1858 Blog draft


Jan 10th

You might recall that the Rev. Edwin William Symons of Christ Church in Cotmanhay died last year, on December 19th, aged only 47. We now learn that E. Miller Mundy Esq, of Shipley Hall has presented the Rev. Thomas Fowler with the vacant incumbency. He was the curate of St. Mary’s Church in Nottingham.

Jan 12th

Yesterday evening John Hutchinson, unmarried son of cowkeeper Joseph and Catherine (nee Beardsley) of Heanor Road, stepped out of the last, third-class carriage of the Nottingham train at Ilkeston Junction station. As you probably know, at that point the platform is at its narrowest, being about three feet wide, and is situated between the main line and the branch line going to the Town Station at the bottom of Bath Street. John missed his footing, slipped and fell onto the branch line, precisely at the moment that the passenger carriage was coming along the same line from the Town Station. The carriage was pushing five empty trucks in front of it and the first of these went over John’s body, killing him instantly. He was 37 years old.

Jan 13th

Yesterday John Wakefield, a baker living at a yard bearing his name, close to the Travellers’ Rest beerhouse, appeared at the Court of Bankruptcy in Nottingham.
It was at the end of last year that John was declared bankrupt and at this bankruptcy hearing dubious financial behaviour on the part of the baker was suggested.
Prior to his court appearance, the baker had transferred some money which he held in various money clubs in Nottingham to ‘parties, under peculiar circumstances’.
He then left for Manchester, taking with him £200 as his wife Margaret had admitted. A large surplus of this cash remained unaccounted for. His creditors suggested that John’s flight to the north-west was a prelude to his leaving the country but that the declaration of his bankruptcy had forced him to return to Ilkeston.
John seems to have a very ‘relaxed’ business attitude — he keeps no books at all and seems to rely upon memory to recall transactions and debts.
Of course, in his testimony, John put a totally different complexion upon his actions. He had not tried to hide any of his assets, and had given a full account of all the monies he had received and paid over the last 12 months .. all from memory of course, as no acconut books existed !! He had not fled to Manchester, and while there his bankruptcy came as a complete surprise to him. However the hearing judge seemed unimpressed by what he heard and consequently the baker has been awarded only a third class certificate.

Jan 14th

I see from today’s Nottinghamshire Guardian, that Richard Evans of the Pottery, has just completed ‘very extensive alterations‘ to his premises, introducing the ‘most approved machinery, by hand or steam-power’, leading him to offer lower prices than any competitor and improved quality and durability. Now also, he has just added the manufacture of Terra Cotta goods of every sort: ‘ground indicators, grave, space and section markers’.
Stoneware sanitary pipes, water closet pans, sink traps, water filters, fancy vases, vitreous jars and bottles, border tiles and fire bricks, etc., etc., were still available of course, at Ilkeston Potteries, established 1807.

Jan 17th

The behaviour of some of our town’s residents is often beyond my understanding.
Henry Harrison has been out of work for over six months, and he has a wife and young family, several of whom are sick. Yesterday he appeared at the Smalley Petty Sessions, charged with brawling at the Sir John Warren Inn approaching midnight on January 4th. He was fined a mitigating penalty of 6d plus 18s costs. He said he couldn’t pay — but why was he out drinking, leaving an ailing family alone at home ?
He was allowed 14 days to pay, or 21 days in jail.

Jan 17th

And more strange behaviour, outlined at the same court .. also yesterday

William Woodroffe, landlord of the King’s Head Inn, was walking back from Nottingham on January 6th, having conducted some business in that city in the morning. He stopped for supper at the King’s Head in Wollaton, home to brothers Thomas and William Burton, washing his meal down with a little ale and a drop of gin and water.
About half past nine in the evening William left the Wollaton house to continue his walk back to Ilkeston and on Trowell Moor was joined by  Patrick Pollard, tinman and brazier, who has a shop just accross the Market Place from the King’s Head, and John Harrison, lacemaker. They were also walking home to Ilkeston.
The trio journeyed on to Gallows Inn and were crossing the canal there when an argument seems to have developed. William accused Patrick of trying to push him off the road, of hitting him with a bludgeon of some kind and of rendering him senseless, while John was egging on Patrick, using very colourful language.
As the alleged assault was taking place a young Stapleford lad, Samuel Richards, was returning home from Ilkeston and saw Patrick strike at William. After a brief conversation the lad hurried to the nearby brickyard of John Wilson and enlisted the help of Charles Beighton, foreman at the brickyard, and labourer William Hallam, both of whom were working there. Together the three found the injured William and he was escorted home to the Market Place in Ilkeston by two of the Good Samaritans.
On their return to Ilkeston, innkeeper William and his two ‘rescuers’ went immediately to confront Patrick at his home where they found him still with John Harrison and not in the best of moods. He was most uncooperative while lacemaker John threatened to re-arrange young Samuel Richard’s teeth. The confrontation seems to have ended when Police Constable Rouse arrived.
Yesterday they all appeared at Smalley Assizes where Patrick and John suggested this was a case of self-defence. Despite the fact that none of the other witnesses agreed with them, the defendants argued that innkeeper William was helplessly drunk and they had taken him ‘in charge’ to prevent him from being robbed. As they approached the town William had become belligerent, struck out at Patrick and threatened to push him into the canal. What else could they do but retaliate?
This testimony did not impress the Bench and Patrick and John were each fined 10s with costs; or in default of paying, six weeks in gaol with hard labour.

Jan 18th

At the inquest into John Hutchinson’s death which occurred three days ago, Joseph Tarlton, breaksman of Chapel Street, stated that is was usual to clear the Town Station of empty trucks at night which is what he was doing. There were three standing lights on the Junction platform but the one where the accident took place was obscured by the carriages as they came down the line. Consequently it would be pitch black at that end of the platform. The Pioneer again took this opportunity to criticise the Midland Railway Company for its ‘gross inattention’, and to call for better lighting, a wider platform and improved accommodation at both stations.

Jan 30th

Wheatley Straw is the mine’s bailiff of Samuel Potter living on Heanor Road. Very sadly his youngest child Philip died yesterday. Some days before, the 8-year-old lad had been with his friends at the schoolroom, enjoying his dinner-hour when he wandered too close to the fire; his pinafore caught alight, and, naturally panicking, he tried to escape the room. This only made the fire worse. He was taken home where he lingered in some pain for four days.

Too late for the young lad, it was recommended that a fireguard be used in future at the school.

On the very same day, a similar death has also just befallen little George Beardsley, not yet two years old, the son of Alfred and Elizabeth of Grass Lane. I wonder how many more children must perish before more care is taken with unattended fires and unattended infants.


February 4th

Close by the property of Joseph Carrier, in Bath Street, the watch and clock-maker Joseph Carnill has just moved into the shop previously occupied by Edwin Wragg. It is close by the offices of the Pioneer newspaper.

Edwin has moved into Market Place premises.

February 6th

As you may recall — from January 17th !! — William Woodruffe is the landlord at the King’s Head Inn in the Market Place, and which he keeps with his wife Maria Nightingale Simpson — I  believe they have been there at least since their marriage in 1837.

Last October Maria noticed that she was missing a metal tankard from the inn, one easily recognisable as it had her husband’s initial on it, along with a number 5. It reappeared at the beerhouse of John Barker on Ilkeston Common, when his wife Sarah bought it for 4s from William McKnight, a visiting draper of Mount Street in Nottingham. He, in turn, had just bought it from someone for the same price and resold it immediately — not a clever piece of business !!

Suspicious Sarah took it eventually to the town policeman, Sergeant Hudson, and further enquiries identified labourer Alfred Cooper as the original seller of the mug — and landlord William was able to identify him as being in the King’s Head when the tankard went missing. Alfred initially pleaded innocence — he had bought the jug from a boatman, name unknown, but at the County Court yesterday, thought it wiser to plead guilty. Because of a previous offence he was awarded 3 months in prison with hard labour.

February 14th

The Ilkeston Pioneer now reports that the famous Cantelupe Monument has been restored and re-erected at the parish church, courtesy of present Lord de la Warr and Cantelupe.

“In the restoration of this monument the most eminent antiquarians have been consulted. They advised that the effigy should remain in its mutilated state, with one or two slight exceptions; but that the pediment should be restored to its original state, since sufficient remained to give a clear indication of what it once was. The manner in which the work has been done, and the correctness with which every detail has been followed, reflects the highest credit on Messrs. Lindley and Firn, who have shown themselves not only workmen but men of good taste”.

Here is a sketch of it made by a friend of mine.

February 19th

Next month the three newly-erected houses which you may have seen at the corner of Albion Place and Bath Street, are to be sold at auction by Charles Chadwick. So get along to the Rutland Arms on March 4th, well before 3 o’clock to ensure a place there !!

But before that, get yourself along, next week, to the Rutland Arms where auctioneer Charles is selling off some building land adjoining Ebenezer Terrace. That’s on February 25th at 7 o’clock in the evening.

However, in the morning, at 11 o’clock, at the building land mentioned above, Charles will be auctioning off a narrow boat and a wide boat, both at present moored at the Bridge Inn. Also in the auction will be a double-barrelled gun, a horse, two carts, two gas metres, some Bulwell stone, timber, widows, doors, iron pipes, chimney pieces, slates, tiles — the list goes on !!

You will know that Charles’s wife — Mary — is the sister of Thomas Hives, the proprietor of the Rutland Arms.


Mar 7th

Yetserday saw the final edition of the Ilkeston News … it has now ceased publication.


Jun 10th

John Stocks is a hosier who lives in Bath Street, just by Smith’s Yard. That’s where I met him yesterday when he showed me a couple of letters from his son Isaac who enlisted in the 90th Light Infantry some years ago. The letters are dated from April, and marked from Lucknow, India, where Isaac and his regiment are serving in their efforts to quell the rebellion in that area,  and where they have just captured that city.

He writes “the city was taken with ease; we soon got the natives on the run, and kept them to it. We have lost very few men, only 150 since we left home; and I have escaped all dangers so far. We are very comfortable in the city. I did not receive your letter containing stamps; I suppose it would be in the mail that was robbed by the sweet little Sepoys, who were thought so much of before the mutiny that the gentry had their likenesses painted on the walls. A European soldier was thought nothing of in this country. When on parade, the Sepoys are pretty spectacles, with their charming belts, oiled faces, and bootless shanks. Had our hearts been tender when we were relieving the women and children at Lucknow, they would all have been broken; all the thanks that we got for it was that we were dirty soldiers, and anything but gentlemen, except when they saw us charge, and found their births safe; then they said “Oh, brave Britons !”


September 2nd

I read that Joseph Knighton, beerhouse-keeper of the Nag’s Head in South Street, has, once more, appeared at the Petty Sessions on the wrong side of the law. It was claimed that, on August 12th, he had assaulted Mabel Webster as she was walking with ‘her chap’ Henry Hughes, in the Market Place; he struck Mabel, knocking her down and then kicked her several times. Henry of course corroborated all of this. To add to Joseph’s woes, he was also accused of trying to bribe a witness to stay away from court and not give evidence !!

Joseph’s defence was that the couple were both very drunk when they entered the Nag’s Head that day, and so had been refused further drink. Some choice language preceded the couple leaving the beerhouse, followed by Joseph, who was himself accused of being the worse for liquor. Their argument continued along South Street until the alleged assault took place. On hand was P.C. Butcher and it was probably his testimony against Joseph that led to the latter’s fine of 5s, with 8s expenses.
However no sooner had the parties left the justice room after the court case than cries were heard from outside. “Police, police, come and save my chap” cried Mabel as Joseph once more threatened Henry.
And immediately the beerhouse keeper found himself once more facing an assault charge.
And once more, a guilty verdict against him, another fine, more expenses, and this time Joseph was bound over to keep the peace for one year.


Nov 16th

As you may well know, access to Woodruffe’s Croft, a usual site for visiting circuses, can be gained from the rear yard of the King’s Head Inn in the Market Place.

And you will recall that, a month ago, on September 6th, we all witnessed the arrival of Monsieur Ginnett’s Mammoth Circus and Matchless Troupe of Equestrians at this field, boasting a circular tent of 120 feet diameter, covering half an acre, lit by handsome chandeliers and seating 4000 spectators. On that day, we were seeing ‘England’s largest and most complete’ Equestrian Wonder, as it paraded though the streets at 12 noon towards the Croft. And we were told that we could look forward to seeing a stud of 70 blood horses and fairy ponies but most importantly, the Bedouin Arab Chief executing Tourbillions, Julliens and Somersaults à terre.

The programme also featured Jeu de Sabres or Sword play, the Tiger Leap and Terrific Lion Leap, Saults Laitland or Moorish Vaulting, the Scarf Leap, Terrific Somersaults, Tours de Fusile, Eastern Rifle Practice, and a variety of other miraculous feats never witnessed before in the town before

There was an afternoon and evening performance before the troupe moved on to appear at Ripley, Belper and Clay Cross over the next three days.I happened to be at the the evening performance which, I recall, was wedged with spectators, leaving hundreds, moer unfortunate than me, unable to gain admittance. And iw was, indeed, a spectacle I will always remember !!

A few weeks later and the circus was in Derby where disaster nearly struck.
A fire broke out in the attached stables and the flames were moving towards the main tent when the fire brigade arrived. Making use of the readily accessible water, it managed to get the blaze quickly under control such that the people of the county capital were not to be deprived of their equestrian marvel.

The only loss was the dresses kept in the stables.

November 19th

Yesterday an inquest was held at the Wine Vaults in East Street, touching upon the death of an illegitimate child of Harriet Webster who lives in Cotmanhay with her parents, Samuel and Elizabeth, and several other family members. At this inquest some shocking details emerged which have reflected very poorly on that Cotmanhay community
Apparantly it was earlier this month that the Websters received a visit from John Hudson, Ilkeston’s Superintendent of Police, after he had learned that the daughter had, a few days before, given birth to an illegitimate child, had concealed the birth, and then had ‘improperly disposed‘ of the baby. He interviewed Harriet, her mother and her sisters Eliza, Elizabeth and Grace, and all initially denied any charges against them. It was when he threatened to send for Dr Norman to conduct an examination that they made several admissions, and the mother then showed the Superintendent  where a small body was buried in their garden, about three feet down.
The body of the baby was then taken to Dr. Norman whose examination revealed it was probably a still-birth, after about eight months pregnancy, though the doctor couldn’t determine whether it was the result of an induced abortion.
Neighbours of the Websters told of how Harriet admitted her pregnancy, had vowed not to get married, but instead ‘get rid’ of the baby. And of how her sister  Eliza had miscarried at about the same time, but had hidden that fact from the authorities who should have been informed.
Also at yesterday’s inquest the Websters were once more interviewed, though their evidence was adjudged to be evasive and contradictory; both the Coronor and the inquest jury ‘expressed themselves unwilling to give the slightest credence to their testimony‘. The Coronor also commented upon the ‘open, deep and unblushing depravity‘ of the family. However it was also revealed that they were not an isolated case; there were several Cotmanhay families whose daughters ‘regularly destroy or conceal the fruits of their illicit intercourse, and inter them in gardens around their dwellings, which have now acquired the unenviable title of “The Colliers’ Cemetery”‘.
However the evidence of Dr. Norman was sufficently inconclusive as to elicit just a severe reprimand from the Coronor; he could do no more than issue ‘strong comments’ and then to free Harriet.

November 25th

An agreement has been reached with the Directors of the Gas Company to light the town‘s street lamps, from next week (December 1st) to the end of March of next year. The cost will be paid by subscriptions, although the Gas Company has agreed to light the double lamp in the Market Place for free on Saturday evenings !!
All the ratepayers who expressed a desire for this winter lighting have been asked to ‘cough up’ their subscriptions quickly !!

November 26th

I see that the Ilkeston Pioneer has felt obliged to pass judgement upon the shocking details of the inquest which were reported a week ago. This is despite the fact that much of the evidence given there was hidden from the Pioneer’s readers as it was thought unfit for publication. ‘The revelations made at the inquest were astounding, even to those who have long and painfully observed the habits of debauchery and wickedness which are known to exist in many of the stinking nooks and rookeries of the parish”