Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
- This article is about the town of Doncaster in England. See also Doncaster, Victoria for the suburb of Melbourne, Australia.
It is located at - the site of a Roman fort which was built in the 1st century A.D. at the site of a crossing across the River Don. The Romans called this fort Danum, from which the town derives the Don part of its name; caster was from the Roman word for "fort". In Anglo-Saxon times, Doncaster is thought to have been the site of a palace of the Kings of Northumbria.
The town was rebuilt by the Normans after William I took the throne. The Normans also built a castle at nearby Conisbrough. From around the 16th century, it grew rich from the stagecoach trade. This led to horse breeding in Doncaster, which in turn led to the start of horse races there. There is evidence that horse races were held in Doncaster as far back as the early 17th century, but it is the St. Leger Stakes, first held in the 1770s, which makes the town's races famous.
Following the Industrial Revolution, the railway came to Doncaster, and the Great Northern Railway Locomotive and Carriage Building Works was established there. This was famous for building LNER 4-6-2 locomotives Mallard and the Flying Scotsman, as well as many thousands more locomotives. Today, the town remains on the main East Coast line running from London to Scotland.
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.
More recently, the town has sought to reinvent itself, primarily as a commercial and leisure centre. Its horse races remain very famous, and the town also has a men's football club, Doncaster Rovers F.C., and one of the most successful women's football clubs in the country, Doncaster Belles L.F.C. . There is also a new international airport, Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield, due to be opened in April 2005 on a former Royal Air Force station of RAF Finningley, outside Doncaster.
On March 5, 2004, Doncaster was granted Fairtrade Town status.
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