Doncaster's elegant Mansion House, a focus for civic pride, has dominated the High Street for over two hundred and fifty years. It is one of only four surviving civic Mansion Houses in the country. The first was built by the corporation of Newcastle upon Tyne in 1691, but was demolished in the redevelopment of the town centre in the mid-nineteenth century. York began its own mansion house in 1725, followed by London in 1739 and finally by Bristol in 1783.
The Bristol mansion house was built solely as a home for the mayor and the mansion houses of London and York provided accommodation for the mayor as one of their functions. Doncaster Mansion House, however, was designed as a place for corporate entertaining and, although there were several rooms to provide living accommodation, the house was never intended as a residence for the mayor in his year of office, although a few mayors made use of the rooms for this purpose.
In these documents, we take a tour of the Doncaster Mansion House and look into some aspects of its history. The documents use specially-commissioned photographs of the Mansion House, old engravings, and plates from the book which its architect published in 1751 to advertise his achievement. This book is James Paine's Plans, Elevations, Sections and other Ornaments of the Mansion House belonging to the Corporation of Doncaster. A copy of the book can be seen at Doncaster Archives. The book was reprinted in 2002 by Hull Academic Press. A copy of this reprint is to be found at Doncaster Archives and at the Local History Library in the Doncaster Central Library.