Days of future past. . .

Royston Avenue in Bentley.
Royston Avenue in Bentley.

IN part two of a three part series, Those Were The Days columnist Symeon Waller takes a look back at some predictions from years gone by...

91 years ago in 1921, Ernest Phillips, the editor of the Doncaster Chronicle newspaper speculated on the future of the town.

Aerial pic of Red House/Kings arcade under construction at Doncaster early 1920s

Aerial pic of Red House/Kings arcade under construction at Doncaster early 1920s

The following article features some of his predictions.

Did he get it right? Let’s see.

“The new villages, a by-product of the local coal-mining industry look to Doncaster.

“They are linked up by means of the electric tram car.

“They come into town and do a great deal of their shopping. Thus the town benefits and results are already seen in the newly built shops which adorn our streets.

“Our theatres, our music halls, our public institutions, all benefit by these new populations which now cover what was once the sparsely populated countryside.

“But this is not all. Where there is coal there is other trade, and so we find that other industries are coming to Doncaster.

“Before the coal boom of the last few years, Doncaster could not be called a manufacturing town. True, there was the large establishment of the Great Northern Railway, where anything can be made from a handcart to an express locomotive; and, in addition, there were brass and wire works, etc.

“But the working of the new coalfield will change, and is changing, all this.

“Just outside Doncaster, at Sandall, a mere hamlet on the river bank, a Lancashire glass-making firm is making a factory to find work for 5,000 employees; they will construct a model village, with a church and club and library. “Another Lancashire firm of woollen manufacturers are coming to Bentley, even nearer than Sandall, and they will build a large works for the manufacture of their own specialities. “Further away, at Finningley, a Sheffield firm is building a vast place wherein to make motor cars.

“In short, Doncaster is on the eve of a great development. At least half a dozen firms have come or are coming into the town.

“Others are making enquiries for land. The selection of Doncaster is due to several facts that give the town an advantage.

“It is not only on the main line of the Great Northern Railway, but 6 other railways have running power into Doncaster.

“Moreover, the canal which runs through Doncaster on its way from Sheffield to Goole and Hull, not only links us up with Sheffield, but gives us direct access to the sea. If this canal is widened and deepened, and made a real ship canal, as it almost certainly will be in the not too distant future, its value to the trade of the town will be greatly increased.”

Doncaster History