THE Danum Hotel in High Street may be more than 100-years-old, but this popular town centre hostelry is not the first hotel to occupy its town centre site.
In fact very few folk will know that it was actually built on the former site of the imposing Ram Hotel, and if that fact surprises you, even further back in time it was The Bay Horse Inn.
During the coaching era the Ram was a noted posting house, which for a time competed for customers with The Reindeer, itself an imposing public house across the road at the Hall Gate junction.
At the beginning of the 20th Century, Doncaster Corporation embarked on a series of street widening schemes and by 1906, it was looking to widen the Cleveland Street and High Street junction and the Ram was quite simply standing in its way.
So it did what councils have been doing throughout history and purchased the Ram from owners Fisher and Co for the sum of £5,500.
As the corporation only required a part of the site for its street improvements, the remainder was to be sold. However, a condition of the sale made it the responsibility of the purchaser to demolish the Ram at its own expense within two years of the purchase date before anything was done with the land.
In November 1907 the corporation agreed to a price of £4,500 offered by A Greensmith on behalf of the Planet Trading Co Ltd, which also owned the Reindeer and The Salutation hotels - two of the town’s most prominent coaching houses.
On January 28, 1908, the corporation approved a plan of the proposed St Leger Hotel and lock-up shops at the corner of High Street and Cleveland Street for the Planet Trading Co Ltd.
Yes you read it right, the proposed name was first and foremost to be The St. Leger Hotel. What happened then is still a mystery and begs the question why it never retained that name. An amended plan for the new building was eventually passed by the corporation on February 5, 1908, yet there was no mention of it being called the St Leger Hotel and that suggested name disappeared forever from that particular site.
At the local Brewster sessions held in the same month, the plan was submitted to the justices by Frank Allen on behalf of the owners, and he acknowledged that “if the owners desired to alter the name of the premises they must make a special application to the justices”.
It is therefore assumed that this is what occurred in the following months and the name Danum was adopted with the hotel being designed by architect W H Wagstaffe of Cleveland Street.
Work appears to have been under way by August of that year, and one year later on August 27, 1909, The Doncaster Gazette announced that: “The hotel will be opened for receiving visitors on September 1 or thereabouts.”
The Danum Hotel was soon up and running and apart from minor alterations the exterior of this fine hotel hasn’t changed all that much at all from that day to this.