Doncaster is a former mining town in South
Yorkshire, locally referred to as "Donny"; the town expanded
dramatically in population with the development of coal mining; however,
the closure of the coal mines in the 1970s and the early 1980s caused
many economic difficulties; these seem to have been overcome by the
development of its service industry; the already good communication
links with the rest of the UK supported this development.
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 the 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.
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.
During the campaign of the First English Civil War, King Charles I marched by Bridgnorth, Lichfield and Ashbourne to Doncaster, where on 18th August 1645 he was met by great numbers of Yorkshire gentlemen who had rallied to his cause; on 2nd May 1664, Doncaster was later rewarded with the title of 'Free Borough' by way of the King expressing his gratitude for Doncaster's allegiance.
Doncaster is the home of Lakeside Village a large shopping centre; the centre provides discount shopping for major brands of clothing, footwear, sportswear, homewares, music, books, gadgets and confectionery; it first opened, as the Yorkshire Outlet, in 1998 but has undergone a major expansion since; it now provides around 50 shops as well as a children’s play area and cafes; is is located just a short distance away from the M18 motorway and is a draw for shoppers and tourists alike.
A new 26ft (8m) high sculpture called Danum, the Roman name for Doncaster, was unveiled in a newly developed square in Doncaster; the £60,000 stainless steel statue was designed by local sculptor Michael Johnson, who worked with schools and community groups to design it.
The sculpture is the centrepiece of the new Sir Nigel Gresley Square, named after the former chief engineer of the London and North Eastern Railways (LNER); Danum is meant to reflect the history of the region, from the local Iron Age tribes to the Victorian railway works.
The LNER's Doncaster railway works were a major employer in the early 20th Century and produced some of the UK's most famous locomotives, such as the Mallard and the Flying Scotsman; the new square was opened as part of Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee celebrations and will eventually house Doncaster's new theatre.
Famous People: Diane Rigg.