The clock could be turning back for one of Doncaster’s oldest pubs.
At one time the 18th century Red Lion in the Market Place was a famous coaching inn on the route between London and the North, where travellers would stay overnight while horses were rested.
Now current owners Wetherspoon’s want to provide beds for weary tourists and visitors in the 21st century by turning it into a hotel.
The company, which owns a large number of traditional pubs across the country, has lodged a planning application with Doncaster Council to create 14 bedrooms on part of the ground floor and one of the upper floors of the Red Lion, which has a famous place in Doncaster’s history.
It was the hostelry where Britain’s oldest classic horse race, the St Leger, was named by a group of local aristocrats and gentlemen, after it was run for the first time in 1776 on Cantley Common, and was later moved to what was to become the world-famous racecourse.
The St Leger is the last of the five Classics to be run each year, over a longer distance than the others and the hostelry has a number of references to its links with the race both inside and outside, including a board listing winning jockeys.
Wetherspoon’s already has around 20 hotels in its chain, which has more than 800 pubs across the country, employing 23,000 people.
If councillors give the scheme the go-ahead it is likely to create 10 new jobs.
Wetherspoons spokesman Eddie Gershon told the Doncaster Free Press: “The Red Lion in Doncaster is a very busy site for us so from our point of view a hotel at that location is a logical step.
“Our hotels represent good value and the Red Lion, like most of our hotels is centrally located.
“We would continue to run the Red Lion as a pub as well, it wouldn’t be a stand-alone hotel.”
Other Wetherspoon hotels in Yorkshire are located in Ripon, Thirsk and Whitby.
The Red Lion has stood in the Market Place for more than 250 years and along with The Salutation in South Parade, is believed to be one of the oldest inns in the town centre.
Colin Joy, Doncaster’s Council’s tourism manager added: “I welcome the development and the Red Lion’s strong St Leger links will hopefully provide a further tourism boost for Doncaster.”