The History of The Earl of Doncaster Hotel

Since 1816 licenced premises have existed on the site now occupied by The Earl.

For centuries Doncaster has been a popular resting point for visitors travelling between the North & South, especially during the golden age of coaching. The Earl has seen many changes over the years and we have listed the significant points below.


In 1816 the 'Doncaster Arms' opened on this site.

At some point in the 1800's the Doncaster Arms changed it's name to the "Turf Hotel" - a reference to it's nearby neighbour Doncaster Racecourse, home of the St. Leger horse race, which was first run in 1776.

The development of the Railway industry saw the decline of coaching as a popular transport and in turn the fortunes of the Hotel, however with the development of the motor car & the Great North Road - now the A1, this route again became an one and Doncaster and the Earl resumed their positions of importance.

In 1908 the 'Turf Hotel' was renamed 'The Earl of Doncaster Arms Hotel'.

In 1933 the hotel was demolished and plans were made to replace it with a new, modern hotel. The owners, the Barnsley Brewery, wanted the new building to reflect modern tastes and design.

The new Hotel was built in the popular Art Deco style, famous throughout the 1930's - To this day it remains one of the finest examples of this style in South Yorkshire.

The hotel was completed in 1938.

The outbreak of war prevented The Earl from opening fully - during and for some some time after the war, the Ministry of Food used it as a sugar storage factory, with only two ground floor bars open to the public.

November 5th, 1954 The Earl finally opened fully. Upon opening the Doncaster Gazette reported the Earl to be, "Doncaster's most up-to-date residential hotel, equipped and tastefully decorated in luxurious west-end style". It boasted "A magnificent ballroom accommodating 250, 5 bars, an elegant restaurant serving 120, and 30 bedrooms furnished in contemporary style at its best".

The next 3 decades proved to be a period of uncertainty with various owners and even a name change - In 1969 it became known as the 'Doncaster Acorn' until 1974 when it was restored to simply 'The Earl of Doncaster'.

In the mid 1970's the building was renovated to accommodate more guests and to provide greater comfort. - the bars, restaurants and ballroom were all modernised, although the alterations did produce a confusion of styles and unfortunately much of the Art Deco design was lost.

In the early 1990's, again under new management, an extensive refurbishment was undertaken to restore The Earl to it's former glory by returning to the splendid Art Deco design, decoration and features of 1938.

The Earl now stands established as one of Doncaster's finest hotels, offering supreme accommodation, conference & banqueting facilities.

Do you have any pictures of the Earl from days gone by?

If so, we would very much like to include them on this site, please contact us & we'll arrange to collect them. We will, of course return all materials after use.

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