A First Edition
Priced at 2d the first publication of the Ilkeston Pioneer and Erewash Valley Gazette was published on January 1st 1853 and consisted of eight pages.
(The Derby Mercury and the Nottinghamshire Guardian were both then priced at 4½d).
In September 1854 the Pioneer ceased production. It was then into its second year (Volume 2) and had just printed newspaper number 38 (September 21st 1854).
Proprietor of the Pioneer John Wombell had married Susannah Gover on June 9th 1838 at St. James’s Church, Great Grimsby.
Their first child born in Ilkeston was daughter Susannah Mary (1843), followed by Emma Gover (1844), John Garland (1849) and William Woodward (1852).
In October 1853, 22-year-old Maria Beardsley, daughter of stone miner Mark and Sarah (nee Trueman) gave birth to her illegitimate son George Wake Beardsley. The child was baptised at St.Mary’s Church on February 7th 1855.
Evidence suggests that the father of the child was John Wombell of the Pioneer. (see previous section)
The Pioneer reappeared in April 1856, then into Volume 3 (sic), printing number 42.
Presumably at some time between September 1854 and April 1856, numbers 39, 40 and 41 had been published…. though if they did exist they appear to have been lost.
In December 1857 Susannah Wombell gave birth to her final child, an unnamed daughter who died the same day.
Could the Wombell’s domestic situation have influenced the Pioneer’s printing schedule?!
Out of print.
The little bark which had been launched upon the critical ocean of public opinion on January 1st 1852 found its final mooring on March 23rd 1967.
On that date, number 2632 of the Pioneer (16 pages for 3d) announced on its front page ….
“This is the last issue of the Ilkeston Pioneer. The decision to suspend publication has been taken after prolonged consideration and with the greatest regret. For several years the costs of producing the newspaper have been rising steadily without a corresponding increase in revenue. In recent months the position has been made more acute and there are no grounds for anticipating any considerable additional revenue in the future.
“Alternative employment has been offered to all employees of the Pioneer and arrangements have been made to provide an improved service of local news to the people of Ilkeston and district through the Evening Post and News and Guardian Journal each day. The Pioneer office in Bath-street will become a branch office of T. Bailey Forman Limited, where the Evening Post and News, Guardian Journal, Nottinghamshire Guardian and Football Post and News will be on sale and where advertisements for all these newspapers will be accepted”.
And thus the newspaper which had seen off many rivals in the past was forced to surrender to adverse financial forces.
Once more the town was left with only one local Ilkeston paper.
And now on to George Small.