Doncaster Today as of 1960

Doncaster Today as of 1960

I love reading old books that talk about what Doncaster was like during a given era, the following passage is taken from the official town guide from 1960.

General Information

  • Population – 84,610
  • Area – 8,371 acres
  • Rateable value – £1,275,280
  • Rates in the £ – 22s 6d
  • Number of houses and flats in corporation schemes – 8,836

In the middle of the last century the face of Doncaster began to change, for the coming of the railway in 1848, followed by the former Great Northern Railway plant and carriage works in 1853, transformed an agricultural and market town to a semi-industrial one.  Other industries soon followed and, later, coal-pits,- amongst the finest for production in the world – began to be sunk in the immediate neighbourhood. By the 1914-18 war the South Yorkshire coalfield was well established and today Doncaster is surrounded by large mining villages, some of which are set out in the best town-planning standards. Some adjoin the County Borough, and those of Armthorpe, Edlington and Rossington, the now industrialised Barnby-Dun-with-Kirk-Sandall, with the Urban Districts of Adwick-le-street and Bentley-with-Arksey, help to bring the population within ten miles of the town centre to approximately 320,000.

The shopping and business potential of the town is therefore apparent. For shops and stores Doncaster can compare with many of its larger neighbours, and its markets are noted throughout the North.

The quick growth of the town since the early part of the century is partly due to this and also to the fact that in 1923 the Corporation inaugurated an industrial development scheme which has attracted various new industries. This scheme provided land for factories adjacent to the then Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation Company’s waterway, with road and railway adjoining, and has enabled these industries to be established and operated on the edge of the town in pleasant surroundings. The variety of manufacturers together with the nearby coalfields, combine to make Doncaster one of the most prosperous towns in the North of England. For the last century the town has been noted for its confectionary and it is still a thriving industry.

The Corporation has played a big part in this development, and street improvements, schools, colleges, housing, water, gas and electricity, together with open spaces, recreation grounds, hospitals, health services and clinics, with other services necessary to the well-being of the community, have been provided in full measure.

In November, 1959, St. Mary’s Bridge was opened and named by H.R.H. the Princess Royal. This new bridge forms the northern exit from the County Borough, and replaces a bridge opened in 1899. Former bridges were known as the Mill Bridge, on account of the former Corporation water-driven manorial Corn Mills immediately adjacent, but there is evidence that stone bridges had existed from Norman times. The road approaching was known in olden times as St. Mary’s Gate and on the mediaeval bridge there was a Chantry Chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary, from which the bridge was known.

In education much progress has been made and many developments have taken place since the war. The ever-increasing school population has necessitated the building of many new schools and older schools have been adapted to modern requirements. The new housing estates have primary and secondary schools. Playing fields are provided with these new schools, and for the benefit of the older schools there are extensive playing fields situated near the centre of the town. There is still a substantial schools building programme ahead, the quality of which will rank with the best in the country.

The Grammar School, founded in the 14th century, is at present housed in a building designed by Sir Gilbert Scott in 1864; in 1938 considerable additions were made. The school has a fine hall, swimming baths and adjoining playing fields. The old school hall is now used as the school library.

The High School for Girls is situated near the new Civic Centre.

There are two Technical High Schools, one for girls, and one for boys in excellent premises.

A Special School for educationally sub-normal children has been established at Rossington Hall, six miles south of the town.

The Doncaster Technical College, at present situated in St. George Gate, is being replaced over a number of years by new buildings at the Civic Centre site in Waterdale. The new buildings now provide for the Electrical Engineering, Building and Pure Science, Household Science, Commerce and Music departments. There are over 6000 students and classes, in addition to those departments already mentioned, in Mechanical Engineering, Automobile Engineering, Mining, Modern Languages, Drama, Works Management, Trade Courses and preparation for University examinations.

The School of Art has approximately 500 students and will, in time, be replaced by new buildings. The present school is situated in Dockin Hill Road.

Part time activities are catered for in evening institutes, Education Centres, Community Centres, and Youth Clubs. The Youth Employment Service is available for advice and information for young people up to the age of 18.

A Training College for Teachers has been established at High Melton Hall near Doncaster; where there are at present 215 students. The College will be further extended.

The Arts Centre, maintained by the Education Committee, caters for Drama and Films.

The Central Public Library in St. George Gate was erected in 1889 in commemoration of Queen Victoria’s Jubilee. It comprises Lending and Reference Libraries, Reading Rooms, and a separate Children’s Library. Branch Libraries are situated at Balby (High Road), Wheatley (Parkway South), Intake (Community Centre), Hexthorpe (Community Centre), Cantley (Everingham Road), and Bessacarr (Infants’ School). There is also a Schools Libraries Service supplying books to upwards of 40 school departments. Membership of the Yorkshire Regional Library System, in which the Libraries act as a sub-zonal centre, places the Library resources of the whole country at the service of the student and the specialist reader.

At the Museum and Art Gallery, Waterdale, works of art are displayed in the local collection, and from time to time exhibitions of paintings, sculptures, etchings, and photographs from other collections and from local societies are held. In the Museum there are many exhibits well worth inspection. The history of the town and neighbourhood is set out from prehistoric times and the Roman collection is particularly strong. A comprehensive collection of birds, mammals, and insects, particularly local, is shown. A miniature Zoo in connection with the Museum was established in 1955. Plans are now completed for a projected new Museum and Art Gallery, which is scheduled to start this year (1960). The former delightful gardens and grotto behind the Museum have now disappeared to make way for the new College of Further Education.

Reference has already been made to Doncaster’s Markets, which are amongst the largest and finest in the country. There is a Market Hall with up to date shops and stands, a covered Fish and General market, a large covered miscellaneous and dry-goods market, an open market with its colourful stalls, and a Cattle Market. The Cattle Market is being reconstructed on the adjoining Dockin Hill and new sheep, pig, and poultry markets have been opened. On completion, the livestock markets will be the most up-to-date in the country. In addition, there is a Corn Exchange, one of the town’s largest buildings, which was erected in 1873, and is still used on Saturdays for its original purpose. It is also the venue for boxing, wrestling, and other sporting events, and for concerts and meetings. During the day it is used as a Municipal Restaurant. The Abattoirs, Meat Stores, and Cold Stores are also part of the market undertaking. There are Pleasure Fairs at various times of the year, the chief one being during September Race Week.

Market days are on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, and large crowds of shoppers are drawn into the town on these days from the suburbs and surrounding districts.

Doncaster is fortunate in its Parks and Open Spaces, which are being added to from time to time. The principal Parks and Gardens are:

  • Elmfield Park – of 23 acres comprising rose gardens, bowling greens (3), putting green, hard tennis courts (8), floral features, and children’s playground.
  • Westfield Park – in which there are bowling greens (2), hard tennis courts (3), putting green, and children’s playground.
  • Sandall Park – of 53 acres, with a cafe, boating lake, golf course (9 hole), putting green, football pitches (4), children’s playground, and a car park.
  • Grove Gardens – a delightful little park with bowling and putting greens and two hard tennis courts.
  • Hexthorpe Flatts – a popular resort of 28 acres, in which is situated The Dell, a well known beauty spot, with band-stand, bowling greens (2), hard tennis courts (6), putting green, and children’s playground.
  • Cantley Park – now in course of development, which will provide ample recreation facilities for the Cantley neighbourhood unit.
  • Haslam Park – a small park at Bessacarr, which includes a bowling green, hard tennis courts, and children’s playground.
  • Sandall Beat Wood Playing Fields – with ten football pitches, three hockey pitches, and three cricket squares, with modern pavilion accommodation.

There are also numerous ornamental gardens maintained by the Corporation in various parts of the town, including Regent Square, whilst other open spaces include Sandall Beat Wood, the Race Common, and the Town Fields.

As a result of the rapid growth of the town, housing became the first importance and the number of houses erected by the Corporation placed the town well in the forefront of the whole of the country. Since the end of the war, in 1946, nearly 5000 houses and flats have been constructed, bringing the total number owned by the Corporation to approximately 8900. There are large, well-laid-out estates at Intake, Weston Road, Woodfield, Warmsworth Road, Wheatley Park, Clay Lane, and Cantley; the latter estate, when fully completed, will be the largest with 3200 houses. Transport services, shopping centres, with community centres and schools have already been provided and in some cases existing woodland have been incorporated in the lay-out. The Corporation have also provided land for private builders, the Hills Lane Estate being a recent example of this co-operation.

Municipal Departments.

  • Town Clerk’s Office – 1 Priory Place (Tel. 4051)
  • Borough Treasurer’s Office (including rates and local taxation office) – (53-54 Hall Gate (Tel. 4041)
  • Borough Surveyor’s Office (Including works dept.) – 2 Priory Place (Tel. 4051)
  • Town Planning Department – Pells Close (Tel. 4051)
  • Allotments Department – Old Exchange Brewery, Cleveland Street (Tel. 4051)
  • Building Inspector’s Office – Old Exchange Brewery, Cleveland Street (Tel. 4051)
  • Borough Architect’s Office – 15 South Parade (Tel. 2404)
  • Housing Manager – 15 South Parade (Tel. 2404)
  • Medical Officer of Health – Wood Street (Tel. 2447)
  • Chief Public Health Inspector – Wood Street (Tel. 2447)
  • Chief Education Officer – Whitaker Street (Tel. 49211)
  • Police Department – The Guildhall, Frenchgate (Tel. 2222)
  • Transport Department – Leicester Avenue (Tel. 2451)
  • Race Manager – Grandstand, Racecourse (Tel. 2706)
  • Fire Service – Lonsdale Avenue (Tel. 4468)
  • Museum and Art Gallery – Beechfield, Waterdale (Tel. 2095)
  • Public Library – St. George Gate (Tel. 2676)
  • Markets Department –  Cattle Market (Tel. 2796)
  • Municipal Restaurant – Corn Exchange, Market Place (Tel. 3364)
  • Weights and Measures Office – 78 Frenchgate (Tel. 2680)
  • Civic Welfare Office – Wood Street (Tel. 3589)
  • Children’s Department – Wood Street (Tel. 4806)
  • Parks Department – Elmfield Park (Tel. 2807)
  • Cemeteries and Crematorium Superintendent – Rose Hill Cemetery (Tel. 55191)
  • Superintendent Registrar (Births, Deaths, and Marriages) – 1 Priory Place (Tel. 4051)
  • Registrars of Births, Deaths, and Marriages – Factory Lane (Tel. 61439)
  • Civil Defence Officer – Cleveland Street (Tel. 49952)
  • Baths Superintendent – St. James’ Street Baths (Tel. 3000)
  • Water Department – Sandy Lane

Ambulance Station – Armthorpe Road

Assistance Board – Hall Gate


  • Barclays – 3 High Street, 155 Balby Road, and Hall Gate
  • Co-operative Wholesale Bankers Ltd. – 7 Station Road
  • Lloyds – High Street
  • Martins – 21 Baxter Gate
  • Midland – High Street
  • National Provincial – 47 High Street
  • Westminster – 12 High Street
  • Williams Deacon’s – 15 St. Sepulchre Gate
  • York County Savings Bank – 50 Hall Gate, 80 High Road Balby, and 247 Beckett Road
  • Yorkshire Penny – 16 High Street


  • Grey Friars Road
  • St. James’ Street

Bowling Green’s:

  • Elmfield Park
  • Hexthorpe Flatts
  • Grove Gardens
  • Haslam Park
  • Westfield Park


  • Doncaster – Carr House Road
  • Rose Hill – Cantley Lane
  • Crematorium – Rose Hill, Cantley Lane

Chamber of Commerce – Miss A. Parkinson, Secretary, Dolphin Chambers, 44a Market Place.

Citizens Advice Bureau and Council of Social Service – 13 Thorne Road


  • Astra – Beckett Road
  • Essoldo – Silver Street
  • Gaumont – Hall Gate
  • Odeon – Hall Gate
  • Picture House – High Street
  • Windsor – Warmsworth Road

County Council Divisional Offices – Station Road

County Court – St. James’ Street

Cricket – Doncaster Town C.C. and many other Works and Private clubs

Customs and Excise – 27 Silver Street

Dance and Ballrooms:

  • St. James’ Baths Hall
  • Corn Exchange
  • Co-operative Emporium
  • Berry’s – Printing Office Street
  • Bullar’s – 104 St. Sepulchre Gate
  • also Hotel Ballrooms

Early Closing – Thursdays

Education Offices – Whitaker Street


  • Doncaster Service Centre – 20 Hall Gate
  • Number 5 Sub Area – District Office, 24 Thorne Road
  • Power Station – Crimpsall

Employment Exchange – Factory Lane

Fire Brigade – Lonsdale Avenue (Tel. 4468)


  • (Soccer) Doncaster Rovers FC – Belle Vue Ground
  • (Soccer) Doncaster United FC – Airport Ground (amateur)
  • (Rugby) Doncaster R.U.F.C. – Armthorpe Road Ground
  • (Rugby League) Doncaster R.L.F.C. – Bentley Road Ground


  • Works – Dockin Hill Road
  • Showrooms and Enquiry Offices – Silver Street

Gliding Club – Airport

Golf Clubs:

  • Doncaster – Bessacarr
  • Wheatley – Armthorpe Road
  • Town Moor – Race Course

Health Executive Council – 39 Market Place


  • Royal Infirmary – Thorne Road
  • Western Hospital – Springwell Lane
  • Infectious Diseases – Tickhill Road
  • St. Catherine’s – Tickhill Road
  • (See also Maternity Homes)

Hotels – Among the Principals are:

  • Danum – High Street
  • Elephant – St. Sepulchre Gate
  • Punch’s – Bawtry Road
  • Earl of Doncaster Arms – Bennetthorpe
  • Rockingham – Bennetthorpe
  • Woolpack – Market Place
  • Angel and Royal – Frenchgate (all above are licensed)
  • St. Margaret’s – Christ Church Terrace
  • Waverley – 9 St. George Gate
  • Regent – Regent Square
  • Auckland – 4 Auckland Road
  • Springfield – 1 Albion Place (Private)

Housing Department – 15 South Parade

Library (Public) – St. George Gate

Magistrate’s Clerk – The Guildhall

Maternity Homes:

  • Hamilton Lodge – Carr House Road
  • Hamilton Annexe – Springwell Lane
  • Fairfield – 91 Thorne Road (Private)

Ministry of National Insurance – Kingsway House, Hall Gate

Museum and Art Gallery – Beechfield, Waterdale


  • Doncaster Chronicle – Scot Lane
  • Doncaster Gazette – Printing Office Street
  • Doncaster Free Press – Sunny Bar (weekly on Thursdays)
  • Yorkshire Evening Post – Scot Lane
  • Yorkshire Evening News – Printing Office Street (evening)
  • Sheffield Telegraph – West Laith Gate (daily)
  • Yorkshire Post – Scot Lane (daily)

Omnibus Stations:

  • Glasgow Paddocks – Waterdale
  • Christ Church
  • Marshgate
  • Station Yard
  • North Bridge
  • Trafford Street

Parking Places:

  • Market Place
  • Dockin Hill
  • Duke Street
  • Trafford Street
  • High Fishergate
  • Princes Street
  • Waterdale
  • Factory Lane
  • Lord Street
  • and many private streets and roads


  • County Borough – The Guildhall
  • West Riding – 35 West Laith Gate

Playing Fields – Town Field

Post Office – Priory Place

Putting Greens:

  • Elmfield Park
  • Grove Gardens
  • Sandall Park
  • Hexthorpe Flatts
  • Westfield Park

Rotary Club – Earl of Doncaster Arms Hotel (Mondays 1pm)

Rural District Council Offices – Netherhall Road

Restaurants and Cafes – among the principals are:

  • Chambers’ – 43 Waterdale
  • Coopland’s – Hall Gate and Silver Street
  • A. Davy and Sons Ltd. – 37-39 Frenchgate
  • Costa Brava – Hall Gate
  • Ye Olde Barrel – 50-52 Frenchgate
  • Grill Room – 30 Hall Gate
  • Hodgson & Hepworth Ltd. – St. Sepulchre Gate
  • Municipal – Corn Exchange
  • Odeon – Hall Gate
  • Gaumont – Hall Gate
  • Carlton – Sunny Bar
  • Doncaster Co-operative – The Emporium, St. Sepulchre Gate
  • Priestnall’s – Station Road
  • Fisher’s – 16 Wood Street
  • Elvin’s – 13 Hall Gate
  • Jons – Priory Place
  • Golden Phoenix – Cleveland Street


  • Arts Centre – Waterdale
  • Gaumont – Hall Gate

Tennis Courts (Public):

  • Elmfield Park
  • Grove Gardens
  • Haslam Park
  • Hexthorpe Flatts
  • Westfield Park

Worship, Places of:

– Church of England

  • St. John’s – Balby
  • St. Wilfrid’s – Cantley
  • Christ Church – Thorne Road
  • St. George’s – St. George Gate
  • St. James’ – St. Sepulchre Gate
  • St. Jude’s – Hexthorpe
  • St. Mary’s – Beckett Road
  • St. Aiden’s – Wheatley Hills
  • All Saints – Intake Estate
  • St. Paul’s – Parkway North
  • St. Peter’s – Warmsworth Road
  • St. Hugh of Lincoln – Cantley Estate

– Methodist

  • Methodist Chapel – Printing Office Street
  • Balby Road Methodist Chapel
  • Oxford Place Methodist Chapel
  • Methodist Chapel – Carr House Road
  • Methodist Church – Urban Road
  • Methodist Church – Nether Hall Road
  • Methodist Church – Highfield Road
  • Urban Road Methodist Church
  • Methodist Church Beckett Road
  • Methodist Chapel – Alder Grove
  • Methodist Church – Goodison Boulevard

– Roman Catholic

  • St. Peter’s – Princes Street
  • Church of the Sacred Heart – Warmsworth Road
  • Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St. Mary Magdalene – Armthorpe Road
  • St. Paul’s – Goodison Boulevard

– Other denominations

  • Trinity Presbyterian Church – Waterdale
  • Friends’ Meeting House – West Laith Gate
  • Baptist Chapel – Chequer Road
  • Wheatley Park Baptist Church – Winchester Avenue
  • Congregational Church – Hall Gate
  • Intake Congregational Church – Ardeen Road
  • Christians’ Meeting House – The Holmes
  • Providence Meeting House – Spring Gardens
  • Villa Park Hall Plymouth Brethren – Cantley Estate
  • Free Christian Church – Hall Gate
  • National Progressive Spiritualist Church – Catherine Street
  • National Spiritualist Church – Baker Street
  • Plymouth Brethren – 48 Becket Road
  • Pentecostal Hall – Portland Place
  • Salvation Army Citadel – Trafford Street
  • Gospel Hall – Carr House Road
  • Welcome Mission Hall – Baker Street
  • Welsh Congregational Chapel – South Parade
  • Latter Day Saints – 1 Auckland Road
  • Synagogue – Canterbury Road
  • Jehovah’s Witnesses – 44 Market Place
  • Salvation Army Hall – Lonsdale Avenue
  • First Church of Christ Scientist – 98 Balby Road
  • Flintwood Methodist Church – Marlowe Road, Intake

Y.W.C.A. – Cleveland Street

Y.M.C.A. – St. Sepulchre Gate

Pictures and adverts from the 1960’s – click on an image to enter the gallery.

One response to “Doncaster Today as of 1960

  1. Exellent

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