Doncaster in the Political Spotlight

The Directly Elected Mayor:

  • is the council’s political leader and is elected by constituents on a four-year term of office
  • has executive powers and is responsible for the effective implementation of council policy and delivering services
  • has eight cabinet members to advise and support her – each cabinet member has a specific portfolio responsibility
  • Ros Jones is the current incumbent ‘before becoming Mayor in 2013, she was a councillor for  for seven years working hard to make improvements in the community and support local residents. She was also Civic Mayor in 2009/10’ She won by 639 votes from Peter Davies.

The Civic Mayor for Doncaster (2016/17) is Councillor David Nevett


Doncaster Mayor
English Democrat Peter Davies replaced outgoing Doncaster Mayor Martin Winter  having campaigned for a cut in councillor numbers from 63 to 21. He pushed the Labour candidate into third place winning on the second preference system. The anti-EU former schoolteacher has also called for a referendum on the future governance of the borough and the end to council literature being translated into other languages. He is quoted “We have had a corrupt and spendaholic council and Doncaster is laughed at all over the country. I will get rid of the dreadful political correctness and introduce a refreshingly open regime.” Doncaster was  put into government intervention in 2010. The running of children’s services, was overseen by the government since 2009, has now been transferred to an independent trust.

Rosier View
Rosie Winterton (Minister for Yorkshire and Humber and Department for Work and Pensions at the last count) and MP for Doncaster Central grew up in Doncaster and is proud of the town’s rich and varied history as well as how it has helped shaped the country today according to her web site. ‘Doncaster stands on the site of the Roman settlement Danum. It is the largest geographic Metropolitan Borough in the country with an area in excess of 225 square miles… Transport coal and steel have been the core industries around Doncaster and Rosie reports how it was the first public proclamation that helped create the original Labour Party:
‘Thomas R Steels was a railway signalman working for the Great Northern Railway Company who moved to Doncaster in around 1891. In March 1899, Steels drafted a famous resolution, at the Good Woman public house on St Sepulchregate, on labour representation in Parliament. The motion called on the TUC “That this congress, having regard to its decisions of former years, and with a view to securing a better representation of the interests of labour in the House of Commons, hereby instructs the Parliamentary Committee to invite the cooperation of all the cooperative, socialistic, trade union and other working class organisations to jointly cooperate on the lines mutually agreed upon …….’
So I am left wondering if much has really changed?

Don Valley MP Caroline Flint is now the former Minister for Europe. Well I think least said! Flint was one of 98 MPs who voted in favour of legislation which would have kept MPs’ expense details secret but then decided to work from the back benches.With ‘the house’ expenses scandal maybe we have got a ‘Flippin’ Government’ with lots of fishy smells.


Doncaster has been badly served by local and national politicians for decades. They are not alone and several venerable northern communities are  in similar circumstances. Changes at Doncaster need time to evolve and it will be interesting to see how the town copes over the next decade.
In business there is a style of management referred to as Kipper Management, ‘Two Faced and no Backbone’.


Betwixed Leeds and Shipley Along the Canal

‘Leaving Leeds and heading towards Shipley’. The first 10 miles of the Leeds-Liverpool canal hold a lot of interest for walkers, fishermen and historians. It is a good 10 mile linear walk with pubs enroute at Newley, Rodley, Baildon and Greengates.

Canal pilons

The Canal of the Roses – History

From the Leeds Liverpool Canal Society records comes this short history. Do not read it if you have a nervous disposition about Lancastrian perfidy.

‘In the middle of the 1700’s, Yorkshire was a well established woollen manufacturing area, while Lancashire’s industries were still in their infancy. Consequently it was in Yorkshire that the canal was first proposed. In the 1760’s the merchants there were keen to improve the supply of lime and limestone from the Craven district. This they used to improve the fertilisation of agricultural land and to provide a mortar which allowed them to increase the size and height of buildings used for weaving. They also hoped to expand the market for their cloth by gaining access, via Liverpool, to the growing colonial markets in Africa and America. The route they chose was up the Aire valley to Gargrave, then through Padiham, Whalley and Leyland to Liverpool. They would thus have a fairly direct route to Liverpool as well as reaching the limestone country around Craven.

Canal chimneys
‘Leeds needs to repurpose it’s Victorian buildings’ or loose them!

When the Yorkshiremen sought support in Lancashire they found that Liverpool merchants were more interested in acquiring a good supply of coal for the town from Wigan. They suggested a different route, through Wigan, Chorley, Blackburn and Burnley, joining the Yorkshiremen’s line at Foulridge. The two groups fell out over this, though they eventually agreed to a compromise. The Yorkshire line was to be followed, but there was to be a link to Wigan, with work starting at each end simultaneously.

By 1777, when the canal was open from Liverpool to Wigan and from Leeds to Gargrave, the company ran out of money. Construction ceased until 1790 when the economy improved and more finance was available. By then East Lancashire was rapidly developing as an industrial area and the canal proprietors realised that there was a greater opportunity for trade around Blackburn and Burnley. The proposed line of canal was altered and when it opened throughout, in 1816, it had been constructed along the route first suggested by the Liverpool merchants.’

Waterside Activities

Rodley has an interesting nature reserve mid way betwixed Leeds and Shipley on the canal side.
Apollo Cruises operate a boat bus service from Shipley in summer. It runs through Saltaire past the Fishermans Inn at Dowley Gap and over the aqueduct to the foot of 5 Rise Lock at Bingley. You can also hire a boat for c.30 people with a meal provided as I did for my 50th birthday. The Pie and Peas were amongst the tastiest I had eaten but I put that down to the drink license and the fresh air.

Walks abound around this area as the river Aire runs parallel to the canal for many miles. Formal walks are provided by the Waterboard or most bookshops but you can usually find your own circular route back to the starting point of take the Towpath Trod.

Book Cover

Fishing except under overhead cables, playing in parkland at Roberts Park and woodland activities at Hirstwoods are all available along the canal near Shipley and families can find a lot to do. For a day out you can do a deal worse than take the fresh air and exercise along Yorkshire Canals.

There is always something interesting to see alongside a canal withold mill chimneys and odd buildings as you enter the Shipley section from Leeds. The view from opposite the towpath at a boat turning circle at Dockfields and there is a wonderful old packhorse bridge (junction bridge 208) on the left sadly in need of a bit of TLC. This junction should be the start of the reopened link to Bradford, when they get cracking, the new canal side apartments will doubtless rise in value (but not aesthetic appearance).

Dutch canal in colour

This atmospheric photograph proves Holland also gets fog on the canal but it doesn’t smell as good as Yorkshire fog or our canal.


Yorkshire Airlines Classic


Classic county comedy.

“Taking off from Leeds International airport. Landing at Leeds International Airport after 20 minutes. – Because if it’s outside Yorkshire it’s not worth visiting!’

As an airplane is about to crash, a female passenger jumps up frantically and announces, “If I’m going to die, I want to die feeling like a woman.”

She removes all her clothing and asks, “Is there someone on this plane who is man enough to make me feel like a woman?”

A Yorkshireman stands up, removes his shirt and says, “Here love, iron this!”.


Middleham Facts Interesting and Unusual

Middleham has 5 airports and two major ports less than 90 miles away. It is nearer Manchester than Hull but less than 20 miles from Darlington or Ripon. So that puts Middleham on the map or almost.
Middleham is in tranquil Wensleydale on the river Ure.


Middleham Castle English Heritage

Middleham castle is known for being the home of Richard III until he was killed at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. The origins of Middleham castle go back to 1086 and ‘Alan The Red’, a nephew of William the Conqueror, who built the first castle in this Wensleydale beauty spot.
Under Kings Henry and the 16th century Tudors the castle was left to fall into disrepair. Despite some intervening refurbishment in 1646 Parliament ordered some walls be destroyed leaving the castle the shell it is today.

View from the top of Middleham Castle

Other Interesting Facts

Trooper Middleham the latest recruit to the Royal Household Cavalry is a horse named appropriately after this horse breeding and training village.
The Forbidden Corner is a local tourist attraction that claims to be ‘The Strangest Place in the World’. Discover for your self by going past Pinkers Pond on the Coverham lane.
As a home for 12+ horseracing trainers Middleham includes Mark Johnston has trained at least one hundred winners on the flat for each of the last 14 years. It is a record unsurpassed in the history of the British turf and makes Johnston the most consistent horse racing trainer in Britain.
Legend has it that Alkelda was a Christian Saxon princess who was murdered by two Danish women in 800AD and buried in what is now St Mary & St Alkeldas Church. Bones dating to the right era were discovered and reburied when the church was undergoing repairs.

Middleham Castle

The flag is showing the logo of English Heritage that now look after the Castle.
Jervaulx abbey is a local attraction and you can also visit Rivaux, Fountains and Coverham on Abbey tours.
Middleham is a great dales village well worth a weekend visit. Our Badminton club trip stayed at the Richard III hotel which was really just a good pub.
The gallops can be very cold in winter and that may be a reason why Middleham trains such hardy horses.

Photo Credits
Middleham by lisabatty CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
View from the top of Middleham Castle by lisabatty CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Middleham Castle by rofanator CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 ‘Got up really early today and went for a drive with the intention of ending up at Rievaulx Abbey. I went via Middleham to see the impressive castle and it was well worth the detour, even though it was a couple of hours before the gates opened but I still got a great view from the outside.’
full gallop by scpgt CC BY-NC-ND 2.0


Haworth no Bronte Publicity II PY

Book Cover

When a Haworth based family buy a beautiful vintage Rolls-Royce, little do they know they would get more than they bargained for. Named after the car’s registration II PY this book by a local author is ‘Fast-paced and action-packed, II PY takes us on a rollercoaster ride through the landscapes of Britain and France, where the old world charm of nostalgic rallies and vintage shows collides with a ruthless, audacious underworld of gangland bosses. Part taut thriller, part homage to one of automobile history’s greatest cars, II PY will have you on the edge of your ivory leather seats!’

Defeating the ‘Crims’ time after time the plot is starting to wear thin as it takes the police such a long time to catch on. For a fast read and ‘the thrill of the chase’ this is an enjoyable read and cheap to borrow from the library.

Look out for this registration plate on a car near Haworth. That is where the author and his own car live and until this book is made into a film I guess they won’t be moving to Monte Carlo.

II PY by Edward Evans

These lesser known Haworth authors have had large parts of the county named after them and on that basis need no publicity from this web site.


Yorkshire Snow September


Yorkshire, like much of the rest of the country, has been hit be heavy snow falls which have left the county blanketed in snow.


Gritters are struggling to keep roads open as stocks of salt run low. Scarborough Council was even forced to resort to using sand from the resort’s beach to spread on the roads.


Only joking about September – it was July


Relish and a Joke

You are unlikely to find this saucy little number in your local Chippy but you might overhear these old sores being repeated. ‘I have told you a million times not to exaggerate.’

So I went down the local supermarket, I said “I want to make a complaint, this vinegar’s got lumps in it”, The check out girl said “Those are pickled onions”.

The fast food shop at Windscale (you may call it Sellafield now but the name hints at how old my jokes are) is called “The Fission Chips.” It is called fast food so you eat it fast or otherwise you might taste it.

I’m in great mood tonight because the other day I entered a competition and I won, The prize, a year’s supply of Marmite……… one jar.
A friend got some vinegar in his ear, now he suffers from pickled hearing.

Another deaf friend had an ear transplant from a pig now all he can hear is crackling.

If a White Russian ruler is called t’Tzar and his wife is t’Tarina are his children t’Tardines?

Mummy tomato went for a walk with the baby tomatoes consistently lagging behind, so she turned round and shouted ‘Ketch-up’.

Being overweight is something that just sort of snacks up on you.

A friend was standing in line at a fast-food restaurant, waiting to place an order. There was a big sign posted that read, “No notes larger than 10 Euros will be accepted.” underneath was written “Believe me, if I HAD a note larger than 10 Euros I wouldn’t be eating here.”


Yorkshire Bank Funding National Trust


The UK’s biggest ever plant hunt is underway with a survey that will cover tens of thousands of plants at more than eighty significant National Trust Gardens. The project is sponsored by Yorkshire Bank, sponsors of the Outdoor Programme which also includes help to conserve and protect National Trust gardens through investment in greener gardening initiatives.

Using the latest technology including GPS positioning to record plant locations over 1,000,000 plants are being recorded to give an overview of the largest collection of cultivated plants in the UK. Many of these plants tell the history of a garden’s creation, people’s passions and changing fashions through the centuries.

During the three year sponsorship deal Yorkshire Bank is also supporting the Greener Gardens initiative to improve the way both the Trust and its supporters can maintain gardens in more environmentally sustainable ways. This includes composting on an industrial scale, rainwater harvesting and reviving old wells, to experimenting with drought-resistant varieties of plants and introducing solar-powered lawnmowers.

It is good to see a bank putting something into more than just executive bonuses.


Locations from the National Trust Yorkshire section that you might like to visit include

Beningbrough Hall & Gardens
This imposing Georgian mansion contains one of England’s best baroque interiors. Over 100 pictures are on loan from the National Portrait Gallery. Outside there is a delightful walled garden and a fantastic adventure playground.

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