ON THIS DAY: 1934: Doncaster Airport takes off for first time

Doncaster Airport had state of the art facilities.
Doncaster Airport had state of the art facilities.
1
Have your say

Younger shoppers perusing the aisles of the Lakeside branch of the Asda supermarket in Doncaster probably don’t realise they are walking on the site of Doncaster’s original airport.

Long before Robin Hood, which celebrated its tenth birthday last year, the town was home to Doncaster Airport, its sprawling runways and airfields now covered by the superstore, The Dome leisure complex and scores of other developments which have sprung up in the area in recent years.

An aviation meeting at Doncaster Racecourse in 1909 was the catalyst for Doncaster Airport.

An aviation meeting at Doncaster Racecourse in 1909 was the catalyst for Doncaster Airport.

It was 82 years ago today on May 26, 1934 that Doncaster Airport was opened by Lord Lonsdale, complete with concrete hangars, custom facilities and a control tower.

It was nestled on a patch of land behind Doncaster Rovers’ Belle Vue ground - and when floodlights were installed at the stadium in 1950, it became a curiosity among football fans as being the only ground in the UK to have aircraft warning lights atop the pylons.

The airport was born out of an airshow held at Doncaster Racecourse in 1909 with Royal Flying Corps fighters statiioned at Town Moor during the First World War.

In 1920, the Government asked local authorities to assist in the formation of a chain of airfields so that the country would not lag behind other nations in the provision of civil air services and so in 1934 Doncaster Airport was opened with flights to Amsterdam following, bringing Europe to our doorstep.

An aerial view of Doncaster Airport, with Belle Vue at the top right.

An aerial view of Doncaster Airport, with Belle Vue at the top right.

During World War Two, No 616 Squadron, which took part in the Battle of Britain was based there.

After the war the airfield reverted to civilian flying and finally closed in 1992, with local civilian air services switching to RAF Finningley and Sandtoft Airfield.

And while little of the original airport remains, some of the buildings do live on, courtesy of Aeroventure, the South Yorkshire Aircraft Museum, which uses some of the old hangars to preserve its many exhibits and helps to keep the spirit of the air alive and well in a corner of Doncaster that will forever have a taste of aviation associated with it.

The 1909 meeting pre-dated the airport by 25 years.

The 1909 meeting pre-dated the airport by 25 years.

Aviation enthusiasts flocked to Doncaster Racecourse for the 1909 meeting.

Aviation enthusiasts flocked to Doncaster Racecourse for the 1909 meeting.

Doncaster Airport brought the town closer to Europe.

Doncaster Airport brought the town closer to Europe.

The site of Doncaster Airport as it looks today.

The site of Doncaster Airport as it looks today.

A memorial exists at Lakeside to commemorate Doncaster Airport.

A memorial exists at Lakeside to commemorate Doncaster Airport.

The Aeroventure museum now occupies part of the old Doncaster Airport site.

The Aeroventure museum now occupies part of the old Doncaster Airport site.