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Doncaster Features: Doncaster News from 1948

Alan Berry of the Doncaster Star writes:

"HMS Mull of Galloway, Clyde, August 1948: It is 39 years since a reigning monarch visited Doncaster for the horseracing and, if we trust the newspapers, everybody claims to have been there!

Reminiscences pour in to the newspapers of a period which came to be known as the Belle Epoque. Monarch and aristocrat lived a rich life of sin, sex, cigars, champagne and horseracing, because there was little else for them to do.

His Majesty's largely-adoring people, "the great unwashed", would have been happy to do the same if only they had the money.

One newspaper correspondent writes: "The car as a means of locomotion was then in its infancy. It was still the day of coach and four, the plebeian wagonette, the horse and trap and the house party.

"Then people were beginning to hear a little about the Kaiser's navy, but laughed heartily at that and continued to make themselves very rich (and keep the poor very poor, we should add).

"The rich lived well on cheap imports... there was so much money there were bound to be big crowds at race meetings. "Today, 1948, is different. Raceweek keeps its position in the calendar but it is not so much of a social attraction. Landed gentry are no longer with us in such numbers due to death duties. Many of the great estates round the town are broken up and the entertainments do not last over a number of days. The St Leger classic, however, retains worldwide interest and the fantastical affection of all classes.

"September 11 will still be a great day in our history with impressive motor cars, cheers for their majesties and a feeling among Doncaster people that the visit is an honour.

"It will be a carnival day... We shall not see men in spats but there will be tailcoats, grey striped trousers and silk hats among a few."

It seems people expect the royal couple to drive up the straight mile in a coach like we are told they do at Ascot. I just can't see them first getting down there to Sandall Beat incognito.

ROVERS report a loss of £103 on their disastrous 1947-48 season, the first loss for eight years. The profit on the previous promotion season, when all was great and wonderful, was £4,000.

Now they have begun their attempt to return to the second division with a two-all draw at Mansfield and there was favourable comment that the players, new and old, showed great promise.

They have three new directors - Mr Edgar Charlesworth of St Wilfrid's Road, Bessacarr, a Ford motor trader with garage in Bennetthorpe; Mr Stanley Stott, a company director who lives in Mattersey in Nottinghamshire; and Mr Parish, managing director of Felix Motors bus company. Mr Parish is a Master Mariner and ex-Royal Navy officer who commanded minesweepers during the war .

WE have been learning more of that notorious Rovers Supporters' Club meeting, which ended in uproar with catcalls and booing.

The business came to a climax when Jim Geary, a former chief scout, attempted to speak but was deemed out of order by the chairman Dr Ashforth who declared the meeting closed and walked out.

Mr Geary was then able to speak but the meeting remained unofficial. The supporters did, however, unanimously adopt Mr Stott and Mr Charles as their candidates for the Board.

Dr Ashforth has since resigned his directorship.

DR S E J BEST, headmaster of the Grammar School (known to all the boys as Sedge) was an official judge at the Olympic Games in London.

He has since spoken of his apprehension over his responsibilities, but also his exhilaration at witnessing so close at hand some of the great achievements of the competitors.

Dr Best writes: "The opening ceremony was tremendous, with 6,000 athletes marching round the track. Some genius behind the scenes managed to get them all into position in a minute, without any rehearsal. The weather was so hot on the Saturday that our braces lost their elasticity. Then the rain ruined our flannels and we were cold and wet. The keynote was the spirit of real sportsmanship and easy friendship. People were glad to win but not sorry to lose."

A BALBY youth aged 16 had a thumb and first finger of his left hand amputated at the Royal Infirmary. He had picked up an ammunition fuse from one of the ammunition dumps near Ollerton while enjoying a day out at the Dukeries. On bringing it home as some sort of souvenir, it exploded.

I have seen these dumps - they are close to the road and everywhere in the woods, and anyone can pick up what is stored there.

DONCASTER'S dog population is increasing, and there are more pure bred-animals than mongrels, says Cyril Kilner, reporting for The Gazette.

He reckons 75 per cent of the inhabitants either own or are interested in dogs. A vet is quoted as saying Doncaster is the most dog-minded town in the country. Too many are allowed to roam and menace traffic. He says there is work for a dog catcher, the need for a dogs' hospital, and the town should have a hygienic home for either strays or for boarding out animals whose owners are away.

Another so-called "bright spot" is Doncaster enjoys an adequate supply of horse flesh! So good and plentiful is our horse flesh that breeders parcel it off to other breeders.

I think we should give dogs a low priority - there are still plenty of people wanting a house, and they don't eat meat every day. My grandparents in Hyde Park live off rabbits.

THE home coal delivered to miners' homes in Hatfield is so full of slate most of it has to be thrown in the dustbin, and the council rubbish collectors grumble they can't lift the bins. The collectors - the bin men - are still known as scavengers in Stainforth.

THE people who live in Anchorage Lane, Sprotbrough, have been told they must contribute to the cost of making up the roads. Some may have to find up to £100 and they can't afford it.

They will be given 20 years to pay it off.

WILLIAM Nuttall, the Doncaster confectioner, gave the world the famous Minto and the Liquorice Lump. The sweet aroma that still enhances the air above his Holmes Market factory is a constant reminder of the successful family business and consequent generosity.

During his lifetime William gave away large sums to deserving causes. On his death in 1934 he left £221,000.

Now we learn his son Henry has followed the example of his father. His estate is little more than half that of William's, but few know just how much Henry gave away in his lifetime.

Aged spinsters, hospitals, orphanages, ex-servicemen's organisations, have both father and son to thank for countless benefactions. A walk along Bennetthorpe reveals a lasting memorial to the name of Nuttall.

My dentist told me not to eat Mintoes - "they will extract all your fillings". I continue to ignore the advice.

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