‘More needs to be done’ to promote Doncaster’s rail heritage and Mansion House says councillor

More needs to be done to shout about Doncaster’s brimming rail heritage and it’s Georgian Mansion House, a councillor has said.

By George Torr
Wednesday, 24th April 2019, 4:45 pm
Updated Wednesday, 24th April 2019, 5:05 pm
Doncaster Mansion House. Picture: Marie Caley/Doncaster Free Press

Norton & Askern Coun Iris Beech said people living near Doncaster on a recent holiday she went on had ‘no idea’ who Sir Nigel Gresley was. 

She also added she wasn’t aware Doncaster’s picturesque Mansion House was only one of three in the entire country. 

Bosses said they the museum and library will further showcase Doncaster’s rail heritage and the Mansion House is something they would like open up on more days. 

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Coun Beech made the comments at a recent meeting discussing the council’s newly adopted tourism and visitor strategy which aims to boost overnight stays, capitalise on big events and get residents more involved in what’s going on in the borough. 

Sir Nigel Gresley, a pioneering railway engineer, designed and oversaw the creation of world famous locomotives like the Mallard and the Flying Scotsman in Doncaster.

The Flying Scotsman was the first locomotive to break the 100mph barrier and The Mallard holds the official speed record for a steam locomotive clocking up 126mph in 1938.

Doncaster’s Mansion House, completed in the Georgian era in 1749 to host lavish receptions fit for royalty. 

The building is now open to the public on limited days, including the grand ballroom and the great kitchen.

The Grade I listed building has regular dates for afternoon teas and is also a popular venue for weddings.

Coun Beech said: “I was in Cumbria recently and I met some people down the road in Worksop and others nearby by. They had absolutely no idea who Sir Nigel Gresley was which I find surprising. 

“I’m no rail fanatic but I was always aware of the connection and I come from a long way away. 

“The other thing is our Mansion House. I wasn’t aware that they’re are only three houses like this in the entire country and we have one here. 

“It’s a beautiful building and I think we need people to go around it more – these are just a couple of things we have that can put us firmly on the map.”

Scott Cardwell, assistant director of development at Doncaster Council said: “A big part of the new library and museum is that we’re going to have a couple of locomotives going to be displayed in there and also a collection of rail heritage which has not been able to have been shown before.

“We really are going big on that and anyone coming to Doncaster really does understand the significance of of what this place played in the rail industry.”

Lorna Reeve, destination manager at Doncaster Council added: “In terms of the Mansion House, there are open days that are looked after by the friends group who are volunteers.

“We would also like the open days to be more frequent – the afternoon teas are very popular as well as the tea dances.

“We would like to see more active use of the building – but it’s outside of our remit a little bit.”