Scope and Content

Comprising: meeting papers for the board of governors, staff meetings copy minutes 1967-1976, academic board copy minutes and meeting papers 1967-1976, disciplinary committee minutes 1970-1972, subject files 1958-1976; furnishings and grounds 1940s and 1975; prospectuses, course brochures and handbooks 1950s-1976; materials collected for college history, including the history of High Melton Hall, 1950s-1970s; photographs 1891-1960s; newspaper cuttings and printed items 1902-1981

Administrative / Biographical History

Doncaster College of Education was established in 1949 and occupied the former Melton Hall in the village of High Melton. The Hall was substantially rebuilt in the early eighteenth century by John Fountayne, dean of York (a photograph of a portrait of his second, Frances Maria (née Whichcott) wife can be found at 13/13) and his descendants, renaming themselves successively as Wilson and then as Montagu, occupied the High Melton estate until its sale in 1927 (see items 12/1, 12/2 [a photocopy of the sale catalogue of 1927], 12/12 and 12/8 [historical notes on the Hall by two lecturers in history at the College] and 13/1-12, which are copies of photographs of the Hall in the early twentieth century; a newspaper article on the return of F J O Montagu after the Boer War can be found at 14/1).

The following remarks on the history of the College are based on information to be found in the items 12/12, 13, 17 and 18 below. In 1946, the Ministry of Education approached Doncaster County Borough as the possible provider of a Teacher Training College. The council agreed to the proposal and purchased High Melton Hall and 116 acres of its grounds (which included the site of the medieval deserted village of Wildthorpe, for which see 9/3) for £10,300 in December 1948. In the April of that year building work was agreed at a cost of £80,000, subsequently increased by a further £20,000 on account of unforseen difficulties in the conversion. A further £23,000 was spent on furnishings (see 10/1 for some of the designs).

The poor condition of the premises, after use first by the army and then by prisoners in the War of 1939-1945 and the problems caused by the piecemeal adaptions to the house over several centuries meant that building work was not completed in time for the first intake of students in September 1949. Consequently, students were initially accommodated in Doncaster itself and lectures were held in Elmfield House, which was already in local authority ownership. In April 1949, it was possible to accommodate 50 of the 100 students in the College buildings.

By the time of the official opening in July 1952, work was in progress on a residential block, subsequently named Montagu, so that the entire student population could be housed on site. The work was completed late in 1953 (at a cost of £75,000). Dean's Lodge and Church House were built in the early 1960s.

In 1976, the five further and higher educational colleges, including Doncaster College of Education, in the area of the recently-created Doncaster Metropolitan Borough were amalgamated into the Doncaster Metropolitan Institute of Higher Education (DMIHE), in response to central government policy announced in the Department of Education and Science circular 7/73 (see 8/10 below). The Principal of the Doncaster College of Education, D C A Bradshaw, was appointed first Principal of DMIHE.

However, in the following year, the Minister of Education decided that the national arrangements for the training of teachers should be revised, and one consequence of this was the termination of teacher-training at the DMIHE.

Access Information