Doncaster Heritage Festival: packed programme of events to be launched across borough

For anyone interested in tracing the heritage of Doncaster and exciting history event returns to the borough.

Tuesday, 17th April 2018, 2:43 pm
Updated Tuesday, 17th April 2018, 2:46 pm
Cusworth Hall

If you love history, you are in for a treat as the annual Doncaster Heritage Festival is back for 2018 with a packed programme of events, talks, walks, exhibitions and workshops lined up at a variety of venues and times.

From Saturday April 28 to Sunday May 13 there are activities and events to suit all interests, whether you want to learn more about the borough’s Rebel Daughters and suffrage history, delve into Doncaster’s stories from the First World War, get an insight into crime and justice in the 19th century, or step inside Hooton Pagnell Hall, which was transformed into a hospital for wounded soldiers during the First World War.

Writer and producer Philippa Langley MBE will be delivering this year’s David Hey Memorial Lecture – The Looking for Richard Project. In 2012, Philippa led the successful search to locate the grave of King Richard III through the Looking For Richard Project. Philippa conceived, facilitated and commissioned this unique historical investigation.

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You can hear her incredible story at Doncaster Museum and Art Gallery on Sunday April 29. Tickets £8.

And just ahead of the Tour de Yorkshire visiting the borough in May, we also welcome writer Chris Sidwells to present a talk about The Life and Times of Doncaster Cyclist Tom Simpson on Tuesday May 1. Tickets £3.

Launching this year’s Festival is the Local History Fair, organised by Doncaster and District Heritage Association, on Saturday April 28, from 11am-4pm at Doncaster Museum and Art Gallery. The event gets bigger and better each year with stalls, displays, family activities, craft demonstrations, re-enactments and entertainment. Entry is free.

Cllr Nigel Ball, Cabinet Member for Culture, said: “We are proud of our rich and varied heritage in Doncaster. The annual Doncaster Heritage Festival is a perfect opportunity to celebrate our history, to step back in time and visit the borough in a bygone age and discover some fascinating stories along the way.

“As 2018 marks both 100 years since the end of the First World War and the 100th anniversary of the Representation of the People Act, the festival also features talks on women’s contribution to the war effort and the local suffrage movement.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming some fantastic guest speakers again this year and exploring local life through the ages through family activities, guided walks, talks, exhibitions and workshops. We’ve also made sure that events are held at various locations and times across the borough to give as many people as possible a chance to come along, get involved and celebrate Doncaster’s history with us.”

Some of the many other heritage festival highlights include:

l Popular speaker Helen Cox gives a talk about the History of Chocolate - with samples for tasting! Saturday 5th May, 10.30am-12noon at Doncaster Museum & Art Gallery. Cost £3.

l The free May Day at Cusworth Hall event will be held between 12noon and 4pm on Sunday 6th May at the hall and park. People can try their hand at Maypole dancing and have a go at family trails inside the hall. There will be some family craft activities, for which there will be a small charge.

l A palaeography workshop at Doncaster Archives, between 10am and 12noon on Thursday 10th May. Borough archivist Dr Charles Kelham will lead an informal discussion on medieval script. Tickets are free but places need to be booked. Call 01302 734307 or email [email protected]

l Mexborough and District Local History Fair explores a bygone age in Mexborough and the surrounding areas of Doncaster and the Dearne Valley, Friday 11th May, 11am-3pm at Mexborough library.

l The Sand House Rocks with the Sand House Charity and Doncaster Youth Jazz Association – a multimedia event featuring the Doncaster Youth Stageband and celebrating the 200 year combined heritage of the Sand House and Doncaster Youth Jazz Association. The event takes place on Saturday 12th May, 3pm at St James’ Church, Doncaster. Tickets £8 (adults) and £6 (16 years and under). Available online at and from Doncaster Jazz Centre and Central Library Local Studies.

For further details of these and lots more exciting events, visit

Also contact Doncaster Local Studies on 01302 734307 or the [email protected] email address.