Old Ilkeston Logo

Burgin’s Yard and Row

Close by the Cricket Ground and chapel …..

Burgin’s Yard

On the north side was Warner’s timber yard, and workshops, then a tiny cottage with railings in front, and Mr. Robert Fretwell’s shoeing forge. In the street was Fretwell’s blacksmith’s shop.

Above the smithy in South Street, and standing back from the road with a grass plot in front, was Mr. Burgin’s house. His garden ran parallel to South Street.

Then came Burgin’s Yard.
Two cottages stood back from the road.


In the first lived Mrs. Topliss, and her grandson William, he was a pupil teacher at the British School under Mr. Holroyd.
When he left there he became first clerk to Mr. F. Sudbury of Queen Street. Unfortunately he contracted smallpox from which he did not recover.

‘Mrs. Topliss’ was  born Ann Daykin, the daughter of South Street framework knitter George Daykin and Mary (nee Hackett).
In September 1819 she had married basket maker George Toplis and was the mother of basket maker George junior of  Weaver Row.
She was widowed in March 1860.

The children of George and Ann Toplis ….

Mary Hackett Daykin Toplis was the oldest of at least eight children.
She was baptised a couple of months after the marriage of her parents and died, unmarried, before both of her parents, in October 1855, aged 36. But not before giving birth to several illegitimate sons.
The one recalled by Adeline is William, born in September 1844, who appears on the 1861 census as a pupil teacher at the British School – John Holroyd was then its Master — and later was a book-keeper. Although he had been vaccinated, William died during the smallpox outbreak of 1866 at the age of 22 and was buried in Stanton Road Cemetery.
Another of the illegitimate sons was Herbert who in the 1860’s left Ilkeston to join with his uncle John Toplis at Oldham in Lancashire. There he worked as a grocer’s shopman, married Ellen Cooke in 1872 and fathered two daughters.
The youngest of Mary’s sons was Arthur, born in June 1851 and whose father was William Tunnicliffe, the house painter living in Moors Bridge Lane, as a widower since 1843. Arthur died in infancy in 1852 as did the oldest illegitimate son, in 1843.

Charlotte married lacemaker Jarvis Tatham in March 1845 and subsequently never wandered far from home – that is, South Street – eventually dying in Gladstone Street in June 1902.

George – (See Weaver Row)

Elizabeth married Lancashire baker James Lowe Crossley in 1849 and moved to Oldham, where brother George was to later make an appearance several years later.

Lydia married Ockbrook-born coalminer Frederick Milward in February 1855 and they too departed for the Oldham area, about 1861.

Lacemaker Samuel died in South Street on Christmas Eve 1853, aged 21.

In January 1857 John married Ruth Elizabeth Youngman, daughter of George and Hannah (nee English). In the mid 1850’s her family had come from Whittlesey in Cambridgeshire where her father had traded as a bricklayer. In Ilkeston George set up as a bookseller and stationer. By 1861 Ruth Elizabeth and husband John had left the town to go – guess whereThey too had succumbed to the lure of Oldham.

When George Toplis senior died in March 1860, the youngest son, butcher William, continued to live with his mother Ann until she died in South Street in March 1868, aged 72. Thereafter he lived with his sister Charlotte and family in Chapel Place, off Pimlico, and died there in May 1886, aged 50.


Next was Mrs. Farmer, tailoress. She kept the boys’ clothes in good order for their parents.

We are now in a court called Stockley Yard, just north of Burgin Yard and off the east of South Street.
The north end of it is approximately at the rear of the present library.

Eliza Farmer (nee Wright) had perhaps learned her trade from her first husband, Charles Spencer, tailor of Park Road and then Nottingham Road whom she had married in 1847. (Or Charles may have learned from Eliza?).
Aged 34 he died in May 1852 when Eliza was several months pregnant with their (only?) child Ann who was born in June of that year.

Before her second marriage Eliza gave birth to her daughter Eliza junior in June 1855.

She then married Loughborough-born labourer John Farmer in 1857.

The house at the top of the yard was occupied by Mrs. Cresswell, widow, and her son Sam.
She afterwards married Mr. William Green, shoemaker, and lived in the shop at the top of Queen Street.

Eliza Skevington was the youngest daughter of Robert Skevington and Elizabeth (nee Garton) and married her first husband cordwainer George Cresswell in 1842.
Their son Samuel was born in 1843 before his father died in 1846.

Eliza remained a widow until 1850 when she married another cordwainer, William Green.
With her second husband she ran a successful shoemaking/grocery trade in South Street, until moving to Nottingham, where the family established a thriving shoe manufactory.

We have already met the family on the other side of South Street and Adeline seems to be recalling a period in the 1850’s when the Greens settled in this other part of the street.

Burgin’s Row

There was then a row of five houses in South Street, also built by Mr. Burgin.

In 1861 these houses were referred to as the first part of the east side of South Street, after the Market Place.
In 1871 they were numbered as 41 to 37 South Street (East side).
We are now walking from what today is Coronation Street, past the Library and towards the Market Place.

Thomas Richardson married Elizabeth Burgin in June 1704 at St Peter’s Church, Nottingham, and thus began the line of Burgin-Richardson which was to provide Ilkeston with numerous blacksmiths and wheelwrights.
The convention I have adopted with this family is to refer to its members as ‘Burgin-Richardson’.
Other sources avoid the hyphen while to others – including Adeline — they are simply ‘Burgins’ and very rarely ‘Richardsons’.

Born in 1799, South Street blacksmith Robert Burgin-Richardson was the son of blacksmith James and Marinah (nee Smith) and the great grandson of  Thomas and Elizabeth, and had married Mary Wheatley in August 1822 – the first of his three wives.
Robert is the ‘Mr Burgin’ referred to by Adeline.

Robert was trading as a blacksmith, in partnership with his elder, unmarried brother James when the latter died in 1833.
From James, Robert inherited six houses, neighbouring his own, on the east side of South Street, together with all their gardens and outbuildings … at that time they were occupied by William Meer, widow Leadbetter, Robert Sharpe, widow Sarah Brentnall, William Rogers and George Toplis. On the 1841 census several of these houses have the same tenants.
Within the same inheritance was a close of copyhold ground referred to as ‘Little Hayes’, lying in the Hall Croft area (that is, further east, just beyond what is now Market Street). On this land were four dwelling houses, together with outbuildings and gardens, then occupied by William Stocks, Henry Mellor, and Messrs. Henshaw and Wardle. On the 1841 census these four dwellings are named as ‘Hallcroft’.
James also willed over to Robert all his partnership interests in the blacksmith business, as well as all farming stock in his possession at the time of his death.

Three years later Robert’s father, James, died, aged 90, and from him, Robert inherited the house he was then living in, and the surrounding outbuildings and yards.


House 1

Mrs. Robert Fretwell, his daughter, lived in the first, Mr. Burgin later on adding a shop to this house, and Mrs. Fretwell used it for a general business.
Her husband, Mr. R. Fretwell, had the blacksmith’s and shoeing forge lower down.

Hannah Burgin-Richardson was a daughter of Robert and Mary, and married blacksmith Job Fretwell – not Robert — in 1850.
Before the marriage Job had worked as an apprentice for his future father-in-law in South Street.

You can’t be in two places at once?
However on the 1841 census Job seems to be at Shipley, as a ‘blacksmith apprentice’, aged 15, with his family.
He also appears to be at South Street as ‘Jobe’, aged 15, the blacksmith apprentice to Robert Burgin-Richardson.

Job’s father was Job senior, employed as a labourer on the Shipley estate of Alfred Miller Mundy from his early youth until close to his death in February 1877. (Job senior’s employer died two months later in Nice, France).

After their marriage Job junior and Hannah lived initially at Grass Lane — Norman Street — where sons William Burgin and Robert were born, while their first child Marina was born and died there, aged three, in 1853.

On the Harrison, Harrod & Co. Directory of 1860 Job is listed as ‘blacksmith John Fretwell of the Common’.
However in early 1859 he had sold his smithy shop at the Common to John Whitehouse and Joseph Wilkinson  — alias The Ilkeston Boiler Works — and moved to South Street.
(The partnership of Whitehouse and Wilkinson was dissolved at the end of 1861 when John bought out Joseph and less than two months later the latter was declared bankrupt.)

In the 1870’s the Fretwell family moved out to the Newdigate Arms in West Hallam where Job is described on the 1881 census as ‘publican and farmer of 72 acres’. He was to remain there until his death in 1899.
After that his widow Hannah continued at the Inn for some years. She died in 1910, aged 85.

They had two sons,

William, who became a veterinary surgeon,

The elder son was William Burgin Fretwell, born in 1854.
The 1871 census shows him as a pupil at Holywell Street in Chesterfield, training with veterinary surgeon James Martin M.R.C.V.S.
In 1880 he married milliner/costumier Emily Heppell, daughter of London house painter Joseph and Eliza (nee Pugh) and spent the rest of the century at the Newdigate Arms with his parents.
He died in Park Road, Ilkeston in November 1910.

Bob, who died in early manhood.

Younger son Robert died in 1889, aged 32.

There was also daughter Marina but she died in 1853, aged 3.


House 2

Then Mrs. Holland, who did a good business with her mangle.

Mrs. Holland was born Mirah Ball in 1816, the youngest daughter and fourth of the 12 children of South Street lacemaker Thomas and Frances (nee West) — and older sister to the Ball’s Yard Balls.
She married sinker maker John Silvester in September 1836 and the couple had five children before John died in May 1847, aged 36.
The last child, Fanny Elizabeth, was born two months after her father’s death, and died nine months later.

She had two daughters, one was married. Fanny and Ike, son were at home.

Five years after John Silvester’s death Mirah married recently-widowed stockinger Henry Holland.
Fanny and Isaac were their two children, recalled by Adeline.
The other daughter referred to may have been Sarah Ann Silvester who married butcher John Webb Cole in 1860 and for a time thereafter lived with her mother in South Street before moving to Radford, Nottingham about 1862.

Born in 1853 Fanny Holland was ‘at home’ but by 1871 had gone into domestic service, eventually to find herself in Lenton, Nottingham where in  April 1883 she married coal dealer Henry Hardy.

Gap alert!  Born three years after Fanny, her brother Isaac Holland appears on the 1871 census living at the railway Gate House in Chilwell with half brother and station master John Silvester and his family.
What happened to Ike after that?

Mirah was widowed a second time when Henry Holland died in 1856, aged 33.
She then lived with members of her family, in and out of Ilkeston, working as a ‘professional nurse’.
By early September 1882 she was employed by lace and needle maker William Tatham and his wife Elizabeth Ann, at Stanley House, Stanley Street …. perhaps to help look after their son Alfred Ernest who was just two weeks old?
And it was there she died, suddenly, from ‘heart disease’ having suffered from palpitations of the heart for several years. She was 65.

One of Mirah’s elder sisters, Mary Ball, had married blacksmith William Burgin-Richardson in 1838.
He was the illegitimate son of Mary and the nephew of blacksmith Robert of Burgin Yard whom we have just met.
He was also first cousin to Bob Burgin-Richardson whom we are about to meet.


House 3.

Then Bob Burgin (Mr. Burgin’s only son) with one daughter.

Bob Burgin – alias Robert Wheatley Burgin-Richardson — plumber, painter, glazier and fitter, was one of the two sons of Robert senior and Mary (nee Wheatley) and was born in 1837.

In 1859 he married Ironville-born Julia Brown, daughter of carter John and Judith (nee Wallis) but within four years Julia was dead, less than two weeks after the birth of their second daughter Marina. The latter died in infancy and so Adeline’s ‘one daughter’ is Lizzie Mary born in July 1860.

After the death of her mother, Lizzie Mary went to live with her grandfather Robert, while her father Bob took up residence at 44 Derby Road, with a widow named Mary Ann Siddons.
They continued to live there, got married in May 1882, and Mary Ann died there in July 1885 aged 43.

Bob died in South Street in August 1888.

Daughter Lizzie Mary trained as a dressmaker and in 1893 married widower De Lacy Campbell Evans, a colliery clerk and local Methodist preacher.

Overlooked by Adeline, the other son of Robert senior and Mary was William Burgin-Richardson, born in 1830, a blacksmith working with his father in South Street.
He married Eliza Marshall of Long Eaton in October 1856.
She was a daughter of  Thomas, the innkeeper of the Navigation Inn at Trent Lock, and Elizabeth (nee Burton).
After their marriage William and Eliza left for Babbington and then Kimberley where they farmed.

In July 1842 Eliza Marshall’s older sister Sarah had married Ilkeston butcher Isaac Burgin-Richardson, cousin of William. We shall meet her later at Mount Street off Bath Street.

And the other daughters of Robert senior and Mary (nee Wheatley) ….

Clementia died in infancy.

Elizabeth married Edmund Tatham.

Marina married Charles Sudbury.


House 4.

Then came Mrs. Butt, the mother of the late James Butt,

Two possibilities – which one was ‘Mrs. Butt’?  What do you think?

Possibility 1

‘Mrs Butt’ was Elizabeth Wheatley, the second wife of William Butt.
William was born in the parish of Grantham and was a framework knitter by trade.
In 1809 he had joined the 73rd Foot Regiment at Nottingham when he gave his age as 16.
For 12 years he served as a private and was then transferred to the 83rd Foot where he was almost instantly promoted to corporal.
After five years he was reduced in rank, back to private, and that is how he left the army in 1831.
During his army career he served nine months in New South Wales, over 15 years in the East Indies including Ceylon, and the rest of the time was in England.
At his discharge in June 1831 William was reportedly a month short of his 38th birthday, five feet six inches tall, with dark brown hair, grey eyes and a sallow complexion. Assessed as ‘a good and efficient soldier’ he left the regiment because of disability not attributable to ‘neglect, design, vice or intemperance, or constitutional disease’.
The army surgeon wrote that William was ‘worn out in consequence of repeated attacks of fever and hepatitis in Ceylon by the effects of climate’, as well as having extensive varicose veins in both legs. He was now clearly unfit for active duty.

Puzzle alert!  In November 1832 Julia Butt, aged 27, was buried at St. Mary’s Church in Ilkeston.
Was she William’s first wife?

Coal dealer James Butt was the son of William and his first wife, and was born about 1822 at Point de Galle in Ceylon.

When his first wife died William married Breaston-born Elizabeth Wheatley in August 1837, and the 1841 census places the family in Moors Bridge Lane.

William died in January 1850 — his age recorded as 62 — and a year later his widow ‘Mrs. Butt’ became ‘Mrs. Woodruffe’ when Elizabeth remarried, to Costock-born John Woodruffe…. several years before Adeline was born.

According to the 1851 census the Woodruffes were now in East Street with step-son James.

Did Elizabeth ever move out of that area?

Adeline would be a very young child, less than four years old, when James’s step-mother died in Burr Lane in June 1858, aged 48 — as Mrs Woodruffe.

Five months after the death of Elizabeth, John Woodruffe remarried, to Ann Fox. (See Jonty’s neighbours).

Possibility 2.

‘Mrs. Butt’ was the wife of coal dealer James, son of William.

Two years before the death of his step-mother Elizabeth, James Butt, then a framework knitter, had married Ann Mitchell alias Bamford in May 1856, and by 1861 had established himself as a coal dealer in South Street – in the area suggested by Adeline – with his wife and three children.

Born in July 1856, their first child was Martha Julia – the names of his sister and his mother?

Son James junior was the fifth child, born in 1864.
Like his father William, James senior was active as a Wesleyan Sunday school teacher.
Later in life he moved into Belper Street and in the 1880’s into Union Road.
James died there, at Elm Tree Cottage – number 24 – in May 1906, aged 84.
His widow Ann died at the home of her eldest son, baker and grocer William – at 1 Regent Street – in March 1914 aged 88.

In 1883 James’s second son Arthur was appointed as an assistant master at Granby Board Schools shortly after they were opened and as headmaster of the new Kensington Schools in 1885. He was later Master of Granby Board School while his wife Fanny Eugenia was one-time Mistress of the National School infants.

Son James junior worked as a lace warehouseman and in July 1890 married schoolmistress Alice Mary Yeomans, daughter of Charles, the keeper of the Church Institute Coffee Tavern in Market Street, and Elizabeth (nee Mitchell).

Alice Mary was later the Mistress of Chaucer Street Infants school.


House 5…. 

and last (house) Mr. and Mrs. Hayes. Mr. Hayes was a barber and tailor.

There appears to be no ‘Mr and Mrs Hayes’ who fit Adeline’s description, living in this area.
It could be that she is recalling William Hunt, tailor and barber, and his wife Kezia (nee Trueman), who lived here for many married years before moving into East Street in the later 1860’s.
William was the son of collier Henry Hunt and Ann (nee Higgett). His wife’s nephew, Elijah Higgett, was also a tailor and barber, trading in Bath Street (See To Mount Street).
William’s wife Kezia was the daughter of hosier Thomas Trueman and Ruth (nee Seal) and sister of Ann, the wife of  Thomas Flinders.
Kezia was often employed around the town to act as nurse to the seriously ill.

Still trading as a hairdresser, William Hunt died at number 4 East Street in June 1881. Kezia then moved to Ray Street in Heanor, to the home of her niece Ruth Hofton who was by then married to Heanor-born Isaac Bircumshaw, another tailor and hairdresser !!
And she died there in September 1893, aged 79.

However the 1851 Census does reveal a Hayes presence at the Cricket Ground, that of framework knitter John and his wife Mary (nee Sisson), the daughter of Strelley collier Samuel and Ann. When Mary died in 1855 John remarried to Sarah Martin in 1858, and went to live in Nottingham. His place at the Cricket Ground seems to have been taken by his brother and silk glove hand Eli and his wife Ellen (nee Shaw), daughter of Nottingham Road labourer John and Mary (nee Eminson).
But no barber, no tailor.

The Girls’ Church School was not built until 1859 (1851 says Adeline correctly in another letter), so there was not any building in the Market Place, with the exception of the old Butter Market.
The Boys’ School was in the room over the Butter Market, until the National School was built opposite the Church.
When the wall was built around the playground of the Girl’s school, it formed a finish to South Street.


And so we can walk back over the Market Place to walk down the west side of Bath Street, starting at the Old Harrow Inn.


Grand Tour