In 1348, Stainforth received a Royal Charter, entitling it to hold a weekly market Monday - Fridays and an annual ten-day fair. The town briefly thrived as a commercial centre and port and attracted traders from as far afield as the Isle of Axholme, but the market soon slumped as Bawtry grew in importance.
Stainforth Railway station opened on 7 July 1856 and closed on 1 October 1866. The town is now served by Hatfield and Stainforth railway station.
Speedway racing was staged at the greyhound stadium in the town in 1930. The original "professional" promotion failed and a few meetings organised by a riders' co-operative were staged at the venue.
More recently, Stainforth was a mining village, with Hatfield Main Colliery at its centre. The colliery was open for around 80 years, from when it entered full production in 1921 up to it closing in August 2001. The colliery began re-opening in 2006 and resumed full production in January 2008. Work is also due to begin on a new 900MW coal-fired power station and industrial estate, called Hatfield Power Park.
The colliery and the surrounding area have been used in a number of television series and films, most notably Dalziel and Pascoe, Brassed Off, and more recently Faith.
LORD GEORGE PORTER (1920 - 2002)
He was Assistant Director of the British Rayon Research Association from 1953-4. Porter became Fullerian Professor of Chemistry and Director of the Royal Institution in 1966 during which, he was instrumental in the setting up of Applied Photophysics, a company created in connection with his group's work. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1967 and in the same year he became a Visiting Professor at University College London.
Porter was knighted in 1972 and was made a life peer as Baron Porter of Luddenham, of Luddenham in the County of Kent, in 1990.
Porter was a major contributor to the public understanding of science and served as, among other roles, Chancellor of the University of Leicester between 1984 and 1995. In 2001, the University's chemistry building was named the George Porter Building in his honour and Stainforth has a street named after him also.
Lord George Porter was born in Stainforth and was educated at Thorne Grammar School followed by the University of Leeds where he gainedhis first degree in chemistry. He then served in the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve during the Second World War. Following which he went on to do research at Cambridge where he began the work thatled to becoming a Nobel Laureate.
STAINFORTH & KEADBY CANAL
Stainforth & Keadby Canal came under construction in late 1793, opening without ceremony in early 1802.
The canal had a lock at Thorne and another where it joined the River Trent at Keadby. This lock had four sets of gates, so that it could be used whether the level of the river was higher or lower than that of the canal.
In 1828, the Keadby end of the canal was improved, and a new deep water jetty was constructed on the Trent in 1833. Traffic improved, with boats using the canal as an easy way to reach the Don.
Over the years, ownership of the Canal has changed on a number of occasions. Despite the lack of investment and the difficulties of the First World War, the waterways were still quite busy, with traffic recovering from 381,727 tons in 1926, the year of the general strike, to over 800,000 tons in 1937. Bramwith lock, the first on the Stainforth and Keadby, was lengthened in 1932, and a new colliery layby was constructed to enable compartment boats to reach Hatfield Main Colliery. Stainforth lock, which connected the canal to the River Don, was closed in 1939. After the Second World War, the canals were nationalised on 1 January 1948.
The Stainforth & Keadby Canal is now part of the Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation. It is little used for commercial carrying, but as it is part of the fully connected network of English and Welsh canals, narrowboating holidaymakers can reach Keadby from as far away as Bristol, Llangollen, Lancaster, Ripon or London.
Recent years have seen the development of Stainforth Waterside Regeneration Group which has been instrumental in sourcing funds for local canal improvements and the inception of an annual water festival which still attracts bargees from far and wide.