A Little Bit About Doncaster

Doncaster is a town in South Yorkshire, England and is popularly referred to as “Donny”. In recent years, the town has undergone major regeneration including the Frenchgate Centre (formerly the Arndale Centre), the bus and rail Interchange and the development of Doncaster College (The Hub), which is currently the largest education investment of its kind in the UK.

Further development to the Lakeside area has resulted in a new Football stadium and the opening of the Lakeside Village, a major retail outlet with over 40 retail shops and restaurants.

The population of the Metropolitan Borough of Doncaster is 302,400 (according to the 2011 census records).

History of Doncaster

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. This is where Doncaster derives its name from “Don-” (Old English: Donne) and “caster” (ceaster) an Old English adaptation of the Latin word Castra, meaning a military camp or a city or walled town.

The Doncaster garrison units are listed in the Notitia Dignitatum or Register of Dignitaries, produced around the turn of the 5th. The inclusion of Doncaster in the register highlights the importance to which the Romans assigned to the town.

In more recent times, Doncaster has been famed for its train building and coal mining heritage. Doncaster was famed for building the Mallard and the Flying Scotsman steam locomotives. Its coal mining roots stem back to the early 20th century and became one of Englands largest coal mining areas.

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. A significant proportion of fresh and frozen goods for northern supermarkets are dispatched by road from Doncaster.

Doncaster Landmarks

St. George’s Minster

Built in 1858 by Sir George Gilbert Scott and boasts a clock by Dent (who made Big Ben) and a 5 manual organ by Edmund Schulze.

Brodsworth Hall

One of the most complete surviving examples of a Victorian country house in England, remaining virtually unchanged for the last 150 years.

Cusworth Hall

An 18th Century Grade 1 listed House, with superb landscaped parklands. It recently underwent a £7.5m renovation and remains popular with the people of Doncaster.

The Mansion House

Another of Doncasters Grade 1 listed building from the 18th century, located in the heart of the town and features an art gallery and local history displays.

The Frenchgate Shopping Centre

Originally called the Arndale Centre and built in 1967. The name changed in 1988 to the Frenchgate Centre – a year after it had received a £200m facelift. In 2006, the Centre opened up its link to the Bus and Train Interchange.

The Dome

The Dome provides a wide range of leisure activities for the Doncaster community. From swimming, indoor football, rock and pop concerts, to name a few. The Dome was officially opened in 1989 by HRH Diana, Princess of Wales – and the estimated cost was £26m

Doncaster Racecourse

The racecourse is one of the oldest and most famous racecourses in the world. Hosting famous Group 1 races such as the St Leger Stakes (the worlds oldest Classic Horse Race) and the Racing Post Trophy. It has made history for being the 1st racecourse to hold Sunday racing in 1992 and also was the venue for Englands first Aviation Show in 1909.

Doncaster College

Split over two centres, The Hub is the newest education establishment, built in 2006 and located just a short walk from Doncaster Town Centre. Its construction cost £65m and replaced the old Waterdale college. The University Centre Doncaster is the older education establishment and is located at High Melton, 6 miles west of Doncaster and is set in 126 acres of stunning grounds. Most of the Colleges higher education courses are based here.

Famous Doncastrians

There are so many famous people from Doncaster, it would take a page on its own to list them all – here are just a few that you may have heard of :

Douglas Bader

Famous RAF Fighter ace, who lost both legs. Brought up as a child in Sprotborugh, Doncaster.

Brian Blessed

Actor and voice over artist. Has stared in movies such as Flash Gordon, Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, Day of Wrath – Video Game Voice Overs include – Viking:Battle For Asgard, Extreme Skate Adventure Tarzan.

Jeremy Clarkson

Newspaper journalist and former TV presenter of Top Gear. His parents established the Paddington Bear (Gabrielle Designs) business in the early 1970’s.

Lesley Garrett CBE

An internationally renowned soprano singer, with a string of album releases.

Louis Tomlinson

Former member of the boy band One Direction.

James Toseland

2004 and 2007 World Superbike Champion, now retired due to a wrist injury. He is also a talented Grade 6 piano player.

John Parr

John is best known for his 1985 No.1 US hit St. Elmos Fire and has sold over 10 million albums worldwide.

Kevin Keegan

Footballer and manager – playing for teams such as Liverpool, Hamburger SV and also for England, who he later went on to manage. Other clubs he has managed are Newcastle Utd, Manchester City and Fulham.

Further details about Doncaster can be found in the Wikipedia website