Donington Hall
Donington Hall is a house and residual 1,100 acre estate in Castle Donington, North West Leicestershire, located close to the city of Derby. The Hall serves as the headquarters for airline BMI. The residual estate was purchased from the Gillies Shields family in 1971 by Tom Wheatcroft, who leased the Donington Park motor racing circuit and the museum to Donington Leisure Ventures on a 150 year lease from January 2007 via his company Wheatcroft & Son.

Donington Hall
Built in the 17th century as the home of the Earl of Moira, and from the late 1800s the property of the Gillies Shields family, the hall was requisitioned at the start of World War 1 by the British government and turned into a prisoner of war camp. In 1915 Gunther Plüschow, a German pilot, made the only successful escape attempts of either world wars from Donington. The circuit at Donington Park was closed in 1939 due to World War II, when it was requisitioned by the Ministry of Defence and was converted into a military vehicle depot and storage area. With the whole estate needing extensive renovations after the war, the family rented the estate out as farm land. They retained the Hall, which after the Soviet Army ensured a Communist regime in Hungary, became a refugee camp for those who came to the East Midlands. A letter to the Daily Telegraph from the Gillies Shields and Joyce Pearce thanked all those who were providing clothing, books and toys for the children, promising that once the immediate crisis was over, it was their intention to turn Donington Hall into “a home and school for children of all nationalities who now live without hope in the displaced persons camps in Germany, their parents were our allies, their sufferings caused through loyalty to our cause.” In 1976, British Midland Airways purchased the hall from the Shields family, then renovated and converted it into their headquarters. In 2007 BMI employed 800 workers at Donington Hall.

Donington Park
Donington Park motor racing circuit was the first permanent park circuit in England, which also ended the race circuit monopoly that Brooklands had held since 1907. Fred Craner was a former motorcycle rider who had taken part in seven Isle of Man TT races, and was by 1931 a Derby garage owner and secretary of the Derby & District Motor Club. Craner approached the then owner of the estate, Alderman John Gillies Shields JP, to use the extensive roads on his land for racing. JG Shields son John Shields was a captain of Leicestershire County Cricket Club, who married a descendant of Edward Cornelius. The original track was 2 miles 327 yards (3518 m) in length, and based on normal width untarmaced estate roads. The first motor cycle race took place on Whit Monday, 1931. For 1933 Craner obtained permission to build a permanent track, with the original layout widened and tarmacked at a cost of £12,000. The first car race was held on 25 March 1933, followed by three car meetings further that year. The first Donington Park Trophy race was held on 7 October 1933, and was won by the Earl Howe in a Bugatti Type 51. In 1935 the first 300-mile Donington Grand Prix was won by Richard "Mad Jack" Shuttleworth in an Alfa Romeo P3. In the 1937 Donington Grand Prix and 1938 Donington Grand Prix, the race winners were respectively Bernd Rosemeyer and Tazio Nuvolari, both in Auto Union " Silver Arrows". Closed in 1939 due to World War 2, the circuit site was used as a military vehicle storage base. Racing did not return to Donington Park until 1973, when local builder Tom Wheatcroft purchased the entire residual estate for £110,000, and began returning the racing track to operational condition. Wheatcroft leased the land on which Donington Park motor racing circuit and the museum are located to Donington Leisure Ventures, on a 150 year lease from January 2007.