The Development of the Race Circuit and Wartime Donington Park
After the First World War the estate was bought by John Gillies Shields who hosted functions for paid visitors in both the Hall and the grounds. Fred Craner persuaded the owner to host motor racing in the grounds with the first race being held in 1931. The track was laid out using the paths and roads of the Donington estate. The first major car events staged were the 200 mile tourist trophy races and these were followed in 1935 by the 'Donington Grand Prix'. Racing was brought to a halt by the onset of the Second World War in 1939. The park was requisitioned by the War Office and became No. 29 Vehicle Reserve Depot, the largest military facility of this type, housing up to 500,000 vehicles at one time.
Documents and postcard courtesy of Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland.