Old Ilkeston Logo

A very quiet road

Stanton Road was very quiet.

Writing in the Pioneer towards the end of the nineteenth century, a local inhabitant recalled stories of his childhood. One of them gives a flavour of what Stanton Road was like in the 1840’s.

At that time there was no gas and no furnaces, not even at Stanton, making the road dark and dismal.

Jemmy Spencer, his mate Goddard of Little Hallam and a few other friends were socialising at a house near the toll bar until late into the night. When it came to go home, Goddard expressed no fear in walking along such a lonely track to his own house and threatened serious harm to anyone who should accost him. Jemmy Spencer, however had slipped out earlier, gone home, picked up a bed-sheet and went to station himself at a lonely and dark part of Stanton Road, about 100 yards below the site of the future Havelock Inn.

Presently, when he could hear Goddard approach, Jemmy stepped out into the middle of the road, draped in his sheet, with arms outstretched. Goddard immediately stopped, assessing the situation, but then tentatively took a few paces forward before stopping again. Jemmy did likewise. This was repeated several times until the two came almost within touching distance. It was Goddard who lost courage first. He turned and made for the toll bar as fast as his legs would carry him, pursued by the ‘ghost’…and he did not stop until he had entered the house he had recently left, not via the door but through the window. (‘Kensington’ writing in the Pioneer, 1891)

Jemmy Spencer alias James Webster Spencer was the son of stockingweaver William and Ruth (nee Webster) and father of Silas ‘Silly Ass’ Spencer. A mechanic, whitesmith, watch and clock maker and cleaner, he lived most of his life in Park Road. He died in Nottingham Road in March 1878, aged 82.

At the corner of this very quiet road were the premises of Job Derbyshire.