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Doncaster is the second largest town in the United Kingdom and is larger and has more residents than many cities. Doncaster has fought to become a city for many years but has failed to achieve this title. Many believe this is due to the closeness to other very large cities such as Sheffield and Leeds whose influence may partially extend over Doncaster.
Doncaster is an ancient town that developed from a Roman fort called DANVM – modern spelling 'Danum' – pronounced (Da'-num) – and was built on a Roman road that linked London to York called 'Ermine Street'. The fort was built where Doncaster Minster now stands.
Later Doncaster developed into a Medieval township with a fortified boundary and historic gates. The location of the gates can still be seen in the town today. Doncaster also has a historic market that has existed for over 750 years!
As the centuries passed Doncaster became an important staging post on the route between London and Edinburgh. An ancient road called the 'Great North Road' passed straight through the very centre of Doncaster and the town grew around and along this road.
When railways were invented Doncaster became an important stop for trains travelling between Scotland and London and still does today. A very big factory for making trains was built in Doncaster. Doncaster is also famous for steam trains. Some of the finest and fastest steam trains in the world were built in Doncaster. These trains include The Flying Scotsman, The Mallard and The Sir Nigel Gresley.
Doncaster was one of the first places in the country that made aeroplanes and had an airport. The first airshow in the country was held in Doncaster in 1908.
Doncaster has an international airport which was opened in 2005. The airport is growing very fast and lots of people from across the region and across Europe now use Doncaster as a popular destination – which is something that people have already been doing for the last 2000 years.
Doncaster is famous for horse racing. Doncaster is one of the oldest racecourses in the world and hosts two famous horse races – The Doncaster Cup which is the oldest horse race in the world – and the St Leger Stakes which is the oldest classic horse race in the world. There has been horse racing in Doncaster for over 500 years. The horse racing started because of the horses that used to pull horse drawn coaches on the Great North Road.
Doncaster is also the name of a suburb in eastern Melbourne, Australia. The suburb was no doubt named after the town in England and is home to two excellent state primary schools: Doncaster Gardens Primary School and Doncaster Primary School.