July 12, 2018

You may be wondering where you have heard of Donington before? Not Donington Park in Castle Donington, famed for the festival and motorsport circuit, but the village of Donington.

Donington is a large village located in the county of Lincolnshire and in the 2011 census, only 2,805 people were registered as living there. However, it has been at the forefront of discovery for many years and has lead to some major findings in history.

The village is arguably most notable for being the birthplace of English navigator and cartographer, Captain Matthew Flinders on 16 March 1774. Who was famed for being the leader of the first circumnavigation of Australia and was responsible for Australia’s identification as a continent over 3 voyages between 1791 and 1810.

He attended the Thomas Cowley High School in Donington, which began life as a charity school to teach twenty poor children to learn English, but later evolved into a grammar school and is now a designated specialist Technology College. The school was also attended by former England footballer, Eric Houghton, who not only played football for Aston Villa and Notts County, but also represented Warwickshire at cricket.

Sarah Ann Swift also attended the school and she went on to founder the Royal College of Nursing in 1916 and in 1919 she was recognised for her services to nursing with a GBE.

The Lord Bruce of Donington was also educated at the school, before embarking on a military career and Member of Parliament.

Donington has also been home to timber window and door manufacturers George Barnsdale since 1884. Seventy years after the death of Matthew Flinders on 19th July 1814, Donington saw the birth of a small carpentry business in the village. The firm built a reputation of quality and craftsmanship and grew to become one of the UK’s biggest manufacturers of timber products for homeowners and commercial projects.


Taking the lead from Captain Flinders quest for discovery, George Barnsdale have embarked on their own voyage of discovery and have lead the way in ground-breaking inventions, constantly searching for new and better ways to manufacture windows and doors.

In recent years George Barnsdale has achieved a number of patents for inventing ways to improve the performance of timber products, with most recent being a plug to reduce drafts on the notoriously drafty sliding sash windows.

They have had a history of being at the forefront of discovery within the industry and as far back as the 1920’s they were involved with the development of the BS664 (British Standard for timber windows).

In 1990, George Barnsdale were the first joinery company to introduce CAD and 8 years later were the first to install a CNC machine. These early implementations have ensured that the village of Donington will constantly be associated with discovery.