by W. from London. Pop. (1901) 28,932. It lies in a flat plain on the river Don, with slight hills rising westward. It is an important station on the Great Northern railway, whose principal locomotive and carriage works are here, and it is also served by the North Eastern, Great Eastern, Great Central, Lancashire & Yorkshire, and Midland railways. The Don affords intercommunication with Goole and the Humber. The parish church of St George, occupying the site of an older structure of the same name, destroyed by fire in 1853, was finished in 1858 under the direction of Sir G. G. Scott. It is a fine cruciform structure of Decorated character, with a central tower 170 ft. high, and contains a particularly fine organ. St James's church was erected, under the same architect and Lord Grimthorpe, by the Great Northern railway company. Other important buildings are the town hall, mansion house, free library and art school, corn exchange and markets. The grammar school was founded in 1553 and reorganized in 1862. Doncaster race-meetings are widely famous. The racecourse lies i m. S.E. of the town. The old course is i m. 7 fur. 70 yds. in length, and the Sandall course of i m. was added in 1892. The grand stand was erected in 17 77, but there are several additional stands. Races have long been held at Doncaster, and there was a stand on the course before the year 1615. The St Leger takes its name from Lieut.-General St Leger, who originated the race in 1776; but it was not so named till 1778. The meetings are held in the second week of September. A system of electric tramways connects the town with its principal suburbs. The agricultural trade is extensive, and there are iron, brass and agricultural machine works. Doncaster lies on the outskirts of a populous district extending up the valley of the Don. Two miles S.W. is the urban district of Balby-with-Hexthorpe (pop. 6781); and 7 m. S. is that of Tickhill, where there are remains of a Norman castle. Wheatley (3579) lies 2 m. N.E. The borough of Doncaster is under a mayor, six aldermen and eighteen councillors. Area, 1695 acres.


There was a Roman station here, and numerous remains of the Roman period have been found. In the reign of Edward the Confessor, Doncaster, as a berewic of the manor of Hexthorp, belonged to Earl Tostig; but before 1086 it had been granted to Robert, earl of Mortain, whose successor William was attainted for treason in the time of Henry I. The overlordship then fell to the crown, and the families of Frossard, Mauley and Salvin successively held the manor as underlords. Doncaster was evidently a borough held of the crown for a fee farm rent before 11 9 4, when Richard I. granted and confirmed to the burgesses their soke and town to hold by the ancient rent and by twentyfive marks yearly. The town was incorporated in 1467 by Edward IV., who granted a gild merchant and appointed that the town should be governed by a mayor and two serjeants-at-mace elected every year by the burgesses. Henry VII., while confirming this charter in 1505, granted further that the burgesses should hold their town and soke with all the manors in the soke on payment of a fee farm. He also by another charter in 1508 confirmed letters patent granted by Peter de Mauley in 1341, by which the latter renounced to the inhabitants of Doncaster all the manorial claims which he had upon them, with the "pernicious customs" which his ancestors claimed from bakers, brewers, butchers, fishers and wind-fallen trees. In 1623 Ralph Salvin tried to regain the manor of Doncaster from the mayor and burgesses, who, fearing that the case would go against them, agreed to pay about £3000, in return for which he gave up his claim to all the manors in the soke. Charles II. in 1664 gave the town a new charter, granting that it should be governed by a mayor, twelve aldermen and twenty-four capital burgesses, but since this was not enrolled and was therefore of no effect the burgesses obtained another charter from James II. in 1684 by which the town was governed until the Municipal Corporation Act. In 1200 a fair at Doncaster on the vigil and day of St James the Apostle was confirmed to Robert de Turnham, who held the manor in right of his wife, with the addition of an extra day, for which he had to give the king two palfreys worth loos. each. By the charter of 1194 the burgesses received licence to hold a fair on the vigil, feast and morrow of the Annunciation, and this with the fair on St James's day was confirmed to them by Henry VII. in 1505. The fairs and markets are still held under these charters.

See Victoria County History, Yorkshire; Edward Miller, The History and Antiquities of Doncaster (1828-1831); Calendar to the Records of the Borough of Doncaster, published by the Corporation.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

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Proper noun


  1. A town in Yorkshire, England


Simple English

Doncaster is a very large town in the North of England. It is in a Metropolitan County (an area of dense population) called South Yorkshire.

Doncaster is the second largest town in the United Kingdom and is larger and has more residents than many cities. Doncaster has fought to become a City for many years but has failed to achieve this title. Many believe this is due to the closeness to other very large Cities such as Sheffield and Leeds whose influence may partially extend over Doncaster.

Doncaster is an ancient town that developed from a Roman Fort called DANVM - modern spelling 'Danum' - pronounced (Da'-num)- and was built on a Roman road that linked London to York called 'Ermine Street'. The fort was built where Doncaster Minster now stands.

Later Doncaster developed into a Medieval township with a fortified boundary and historic gates. The location of the gates can still be seen in the town today. Doncaster also has a historic market that has existed for over 750 years!

As the Centuries passed Doncaster became an important staging post on the route between London and Edinburgh. An ancient road called the 'Great North Road' passed straight through the very centre of Doncaster and the Town grew around and along this road.

When railways were invented Doncaster became an important stop for trains travelling between Scotland and London and still does today. A very big factory for making trains was built in Doncaster.

Doncaster is famous for Horse Racing. Doncaster is one of the oldest Racecourses in the world and hosts two famous horse races - The Doncaster Cup which is the oldest Horse Race in the World - and the St Leger Stakes which is the oldest classic Horse Race in the world. There has been Horse racing in Doncaster for over 500 years. The horse racing started because of the horses that used to pull horse drawn coaches on the 'Great North Road;.

Doncaster is also famous for Steam Trains. Some of the finest and fastest steam trains in the world were built in Doncaster. These trains include 'The Flying Scotsman', 'The Mallard' and 'The Sir Nigel Gresley'.

Doncaster was one of the first places in the Country that made aeroplanes and had an airport. The first airshow in the country was held in Doncaster in 1908.

Doncaster has an International Airport which was opened in 2005. The Airport is growing very fast and lots of people from across the region and across Europe now use Doncaster as a popular destination - which is something that people have already been doing for the last 2000 years.

Doncaster is also the name of a suburb in eastern Melbourne, Australia. The suburb was no doubt named after the town in England and is home to two excellent state primary schools: Doncaster Gardens Primary School and Doncaster Primary School.

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