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The Town Of Ilkeston

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Ilkeston is a town within the Borough of Erewash, in Derbyshire, England. It lies on the River Erewash, from which the local borough takes its name. Its population at the 2001 census was 37,550. Its major industries were traditionally coal mining, iron working and lace making / textiles, but these have all but disappeared in the last few decades.

The town is close to both Derby and Nottingham and is near to the M1 motorway. Although Ilkeston lies within Derbyshire, it is closer to Nottingham than it is to Derby. The eastern boundary of Ilkeston is only two miles from Nottingham's western edge. Ilkeston is considered by the Office for National Statistics to be part of the Nottingham Urban Area.

History and Culture

Ilkeston was probably founded in the 6th century AD, and gets its name from its supposed founder, Elch or Elcha, who was an Anglian chieftain ("Elka's Tun" = Elka's Town). The town appears as Tilchestune in the Domesday Book when it was owned principally by Gilbert de Ghent. Gilbert also controlled nearby Shipley, West Hallam and Stanton by Dale.[1] Ilkeston was created a borough by Queen Victoria in 1887.

Ilkeston is one of the few places where the distinctive dialect of East Midlands English is extensively spoken. Ilkeston is referred to as 'Ilson' in this dialect. One might greet a friend with "Eh up, me duck!" or "Ah do?".

The American Adventure, a large theme park which closed in 2007, was located on the outskirts of Ilkeston on the former Woodside Colliery adjoining Shipley Country Park.

Stanton Ironworks

One of the biggest and most important local employers was the Stanton Ironworks, later known as Stanton and Staveley - the continuation of a long stading tradition of iron working in this area. There has been evidence of iron working and quarrying in the area since Roman times and the industry began blossoming into a huge industrial concern in the 1780s. By the mid 19th century there were several blast furnaces and the production rose from around 500 tons of pig iron per month to 7,000 at the end of the century. Steel pipe manufacturing began at Stanton after World War I and later concrete pipes were produced, Stanton being the first in the UK to develop the 'spun pipe' process.

In the mid 19th century the works produced 20,000 tons of iron castings per year, 2.5 millions by 1905. Up to 12,500 people were employed during the period when the works were part of British Steel Corporation of which 7,000 worked at the Stanton works. During its long existence the works produced huge quantities of a variety of products including pig iron, tunnel castings, (used in projects such as the London Underground), pipes and street furniture as well as bitumen, roadstone, chemicals and munition casings. It is likely that if you live in the UK, you are not far away from a S&S manhole cover or lamp post. The works gradually declined, the business being run from 1985 by the French Saint-Gobain Group. The last casting was an emotional event in 2007. The huge Stanton site has been partially given over to business park and the rest of the site is earmarked for redevelopment which is subject to local opposition.

[edit] Ilkeston Charter Fair

Ilkeston Market Place[6] is the site of a Charter fair.[7] The fair celebrated its 750th anniversary in 2002, the Charter being granted by King Henry III in 1252. This makes the fair older than Nottingham's famous Goose Fair and it is one of the largest street fairs in the Country, indeed in Europe.

The present fair developed from two separate fairs, as another 'agricultural hiring fair' or 'Statutes Fair' was traditionally held on Wakes week in October as well as the original Charter Fair which was held on the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (15 August). The two fairs were combined in 1888 and the one Charter Fair has been held in October ever since.

Since 1931 the fair has been officially opened by the Mayor - first of Ilkeston and since 1974 of Erewash - on the Fair Thursday at noon with the Town Clerk or latterly the Council's Solicitor reading the Charter from the steps of the Town Hall.

[edit] Railway

Ilkeston no longer has a railway station despite its substantial population and the fact that the Midland Main Line (formerly part of the Midland Railway, later the LMS) skirts the eastern edge of the town. Ilkeston once had three stations. Ilkeston Junction station, also known as "Ilkeston Junction & Cossall" was on the Midland Main Line: this station closed in January 1967. Plans to build a new station (thought to be close to the former Ilkeston Junction) have often been speculated about and announced, but to date little action has been seen. A short branch led from this station to Ilkeston Town station, at the north end of Bath Street, which closed to passengers in June 1947.

Ilkeston's third station was Ilkeston North, on the former Great Northern Railway (later LNER) line from Nottingham to Derby Friargate station, closed in September 1964. A major feature of this line was Bennerley Viaduct, a 1,452-foot (443 m) long, 61-foot (19 m) high, wrought iron structure which still crosses the Erewash valley just to the north east of Ilkeston. Once threatened with demolition, it is now a Grade 2 listed building, though the removal of the embankments at either end have left it an oddly isolated free-standing structure surrounded by fields.[8]

The nearest currently operating station is Langley Mill.

[edit] Ilkeston spa baths

From early in the 19th century the existence of natural mineral waters was noted here and exploited. A local businessman Thomas Potter built, in 1831, the famous Ilkeston Bath at the bottom of Town Street attached to the Rutland Hotel.[9] For over 60 years the baths helped tourism to the town at a time when spa towns like Bath and Harrogate enjoyed popularity. 'If you're doubled in pain and thin as a lath, Come at once then and try, the famed Ilkeston Bath,' was a well known advertising slogan. A mixture of a general decline in the popularity of spa bathing and, reportable, contamination of the waters from mining activities led to the eventual closure of the baths just before 1900. The baths and the adjacent Rutland Hotel, which also enjoyed a revenue from tourism, no longer exist though they are remembered in the name of 'Bath Street'.[10]

[edit] Sport

Derbyshire County Cricket Club played one or two first-class cricket matches per season on the Rutland Recreation Ground between 1925 and 1994 and one-day matches at the ground from 1970 to 1994.

Local football club Ilkeston Town was disestablished in 2010, after a 114 year history. It was reformed as Ilkeston F.C. in 2011.

[edit] Twin town
Châlons-en-Champagne in France, since 1957.[11]

[edit] Notable residents
William Roache,[12] (who plays Ken Barlow in Coronation Street) was born at Ilkeston in 1932, though he now lives at Wilmslow in Cheshire. He now holds the world record, as the longest-serving actor to play the same role continuously, having been with the show since its inception in December 1960.
Robert Lindsay,[13] the stage and television actor probably best known for his parts in Citizen Smith and latterly My Family, was born as Robert Lindsay Stevenson in Ilkeston on December 13, 1949. Before he became an actor he worked at the nearby Stanton & Staveley steel works.
Samuel Taylor (1816–1875) the famous 'Il'son Giant' who reached the height of 7' 4" was born nearby at Hallam Fields. His grave in Stanton Road Cemetery was restored by the Cemetery's Friends in 2008.[14]

[edit] Gallery


Armstrong's Mill


Park Road Cemetery Chapel


St Mary's Church


North Side of Market Place


United Reformed Church


Ilkeston Town Hall


Needle Makers Pub


Stanton Ironworks Oct 2008 (demolished Autumn 2009)


Stanton Ironworks Remnants


Our Lady and St Thomas of Hereford


Helter skelter at Ilkeston Fair


Bennerley Viaduct



Ilkeston Skyline
[edit] See also
Ilkeston Corporation Tramways
Ilkeston Grammar School

[edit] References

1.^ Domesday Book: A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 2003. ISBN 0-14-143994-7 p.753-4
2.^ ODAAT: one day at a time... Mon, 10 Nov 2003
3.^ The Ilkeston and District Local
4.^ Archived Report - Stanton & Staveley Iron Foundry... the most epic foundry to date - UK Urban Exploration Forums
5.^ Green Squeeze - fighting to protect the Erewash countryside | Green Squeeze
6.^ Ilkeston Market Place
7.^ History of Ilkeston Fair
8.^ "Bennerley Viaduct".
9.^ History of Ilkeston 1899 page 252
10.^ Ilkeston - The Most Efficacious Spa in England
11.^ Ilkeston Twinning Association
13.^ Robert Lindsay Biography
14.^ Il'son Giant

[edit] External links


Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Ilkeston

Stanton Ironworks a journey through past times
Ilkeston news from the Derby Telegraph
The Ilkeston Community Homepage
Ilkeston Cam pictures of the town and surrounding area
Ilkeston Folk Club
Ilkeston Arts & Camera Club
Ilkeston & District Local History Society
Ilkeston Ladies Circle
The Stanton Ironworks
Erewash Borough Council

Original information taken from Wikipedia
Distributed under a Creative Commons licence

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