From Chain Row and then ..
Below England’s Field, now Albert Street, and the next field (Queen Street Field?), was a drive leading to a nice large house, the entrance to it being through a white gate and a grove of trees on Derby Road.
Christopher Harrison had lived in it — he was commonly called Kester Harrison. He had retired from business.
For some time after he died it remained empty, then it was divided, and Anthony’s and Benniston’s lived in it.
In April 1804 hosier Christopher ‘Kester’ Harrison had married Nanny Skevington, the daughter of carpenter Henry and Catherine (nee Matthews).
He purchased this property – Needham’s Croft – in 1829 from landowner John Michael Fellows and his wife Mary (nee Cocker) of Risley.
By the 1840’s the site had six houses upon it, including that of ‘Kester’.
His residence is sometimes referred to as ‘Mount Pleasant’ in Derby Road.
Not perfect but important, the 1848 Public Health Act gave some boroughs limited powers over drainage and sewerage, sanitation, waste removal, water and medical provision.
Also, in Section XLI (41) of the Act, it was stated that a Local Board of Health might procure or prepare a map of the area, showing ‘a System of Sewerage for effectively draining their District’.
As we have seen — following the Local Government Act of 1858 (which replaced the 1848 Act) — a Local Board was eventually established in Ilkeston in 1864 …. not without some opposition !!
And a year after its formation ….
Eventually civil engineer Charles Newman Sherwood was chosen to produce the map and began work almost immediately.
A year later, October 1866, and the map was complete … the so-called (at least by me !!) ‘Local Board Map‘.
On this map we can see the drive leading from Derby Road up to the large Harrison house.
Early directories show ‘Kester’ as a grocer (1829), a shopkeeper and dealer in sundries (1829-1835) but eventually a hosier in South Street (1842) and later in a misspelled ‘Woodbridge (Moors Bridge) Lane’ (1850) while also as a glove manufacturer in the same place.
Thereafter he is described as a lace and fancy net manufacturer (1855) and a hosiery manufacturer (1857-1860).
His wife Nanny died in December 1841 and some time later Christopher acquired a ‘live-in housekeeper’, widow Edith Wright.
She was possibly born Edith Harwood in 1803, daughter of Thomas and Hannah (nee Bowren), who married William Wright in October 1828.
She was provided with accommodation in Christopher’s will should he predecease her but Edith died in September 1862 at the Derby Road premises.
In 1858 Christopher let out two of his rooms to Thomas Jones who told a sorry tale — his wife had been left behind in Chesterfield and his goods had been left behind at the railway station as he couldn’t pay their carriage charge.
The hosier lent him a shilling towards the costs but shortly thereafter Thomas absconded without repaying the loan, without paying his rent but taking with him a counterpane, sheet, pair of tongs, kettle and clock, all belonging to his former host. These items Thomas took to a local beer-house and marketed them to his fellow drinkers.
But the long arm of the law belonging to Sergeant Hudson quickly apprehended the scroundrel.
Christopher then discovered that his erstwhile lodger was in fact not Thomas Jones but Abraham Taylor whose wife was in Wolverhampton from which town he had just left in search of work.
Abraham pleaded guilty to all charges, hoping for leniency from the magistrates — who thus awarded him four calendar months at Derby House of Correction, with hard labour.
‘Kester’ died at Derby Road, in June 1864, aged 79.
After this many of his house contents came up for auction.
As well a large collection of furniture, linen, carpets, lamps, kitchen and household utensils, crockery and cutlery, glasses and ornaments, tools of all description, the inventory included four prints, two oil paintings, a warming pan, a gun, an accordion and case, barometer and telescope, 76 books including Smollett’s History of England and a family bible, a musical box and a superior eight day clock (by Shepperley and Pearce of Nottingham).
A fortnight later and Christopher’s premises in Derby Road were for sale by auction.
These were described as ‘seven freehold messuages or tenements adjoining together with the large garden, orchard and outbuildings’, covering nearly half an acre and once occupied by Christopher and his under tenants, though formerly occupied as one residence.
The property had an elevated position, commanding an extensive view of the surrounding countryside, and had a carriage approach from Derby Road.
It was eventually sold in 1868 to hosier Charles Sudbury.
An Old Scholar recalled Christopher as having his workshop in Skevington’s Yard, later known as Robey’s Yard, in South Street, where his brother-in law Henry and family lived.
“A friend, once calling in to ask how (Christopher) was getting on with his work, he replied ‘Pretty well; when I have finished this hose I am making and another, and eleven pair more, I shall just have made a dozen’.”
Let us pause at the Benistons again.