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Old Ilson Blog 1852

January 1852

Jan 1st 

I begin the New Year by hoping for a prosperous future for all my regular readers … both of you.

Jan 2nd 

The fund-raising for a new chapel for the Primitive Methodists continues apace and yesterday a large tea meeting was held in the British schoolrooms in Bath Street for this purpose. Visitors were charged for refreshments and in the evening two large public meetings were held at the schoolrooms and at the existing chapel in Chapel Street. I did not attend but have heard that these events attracted an audience of at least 700 persons.

Jan 25th

My good friend George Small, one of our town constables, was at the Country Hall in Derby yesterday to see two scoundrels, recently apprehended through his sterling efforts, be committed for trial at the next assizes.
They turned out to be two out-of-towners named Abraham Gillott and Joseph Elliott who had been passing counterfeit coins in local shops.
One shopkeeper to suffer was Elizabeth Skevington in Cotmanhay who sold Gillott half an ounce of tobacco and gave him ten and one halfpenny change for the shilling she was offered as payment. Shortly after, Miss Skevington realised that the shilling was bad and a search was organised for the miscreant. He was soon found, in the company of his mate Elliott, just down the road at Joseph Aldred’s Rose and Crown Inn where both tried vigorously to escape … but not sufficiently for our gallant and active constable!!
When searched, more bad coinage was found on them as well as a lot of small change. It appears that their ploy was to visit several local tradesmen in turn, purchase just a small amount of tobacco, and pay with their home-made shillings.
George is sure that both will get what they deserve at the Assizes.

Jan 27th

Yesterday evening I attended a much anticipated event .. the first of this season’s lectures at the Mechanics’ Library at the British School, and I must confess that I was not disappointed.
With John Ball acting as chairman, the Rev Charles Hargreaves of the Independent Chapel gave a most humorous and instructive lecture, with illustrative quotations, on the lives of the Greek philosophers Democritus, Heraclitus and Diogenes to a packed room of eager listeners.
At the end of the meeting it was unanimously resolved that a Mutual Improvement Class be formed. This had been discussed about a week ago at the Independent Chapel when Thomas Walton, Master at the British School and lecturer of the Mechanics’ Library appeared as the driving force behind this initiative.

Jan 29th

It appears that Samuel Potter of the Park and proprietor of several coal mines in the district is having trouble with his employees.
Some of them appeared before the Derby Magistrates last week as a result of their demand for an increase in wages of about sixpence per day. It should be noted that before any alteration can be made a month’s notice must be given by either party. Thus when the increase was rightly refused the men withdrew their labour, causing much inconvenience and loss of earnings to many of their fellow workers, and of course to Mr. Potter.
After a severe reprimand and warning as to their future conduct they were allowed to go free on payment of their expenses.
It is said that Mr Potter expected the recalcitrants to be more sternly punished than with a mere slap on the buttocks, and is pursuing the supposed ringleader with much vigour.

Jan 30th

News from the inquest into the the death of Cotmanhay collier Elisha Henshaw, aged 72.
Three days ago the man went to work as usual but had to return home as he was feeling distinctly unwell. Some medicine from Dr Norman failed to revive him and he died at about three o’clock the next morning.
The medical man had some time earlier ordered that a truss be supplied to Elisha, but either the assistant overseer or the relieving officer failed to follow the order. Neglect is suspected.
A postmortem showed death from inflammation of the bowels when an abscess which had formed in that body area had burst while Elisha was at work.

February 

Feb 20th

Under the heading of ‘Scarcity of houses at Ilkeston’ there appeared an article in today’s Nottingham Review and General Advertiser’ which I duly copy here. Ilkestonians of a thin skin might take offence at some of its parts but I leave you to be the judge.
My initial thought is that it might well have been penned by that ‘sprited innkeeper’ who lives at the northern end of Bath Street … note the name!!

“In this prettily situated and thriving little town of seven thousand inhabitants, there is scarcely a house to be had at the present time, either for love or money. This is no doubt owing in a great measure to the influx of people from different parts, who are attracted hither to work at the ironstone ‘diggings’; large quantities of ironstone of the very best quality having during the last few years been found in this neighbourhood, and for which there is an extensive demand to supply the neighbouring furnaces of Codnor Park, Stanton and Hallam.
“The buildings, generally speaking, especially the houses, are mean and very inconvenient. A stranger on entering one of them would at once conclude that the aborigines, or primitive natives of the place, must have been a race of dwarfs, the antipodes of what many of them now are. Be this as it may, they look, from their grotesque and irregular appearance, as if they had dropped at random from the clouds, and proclaim a state of mediæval civilization altogether incompatible with the architectural improvements of the present age; and it is a matter of wonder, that the respectable and well-to-do middle classes here, of which of late years a large number have sprung up, do not set about building houses in the modern style of architecture, with its infinitely superior neatness and accommodation.
“Recently, it is true, the example of erecting buildings of the kind just alluded to has been partially set by a few of the spirited inhabitants, but as yet their laudable example has not been followed by others. We happen to know that if a score or two of such houses were built in the principal thoroughfares they would not remain a day untenanted. And as Ilkeston can boast of excellent baths, the waters of which are highly alkaline, their medical properties having been most satisfactorily proved in a variety of maladies, and which is also apparent from the increasing number of visitors who come to Ilkeston in the summer season, where accommodation of excellent quality is provided by Mr. Hives, the spirited proprietor of the Rutland Arms and the baths, and as the air is mild, pure, and very salubrious, the town connected with Nottingham and Derby, and has a good station of its own, visitors and invalids would thus be attracted to it if there were a sufficiency (which there is not at times) of genteel and private lodgings; and no doubt in process of time, Ilkeston might become a fashionable watering place. Those who have superfluous cash rusting in their coffers, would, we are persuaded, find house building of the kind referred to both a safe and lucrative investment for their money.”

Feb 22nd

A couple of days ago I managed to squeeze into a lecture given at the National School-room in the Market Place and chaired by Matthew Hobson. The speaker was Mr J Briggs who had travelled from Derby to speak on the evils of the Truck System. For those not informed on the subject this is the system, adopted by some employers, of paying their workers partly in goods, a system enabling much abuse and misuse. It allows employees to be fleeced by unscrupulous employers and limits how they might spend their own hard-earned wages. At the same time local traders are deprived of the custom and business of the work people.
I arrived at the gathering an opponent of this nefarious system and left even more convinced of the need to outlaw it.

March

Mar 2nd

Yesterday … a joyous occasion in Cotmanhay.
A tea meeting was held by the Primitive Methodists there, to raise funds for the purchase of land in that village. The land, in a central and most pleasant situation, has already been purchased and soon a chapel will be erected  upon it.
The Methodists have preached at Cotmanhay for about 33 years without ever obtaining or building a chapel there. At present they use a room which can accommodate about 150 persons but, with the growth of the congregation, is now much too small….. at least 180 people were present for the tea !!
About £30 was promised for the fund, in addition to the proceeds from the tea. Even I made a contribution !!

Mar 14th

The coin counterfeiters Gillott and Elliott, caught in January by our intrepid parish constable George Small, had their day at Derby Assizes two days ago when more details of their unlawful exploits in the town were uncovered.
The first Cotmanhay shop they had visited was that of William Skevington where Elliott attempted to buy a small amount of tobacco. He was served by William’s daughter Avis who didn’t have sufficient change for the shilling offered as payment, such that Elliott left empty-handed.
The next shop visited by Elliott was that of grocer William Taylor where his wife Eliza handed over half an ounce of tobacco, received a shilling as payment and gave 10½d in change. Then Elliott’s mate, Gillott, entered the shop and a similar transaction ensued. Thus Eliza was left with two ‘bad’ shillings which was only revealed when her husband examined them the following morning. He then handed them over to the constable.
The couple also visited the South Street shop of William Thompson where Elliott bought a pennyworth of gun caps from William’s daughter Eliza. She too had no change but sent out for some. Elliott seems to have thought it prudent to leave at this point … without his change or his shilling, which was also handed over to constable Small.
Meanwhile the Skevington shop received another visit, this time from Gillott, when daughter Elizabeth sold him half an ounce of tobacco, received a shilling and gave change. Another ‘bad’ coin to hand over to George Small.
Elliott next tried the Cotmanhay shop of Robert Booth — also the proprietor of the Druids Arms — where his wife Fanny was rightly suspicious of the shilling but belatedly accepted it. Elliott left with his tobacco and his change, while here was another shilling for George.
Elliott also duped grocer Luke Wright who was thus left with another coin to hand over….. George’s pockets must have been bulging by now !!
But now William Skevington decided to take the law into his own hands and was alerted that the two counterfeiters were at Joseph Aldred’s public house, the Rose and Crown. They had already tried to buy a pint with one of their shillings which had aroused suspicion. A search of their persons revealed what they had been up to and with help, William restrained then until George arrived.
The constable later searched one of Elliott’s pockets and found eight good sixpences, seventeen half ounces of tobacco and some copper. And when a servant later cleaned the inn room where the two had been detained while they awaited the arrival of ‘the law’, she found a pouch of ten shilling coins … none of them minted legally !!
The trial resulted in ‘guilty’ verdicts for both men, who were then sentenced to twelve months in prison with hard labour.

Mar 16th

Yesterday saw the end of the lecture season for the Ilkeston Mechanics’ Library and Literary Institution … and as usual I was in attendance to take advantage of the Tea Party and subsequent musical entertainment laid on at the British school-rooms. The Ilkeston Philharmonic Band was present and its contribution was interspersed with many (too many?) addresses. I recall that doctors George Blake Norman and Robert Murray, the Revs Charles Hargreaves, Caleb Springthorpe and William Carthy, and Messrs Henry West, Thomas Walton and Richard Vickerstaff, all made their mark verbally.
Dr Norman entreated more women to join the society, for, through reading, their domestic happiness would be greatly enhanced .. and if they had not the time themselves, then their husbands or children might read to them; their fingers might keep pace with the reader and they might then ply the needle even more quickly.
The Rev Carthy felt that a literary taste had been fostered in the town, though much more work needed to be done … and he deplored the idea that “to educate the people is to endanger the state“.
And it was the Rev Hargreaves who, while noting the diversity of party and sect represented within the Institution, felt that it needed to be patronized more extensively by those whom it was intended to benefit most … namely the working classes.

Mar 22nd

Gossipers are in fine voice around the town … a ‘murder’ has been committed by an erstwhile resident, or so it is alleged, and by most people she has already judged to be guilty.
I lay the facts out as best I understand them.

On December 3rd of last year, William Calladine, in the employ of Smith, Cox and Co., cheese factors of Siddals Road, Derby, was at the company’s warehouse close to the railway station and bordered by a canal, when he saw what he thought was the limb of a child in the water. Enlisting the help of a nearby workman he crossed the bridge, approached the object and pulled out the body of a very young girl, a brick wrapped in a cotton handkerchief and tied around the waist, to act as a weight.
After a post mortem which concluded that the child had drowned shortly after a large meal, a coroner’s inquest returned a verdict of ‘Willful Murder’ against some person or persons unknown. Although several suspect females were detained and questioned, all lines of inquiry proved fruitless … until March 17th of this year. On that day, a young woman — Selina Ride — was arrested on suspicion of the child’s murder.

This arrest came about as a result of the searching inquiries of my old friend, constable George Small, who heard rumours and gossip around the town — talk which led him to inform the police authorities at Derby and led to Selina’s apprehension.

Now Selina is a native of Ilkeston, born a little less than 30 years ago, as Selina Sudbury, the elder daughter of the late William and Hannah Sudbury, who used to live in High Street. In August of 1851 she apparently married Benjamin Ride, a wheelwright of Weston Underwood near Derby … while she was working as a house maid for the recently widowed Honorable Sophia Curzon of Weston Lodge.

Before her marriage —  in 1848 — Selina had an illegitimate daughter, Maria Louisa, who for a time resided with old Mary Spencer and her brother James in Park Road but then, on July 5th, the child was put into the Basford Union Workhouse, after the father  — Thomas Sowrie — discontinued the payment he had set up for her maintenance.
It appears that the child was much neglected at the Workhouse such that in November Selina asked her younger sister Ann to look after the child, which she agreed to do. The sister was living with her husband Charles Wright, in Plumtree Place, off Darley Lane, but was very poor and after only a couple of weeks began to argue with her husband over the child. The child was very sickly and was fed only with rice, milk and bread, as directed by her mother, who also arranged for a doctor to attend her daughter.
On December 2nd Maria Louisa was taken back to her mother who was then living in Copeland Street in Derby with her wheelwright husband. At that time the child was still sickly and in a very delicate state. In the morning of the following day the body of Maria Louisa was discovered in the Grand Junction Canal at Derby. All of this was attested to by the sister Ann, at a police hearing — at which part of the dead child’s clothing was recognised by Ann !!

More serious for Selina was the fact that James Spencer and his daughter Ruth had been allowed to see the child’s body (it had been buried in St Peter’s churchyard in Derby shortly after its discovery but in the last few days has been exhumed) and both had positively identified it as that of Maria Louisa — both James and his daughter recognised two familiar scars on the corpse.

George Small has been present in Derby throughout the latter days of this investigation and has seen Selina on several occasions. He interviewed her just over a week ago when she informed him that her illegitimate daughter had died and been buried in Derby cemetery, the coffin being made by her husband and the burial being paid for by ‘Mrs Smith’ who had nursed the child in the last days of its life. George could no trace such a burial and felt he was left with no option but to arrest Selina and place her into custody at Derby.
George remarked to me that she had shown great firmness initially but had later broken down and wept. As the days went by, the colour drained from her face and she would often cry out hysterically. She lost the strength to stand unaided, seeming ‘more dead than alive’ and had to be constantly revived with cordials and restoratives. Also present were her husband, who was solicitous throughout.

After this exhaustive and protracted examination of Selina and the associated witnesses, she has been committed for trial at the next Derby assizes due in July.

April

Apr 11th

The lower part of Bath Street is certainly a dangerous place these days !!
The fencing near the town station is in desperate need of repair and once more the Erewash Valley Railway Company has to be informed that danger lurks there. It is too easy for children to sneak through gaps and onto the railway lines .. and then what ?!
The answer to that last question was sadly apparent last week.
Ironstone getter Samuel Dixon — who has lived in the town less than half a dozen years, employed by the Butterley Company — was working at the branch-line crossing at this part of the road, helping to shunt wagons along the track, when his attention was drawn to a child who had wandered into harm’s way. Removing the lad to safety, he turned to ensure that all was well when he was caught by a wagon and pressed against a wall. He suffered severe crushing to his chest and stomach, injuries which proved fatal yesterday.
At the inquest, held at the Queen’s Head Inn, it emerged that the young boy had a habit of wandering onto the line, having been removed several times past.

Apr 18th

And as if to underline the danger in this part of the town, another inquest a week later — this time at the Rutland Arms and Railway Hotel — into the death of three-year-old John Sharp, the only son of coal labourer Michael and Elizabeth.
The family live at Rutland Wharf and the lad was out playing with his older sister Ann when they passed their grandfather, George Chapman, going to the cabin in the Wharf yard. After a short while John turned to follow his grandfather and was not seen alive again.
It was the aunt of the child, going to her father’s house, who saw a body floating in the canal. Not knowing it was her nephew, she called for help and the lad’s father — who is employed by coalmaster Samuel Potter at the Rutland Wharf — came to her assistance. Only when he dragged the body from the water did he realise that it was his own son.

Apr 28th

The Cruelty to Animals Act introduced a few years ago, in 1849, repealed the Cruel Treatment of Cattle Act of 1822 and the Cruelty to Animals Act of 1835.
I quote from this most recent Act …
any person keeping, or using, or acting in the management of, any place for the fighting or baiting any bull, bear, badger, dog, cock, or other kind of animal, or permitting any place to be so used, is liable to the penalty of £5;  and any person encouraging, aiding or assisting at any such fighting or baiting of any animal, is liable to a like penalty.”.
It appears that the details of this Act have not permeated the minds of some people living in Ilkeston.
Last week 15 persons appeared before magistrates Jackie Radford and Bill Needham at Smalley Petty Sessions, accused of organising a cock-fight at Ilkeston on Easter Monday and Tuesday. On the advice of their solicitor they all pleaded guilty but argued that they were unaware that the penalty for the offence was so severe. Surprisingly the magistrates accepted this attempt at mitigation and imposed a fine of only £1 on 14 of the men, they being merely passive viewers. The one who organised the fight was fined £2 10s.

May

May 6th

At the recent Vestry Meeting the Rev Ebsworth appointed William Riley, butcher of Bath Street, as his churchwarden while Henry Mantle Hitchcock, the miller at Rutland Mill, was chosen as the Parish’s churchwarden.
The Poor Law guardians for the next year are to be John Ball, lace manufacturer of Burr Lane, and William Bennett of the Wine Vaults.
Overseers of the poor are to be Richard Evans of the Pottery, and John Mellor, butcher of South Street.

May 11th

Patrick Pollard, the town’s newest brazier and tinman who has recently started trading in Bath Street close to Club Row, has been having trouble with his young apprentice, who lives with the Pollard family.
The lad is Henry Shepherd, the 13-year-old son of Hannah Shepherd and yesterday he found himself at Smalley Petty Sessions. Patrick has had cause to complain about his behaviour on a few occasions, and the last straw seems to have been when the youth got drunk and stayed away from the house all night.
Magistrate ‘Jackie’ Radford was having none of this nonsense and ordered the lad to return to his work immediately or spend a months in Derby Gaol with hard labour.
In his defence I might add that Henry has a troubled family background. Just over ten years ago his father John was committed to the same gaol for three months for neglecting his family — his wife, Henry and two other sons, Samuel and William — who all had to be accommodated at Basford Union Workhouse.
The father eventually permanently deserted the family about 1845 and seems to have ‘disappeared’. Son Samuel now lives with his mother and uncle Matthew in South Street while son William is an apprentice with William Campbell, tailor of Market Street.

May 17th

During the preceding two days a couple of meetings at the Wesleyan Reform Chapel in South Street have demonstrated the strength of the Reform Movement in Ilkeston.
On Sunday evening a packed chapel heard a (reportedly) excellent sermon by the suspended minister, the Rev Dale of Burton on Trent.
And then yesterday evening the same chapel hosted a public tea and Reform meeting — the tea was so popular that a second sitting had to be arranged. The subsequent meeting heard from several speakers, all receiving generous applause, several resolutions were passed, appointments were made — and it appears that the audience left the building with the distinct belief that Reform principles in this town grow ever vigorous.

May 18th

It appears that Ilkestonians have cause to celebrate.
I quote from the latest edition of the Nottingham Review and General Advertiser …

The town has “succeeded in retaining as a Market-place, the large piece of land belonging to the Duke of Rutland, called the Junction, situated in the heart of the town, the use of which had been allowed to the public for a number of years, but which, a few months ago, .. was sold by auction, and fetched a very high price; … on account of its eligibility for building purposes. As this land adds very considerably to the convenience and appearance of the town, an attempt was made to keep it as heretofore on payment of an acknowledgement, and  … the purchasers freely and nobly gave up their claim, and the Duke of Rutland’s steward allowed it to remain for the use of the town, on conditions that a rent be paid for it equivalent to the interest of the purchase money. The money will be raised by yearly contributions; and the Rev. G.S. Ebsworth, vicar, G.B. Norman, Esq., and Mr. Mark Attenborough, have been appointed trustees”.

Locals will know that the Junction is that piece of the Market Place land directly in front of the main door of St. Mary’s Church.
And locals might also know that the Duke’s old steward, the recently deceased Captain William Underwood of Castle Hill, Bakewell, has been succeeded by Mr. Robert William Mills Nesfield, barrister of Castle Street, Bakewell.

May 27th

Today I received a visit at home from another old friend, the Rev. William Carthy of Bottom Road in this town, who was still extremely excited by an event which occurred on Tuesday afternoon, (May 25th), and which details he was keen to relate to me.
On that day the town had welcomed numerous visitors from Nottinghamshire and from the surrounding villages, all eager to witness the birth of another chapel in Ilkeston … the foundation stone of a new Primitive Methodist chapel in Bath Street to be laid.
The ceremony began at 2 o’clock that afternoon at the Independent Chapel in Pimlico, where opening addresses were made before the invited assembly made its way to the site in Bath Street. William told me who was present, although I cannot remember all their names … I recall that he mentioned the Revs. Caleb Springthorpe and Charles Hargreaves, and himself of course.
The principal guest was magistrate, farmer, coal proprietor and limeburner Thomas Gisborne of Yoxall Lodge in Staffordshire who is (of course !!) a member of the Established Church of England but showed himself not averse to attending a ceremony at a place of Dissenting worship. It was he who laid the foundation stone, amidst the cheers of the people. William then made a short address from atop the same stone before producing a small bottle, containing a record of the day’s events, which was to be buried alongside that stone … for a time in the future when it might be uncovered, to show those of a future generation what the Primitive Methodists had achieved in 1852.
Mr Gisborne had lived for part of his life in north Derbyshire, where he had interests in some mining operations, and in his speech made at the ceremony, he graciously conceded that whilst living there he had discovered that the Methodists were the only effective educators of the poor .. and he had no doubt that the people of Ilkeston were similarly greatly indebted to them.
William set out to me the plans for this new house of worship .. it is designed to hold 800 persons and will be built ‘in a handsome modern style of architecture’. He estimates the cost to be close to £1120, of which £200 has already been raised, much through his own efforts.
(See January 2nd of this year)

June

Jun 14th

I see that Charles Robert Colvile M.P. is to visit the town in about ten day’s time to solicit support from the local electorate in his bid to be retained as one of the two members representing our constituency of South Derbyshire.

Jun 25th

Yesterday saw the arrival of the Peelite, Mr. Colvile M.P., to address the people of Ilkeston (myself included)  .. he did so from his carriage in the Market Place, a carriage which had just brought him from Heanor where he had received a warm welcome.

He began by reminding us that he had served the constituency faithfully for the last eleven years (since 1841) and hoped that the people would vote to continue his representation. In his speech he styled himself as a ‘progressive Conservative’ and in that guise, explained his support for the anti-popery Ecclesiastical Tithes Act of last year … he was in favour of religious toleration to the greatest extent, desiring that every man (and woman presumably?) might be allowed to worship his Maker in any manner that he chose, but also firmly believed that if the Pope of Rome and his Roman Catholic priests had power, all religious toleration would disappear.
Mr Colvile also stated his support for the repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846 and since that time, although the corn farmers had suffered the free competition of foreign growers, he felt that this was more than outweighed by benefits to the working classes in the form of cheaper food. This was part of his support for general free-trade.
He was tied to no particular party but maintained that he would always act fairly and independently, in the interests of the community which he represented.
All this brought rowdy applause from the assembled crowd. One man was so overcome in admiration that he ran to Mr. Colvile’s carriage .. “Let’s get hold of your hand. I have known you for 11 years. God bless you. You shall be returned”.

The M.P. then received questions from the audience, all of them answered satisfactorily, after which three cheers were given and the meeting closed.

Jun 26th

And as one leaves another one takes his place…. on July 1st Mr. William Mundy M.P. is expected in town.

Jun 30th 

Yesterday our ‘spirited proprietor’ of the Rutland Arms and Railway Hotel, Thomas Hives, was married at St. Mary’s Church — a second marriage — to Miss Mary Gelsthorp, late of Moor Green. I believe that the bride has been living with her sister Elizabeth and the latter’s husband, William Baker, a nurseryman, at Draycott.

July

Jul 1st

After leaving his home at Markeaton Park, Mr. William Mundy received very warm welcomes at Smalley, then at Shipley Hall and later at Heanor, before arriving at Ilkeston this afternoon, on his electioneering trail.
Accompanied by magistrate Jackie Radford of Smalley and Alfred Miller Mundy of Shipley Hall, the candidate’s carriage made its way up Bath Street — profusely decked out with blue flags — to the Market Place where a huge crowd awaited. Mr William Mundy then spoke to his audience very much in generalities before taking questions from the largely friendly and amicable listeners. His answers demonstrated that he was against household suffrage and a secret ballot (‘a sneaking shabby sort of thing‘ interposed Mr Alfred Mundy), wanted reform of the truck system, and opposed the re-imposition of the Corn Laws.
A few other matters were discussed before the Cortege departed the scene, with the sound of a hearty three cheers ringing in their ears.

Jul 13th

The nomination of two members to serve in Parliament for the Southern Division of the County took place yesterday morning at Derby. As Messrs Colvile and Mundy were the only two persons to be nominated, they were duly elected to serve as the  representatives for the Division.

Jul 21st

Two months ago Thomas Gisborne of Yoxall Lodge was visiting Ilkeston to lay a foundation stone for the new Primitive Methodist chapel in Bath Street.
Yesterday, early morning, this gentleman died quietly at his home.

Jul 22nd

In March I drew your attention to the sad case of Selina Ride and the alleged murder of her young illegitimate daughter, Maria Louisa Sudbury.

Two days ago her case came before the Court at Derby Midsummer Assizes. I will not repeat the information I recorded in March as it remains essentially unchanged. However some details of the evidence given by Selina at that time were now challenged in court…. details about her daughter’s supposed burial at Derby Cemetery and who had made the coffin in which to inter her. Also some identifying evidence relative to the corpse was disputed.

At the conclusion of the trial, Selina’s defence counsel — Mr Sergeant Miller — gave a powerful address to the jury. He commented upon the lack of a motive for the commission of the crime by the prisoner, upon the care and affection shown by Selina towards her sickly child, and upon the complete lack of evidence to show that the child discovered in the canal was Selina’s daughter.

The jury deliberated for ten minutes before returning a ‘not guilty’ verdict.

As a post script, Selina gave birth to a son during her detention in Derby gaol. I am informed that he has been baptised as Ard Ehi. I believe that these names have Hebrew origins and both were sons of Benjamin, mentioned in the Book of Genesis.

Jul 23rd

Yesterday I was in conversation with my old friend George Small who had recently returned from the Derby Assizes which he had attended, to give his evidence in the trial of Selina Ride. He gave me the details which I relayed yesterday and told me of some surprising admissions by some of the witnesses. For example Ann Wright, the sister of Selina, in examination by the counsel, had to admit that she did not know what the present month was, nor what the date within that month was … I asked George whether she would know what year she was now living in !!

George also admitted that his evidence was severely questioned, and it was suggested in court that he may have misunderstood or misinterpreted what Selina had told him when he first examined her. He accepted that this could have been the case, and that at the end sufficient doubt remained such that the ‘not guilty’ verdict was the correct decision.

Jul 25th

The Wesleyan Reformers held their Sunday School anniversary yesterday, Mr. Peace, the Revivalist of the Denby Dale Circuit being the invited preacher.
In the morning he spoke at the old Cricket Ground chapel while in the afternoon the congregation moved to the newer chapel in South Street. There the children went through their scriptural and Methodistical exercises, repeated their dialogues and addresses, and practised their hymns.
It appears that the old chapel was originally chosen to host the evening service but as the afternoon congregation had been so large it was considered that the new chapel would be the one large enough to accommodate all. And indeed so it proved. The South Street chapel was duly completely filled.

August

Aug 17th

The day yesterday was particularly fine, with an exhilarating breeze …. just the weather for watching an enjoyable game of cricket. Fortunately there was one scheduled at the Trent Bridge Ground between Ilkeston Rutland and Nottingham Commercial Club.
How could I resist ?!
The play however was very one-sided.
The Nottingham home team scored 132 runs, with John Paxton and the Attenborough brothers, Tommy and William, taking the majority of the wickets for Ilkeston. When it came to the visitors to take the bat, only Joseph Horsley managed to score double figures in the first innings and the total was a less than daunting 41 !!  The second innings total was even less (I resist the temptation to record the score) such that the result was a resounding success for the Commercial Club.
The best part of the day however was the excellent afternoon repast with very modest charges and a fine range of choices.

Aug 30th

More cricket news … those not interested may wish to move on !!

Today was the first day’s play in the much-anticipated — at least by me !! — match between an Ilkeston Twenty-two and an All England Eleven held at the Cricket Ground here in the town, a ground in beautiful condition.
The All England side were the first to bat, with Paxton opening the bowling for the home side … and what an opening it was !! His third ball sent the stumps of Julius Cæsar flying. And soon after James ‘Jem’ Grundy was caught by Joseph Horsley off the same bowler.
Then George Anderson was caught and bowled by William Attenborough, the score only a paltry 15 runs. And soon it was 26 runs for four wickets when George Parr was run out. Perhaps what aided his dismissal was the fact that the ground is of limited size — at least compared with those which host County matches — and there were twenty two Ilkeston players to populate it (not the usual number for a match).
The play continued throughout the afternoon, though not without a few shower interruptions. The highlight was, for me, a splendid innings by Billy Caffyn who was not out at the end of the day’s play, having scored 64 — the All England side had now amassed 141 runs for the loss of seven wickets.

Aug 31st

The Ilkeston bowlers persevered on this second day, aided perhaps by some recklessness of their opponents, who added another 20 runs before the innings ended. Caffyn was eventually bowled by a shooter from Paxton for 65 … a score which was to prove almost a match for the whole of the Ilkeston side’s first innings !!
Ilkeston wickets fell steadily throughout the afternoon, no player troubling the scorer too much. Only the Attenborough brothers, William and Tommy, passed into double figures and the innings ended at just after 5.30 o’clock, on a total of 82.
By the end of this day England had lost only one wicket in their second innings … Alfie Clarke out to the ‘mysterious’ bowling of Tommy Attenborough.

September

Sep 1st

And so I report on the third and final day of this cricket match.

By this time several of the home side’s players had absented themselves, some considering perhaps that a day’s wages was now more important than a day’s cricket  … while others might have anticipated the outcome of the match and so looked for excuses to be elsewhere !!
And they were soon joined by Fred Flint who received a severe blow on the field, which almost separated his thumb from his hand such that he could take no further part.
The England play was one of a steady accumulation of runs and an equally steady fall of wickets, though with some fine play by several batsmen and perseverance by the Ilkeston bowlers … Tommy Attenborough continuing the success he began at the end of the previous day with three more wickets. The score total of 116 meant the Ilkeston side were left to amass 196 to get a win. The time was just before 4pm.
At the outset this seemed a very daunting task … even more so after the fourth ball of the innings bowled by Jem Grundy to Joseph Horsley who was then caught by John Bickley. And so it continued with wickets falling even more steadily (should I say rapidly ??) than the England wickets, and with far less to show for each batsman’s ‘endeavours’.
The (six) absentees added about as many runs to the Ilkeston total as those players who were present and the resultant total was 13 runs for a loss of 14 wickets …. Tommy Leivers being not out in both innings (and not scoring in both innings).

The match finished ! The time was just after 5pm !!

Sep 3rd

And the final word on the recent cricket match ….

‘This defeat of the brave Ilkestonians is one of the most signal on record’.

I quote from the local press which in my judgement is being extremely kind in its assessment.

Sep 13th

A sad and serious case of spotted fever occurred at the Burr Lane home of framework knitter Amos Speed and his wife Fanny a few days ago. It took away their daughter Elizabeth, aged 7, last Thursday (the 9th), and then on Sunday their three year old son Benjamin succumbed to the disease.
Their three year old daughter Mary Ann — an illegitimate child I believe — died in 1845 from smallpox, while a twin daughter died last year, only a few days old … and before she could be named. Her twin Hannah is alive and well, as is the Speed’s other daughter Eliza.
Fanny Speed is a daughter of the late Jonathan Goddard and his wife Kitty Daykin, also now deceased. They used to live in High Street and several of Fanny’s siblings still live in East Street and the adjacent Burr Lane. Many of the Goddard clan are reluctant to move far !!

October

Oct 5th

Chapel Street lost one of its oldest inhabitants yesterday when farmer and cordwainer Richard Rice died at the age of 83. Yet not the oldest inhabitant, even in his own house, as his relict Martha is reputed to be a few months older. In two week’s time the couple would have celebrated the 61st anniversary of their wedding.

I know of at least five children still alive — and there may be more — and there are reputed to be 59 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren.

His widow Martha is the daughter of of the late James and Sarah Chadwick, and a relative (first cousin?) of James Chadwick, the humorous small ware dealer of Bath Street.

Oct 7th

The Goose Fair arrived in Nottingham at the beginning of this month … a mixture of business and entertainment, spread along Long Row and up to Angel Row, spilling out into the Market Place. There were booths and bazaars for the selling of all kinds of small wares — hosiery, needlework, nick-nacks, confectionery, toys, jewellery — and when lighted up at night, they presented a dazzling and brilliant spectacle.
At the west end of the Market Place, opposite Angel Row, began the line of shows for the entertainment of the public — the famous Wombwell’s Royal Menagerie; Hylton’s Museum incorporating a display of wax-work figures, a panorama of the Crystal Place and a ‘chamber of horrors’; Winrow’s Moving Mechanical World; the Bearded Lady; Clapton’s Grand Exhibition; the Caledonian Exhibition of Wax Figures; Holloway’s Sans Pareil of drama, mime and negro melodies
And of course Taylor’s Exhibition of Wonderful Phenomena !! …  featuring Ilkeston’s own Sam Taylor.
This began with Sam’s wife Harriet, a skilled worker with glass, showing artfully what can be achieved with that material …
and then on to the exhibits, chief among them, of course, is Sam, upwards of seven feet tall, and contrasting with Mr and Mrs Moore,said to be the most diminutive married couple in Europe. He is said to be only three feet tall while she is three inches shorter.
A male and female armadillo completed the display of ‘living curiosities’.

The neighbouring theatres were all open, showing special performances to coincide with the fair. After a leisurely walk around the booths, seeing much of what I describe above, and visiting once more Sam Taylor’s show, I spent a pleasant two hours at Ryan’s Theatre in Chapel Bar, being entertained by a series of ‘musical novelties’ and sketches. A very pleasant day indeed !!

Oct 21st

Today saw the inquest into the death of Cotmanhay coalminer John Sisson, the youngest son of the late Thomas Sisson, alias ‘Giant Sisson’.
Aged 33, John was killed a week ago … he was being drawn out of the pit where he had been working when he fell out of the chair to the bottom of the shaft. His injuries were so severe that he died shortly afterwards.
The inquest jury naturally returned a verdict of ‘accidental death’ but made many recommendations to improve the welfare of the employees.
John leaves a widow, Martha, the sister of ‘Fiddler Joe Tilson‘, and six children.

Oct 30th

It has been raining for three days now … and an inundation which the town has not seen for years.
I hear that as a result, the Trent has risen about three feet while the Derwent has broken its banks, both threatening floods at many parts.
Here, in Ilkeston, the railway embankment has been overflowed at the Junction.

November

Nov 9th

If I were writing for the London Times I may wish to include an ‘announcements’ column in this blog, listing all the recent celebrity marriages at Ilkeston.

Would I therefore be tempted to include one which took place yesterday at our own noble parish church ? …. that of widower Joseph Cresswell of Smalley to Mrs. Mary Moss, relict of Joseph Moss of Gallows Inn.
Mrs. Moss, now Mrs Cresswell, was the eldest child of the late Christopher Lowe, the maltster and joiner of Nottingham Road, and she has several married siblings dotted around the town.
Her first husband died only ten months ago .. though curiously his headstone, recently placed in St Mary’s churchyard, records his name as John ?
The eldest son of the erstwhile Mr. and Mrs. Moss is John Moss who is building a flourishing business in South Street as a linen and woollen draper.

However this is not the Times … and so I will not be including such a listing !!

December

Dec 3rd

Last evening I attended the first of the Winter course of lectures of the Ilkeston Mechanics’ and Literary Institution. It was given by the Rev Joseph Baynes, B.A., Baptist minister of Nottingham, his subject being ‘The buried palaces of Nineveh’. His talk, before a large and enthusiastic audience, was excellently complemented by a number of well-executed drawings made by Austen Henry Layard, the excavator of Nimrud and Nineveh, and taken from the latter’s large folio volume of ‘Illustrations of the Monuments of Nineveh‘ published in 1849. Many of the illustrated artifacts now reside in the British Museum, having been despatched to England by Dr. Layard.

I believe that this noble adventurer has now decided upon a more settled life … in February of this year he was elected as Liberal M.P. for Aylesbury.

The second talk in this winter series will be on Wednesday, December 15th., when the subject is ‘Self-made Men’, to be given by the Rev. John Corbin, Independent Minister of Derby.

Dec 10th

Some of my readers may be aware that for the last 50 years a sick club has met at the Old Harrow Inn in the lower Market Place. This club has recently moved to Bennett’s Wine Vaults in East Street and its members have now formed themselves into an Odd Fellow society, wishing to call themselves the ‘Cobden Free Trade Lodge of Odd Fellows’. However before acting upon this wish, one of its number courteously wrote to Mr. Richard Cobden M.P., seeking to secure his consent for this name change.

I have seen the reply received from Mr. Cobden, dated 30th Nov. 1852, addressed to Thomas Barker, and quote it in full here ..

Dear Sir, — I am much honored by the proposal to name your Odd Fellows’ society after me. — Let me however advise you to alter your determination and call it the ‘Free Frade Lodge;’ by which you will pay homage to a great principle, and afford me the same gratification as if my name were also mentioned. There is another reason why you should avoid identifying your society with the name of an individual.  As I am actively engaged in political life, it may probably happen (although I hope it may not) that I shall not on all questions take the same views as the members of your society. In that case my name may probably be a source of weakness or discord to you. Under these circumstances I would advise you to give in the adhesion of your lodge to a principle (free trade) which is eternal; but to avoid identifying yourselves with the name of a living and fallible politician.     And I remain, Dear Sir, Truly yours … RICHARD COBDEN’

I think also that readers will recall the pivotal part Mr. Cobden played in the repeal of the Corn Laws, 1846, and in promoting the cause of Free Trade.

Dec 14th  

I learn from a colleague what happened at the town’s Parish Meeting, held last night at the National school room and chaired by the churchwarden, young Henry Mantle Hitchcock, the miller of Rutland Mill.

Apparently the chairman of the Basford Board of Guardians  has received a letter from a ‘local Ilkeston ratepayer’ … in which he complains of persons receiving relief from the Parish whose own children are well able to support them. This complaint was passed on to the parish officers who felt obliged to call last night’s meeting to discuss the situation.

The assistant overseer stated that parish expenditure had declined since 1848 but this year had seen a rise … mainly due to three lunatic cases, three fatal colliery accidents, four removal orders, and an increase of sickness. Thus the expenditure of the town was now above the county average … five times higher in fact !!

Other matters were also discussed at the same meeting … it was resolved to form a Sanitary Committee which would inspect the town and report all nuisances to the Board of Guardians. Also aired were complaints about the Sunday night ‘disgusting’ behaviour of many young men about the town, it being generally agreed that a policeman was very much wanted.

The meeting was then adjourned for a week.

Dec 15th

Yesterday saw the passing of an old and much respected townsman and tradesman, Henry Carrier, at his East Street home, aged 73.
He was a staunch member of the Wesleyan Chapel, a minister there for over 50 years, holding the office of class-leader for nearly all that time. The Wesleyan ‘split’ of recent years placed Henry firmly on the side of the Reformers, often crossing swords with the Rev Alexander Hume and consequently filling his last years of life with much sadness. Two years ago the Rev Hume sought to ‘excommunicate’ Henry and the other Reformers from the Wesleyan fold but their spirit prevailed and flourished. Almost until the end of his days Henry continued to meet his class.

Dec 21st

Last night saw the continuation of the parish meeting begun last Monday (13th).
Contrary to it being merely a ‘talking shop’ as some critics have dubbed it, the gathering did arrive at some resolutions……
1] The town would petition the national parliament to set up a national poor rate and thus inhibit other parishes close to Ilkeston sending their poor into the town.
2] A select group of 36 ratepayers will be set up to inspect the parish and report all nuisances…. if asked to join I will recuse myself as I am likely to be included as a ‘nuisance’ !!
3] It will be ensured in future that the inhabitants of the old workhouse on the Common are ‘proper persons’ to benefit from that institution.

Dec 27th

Such a gale last night !!
I was out early this morning to inspect damage around the town.
Walking from the Market Place, down Bath Street to the Common, I noticed that several windows in St. Mary’s Church were shattered, the newly-opened Primitive Methodist Chapel opposite Chapel Street was damaged, and the roof of the gas works almost lifted off.

Dec 28th

I have a report from one of those —  a member of the Loyal Duke of Rutland Lodge, Manchester unity — who enjoyed an excellent Odd Fellows’ Christmas supper held at their lodge-room at the Sir John Warren Inn in the Market Place last night.
He reports that about one hundred members attended; in the chair was Past Grand George Daykin, the framework knitter of Albion Place, while vice-chair was brother John Ryder, the National schoolmaster; the supper was provided, of course, by the worthy Host, Mark Attenborough.
After the meal and the usual loyal and patriotic toasts, there followed the songs and other festive sentiments …. and more toasts.
My informant tells me that the lodge in flourishing, and growing in numbers and influence.

Dec 29th

Several local tradesmen have noticed how popular my ‘Old Ilson Blog’ has become, and recently approached me with a plea to include notices promoting their goods and services — even offering some form of payment if I chose to comply.
I have no wish to commercialise the ‘Blog’ but have agreed, out of a spirit of friendship and altruism, to include a selection of such notices in the New Year.

Dec 31st

Two days hence the Primitive Methodists will complete the opening ceremony of their newly built chapel in Bath Street.
Services held there in the last few days have been sorely disturbed by the inclement weather such that attendances have been much reduced.
The proposed New Year service will include a funeral sermon for the late venerable Hugh Bourne — founder of this Connexion — who died in October of this year.
The annual Tea Festival, followed by a public meeting, will be held on the day after the Sermon.