George Haslam and family

(from the old White House …. )

My thanks to Katherine Ellis for providing such interesting detail on this Haslam family.

George Haslam made his way to Ilkeston from Mapperley, about four miles away from the town. He appears on the 1841 census (June 6th) for Mapperley Village, aged one week old, living with his parents, coal miner John and Diana (nee Godber), and siblings Mary Ann and Eliza.

John and Diana had married at St. Mary’s Church, Ilkeston on December 24th 1833 —  she was the eldest child of James and Ann (nee Lawrence), married on June 25th 1811 at St. Leodegarius Church, Basford.

Most of the Haslam family remained living at Mapperley while as a youth George was apprenticed to wheelwright Joseph Watson in Heanor. In 1864 he married Sarah Ellen Wright, the daughter of blacksmith Edward and Mary (nee Henstock), at the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in Ripley. They remained in Heanor, where their children Mary Hannah (1865), John (1866), Sarah Ellen (1868) and Elizabeth (1870) were born. There seems to have been a short-lived trip up to Bridlington where the family appear on the 1871 census and where son William Arthur (1872) was born.

Bertha (1873) was born in Heanor while the subsequent children were born in Ilkeston — Ann Eliza (1875), Florence Ethel (1877),  George Edward (1879), James Godber (1880), Ada Gertrude (1882), twins Alice Wright Hilda and Martin Luther (1883), and Joseph Owen.

From the left, on the back row..

Ann Eliza (Nancy), remained a spinster and trained as a nurse at Bagthorthe Hospital in Nottingham.
Bertha married Harold Freer Sanders at the Bath Street Wesleyan Methodist Church in 1897. He was Professor of Theology at the Congregational Institute in Nottingham. She died in 1930. There was one son, Stephen (1898)
This could be John who was an architect’s assistant and died at Euclid House on May 7th 1893, aged 26. (This could be William Arthur)
Mary Hannah (Polly), the eldest child, married James Thomas Stafford in 1895 at Ilkeston Independent Chapel. There was one son, John Thomas Wesley (1897)
Sarah Ellen (Nell) married William Manaton, a tailor and outfitter, at Bath Street Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in 1890. They then lived at Braunton near Barnstable. Their children were Fred Haslam (1891), George Aubrey (1892), Arthur John (1894), Doris (1896),
The next young man could be William Arthur, also an architect’s assistant, who died in 1894, aged 22. (This could be John)
On the end of the back row is Elizabeth (Lizzie) who married Edgar Thomas Slack, an ironmonger’s assistant, in 1897 at Bath Street Wesleyan Methodist Chapel. Their children were George Edgar (1899)and Doreen (1901).

Seated in the middle are George Haslam and Sarah Ellen (nee Wright). Between them could be son James Godber (1880) who died in 1903, aged 22.

Crouching on the front row are ..
Florence Ethel (Flo) who married joiner William James Fritchley in 1911 at Bath Street Wesleyan Methodist Chapel.
Joseph Owen (Joe) emigrated to Australia and can be found on the Electoral Register of Georgetown, Kennedy, Queensland as postmaster in 1934. He died on June 14th 1959 at Oaklands Park, Springbank, Adelaide, South Australia, aged 74.
George Edward (Ted) married Ellen Selina Webb in 1911 at St Mary’s Church in Ilkeston. Their three children were Helen Mary (1912), Dorothy (1914), and George Aubrey (1916).
Ada Gertrude (Gert) married schoolmaster William Henry Hollis in 1903 at Bath Street Wesleyan Methodist Chapel. Their children were Edna (1904), William Gordon (1906), Joan Elizabeth (1914), and Sheila Gertrude (1922)


The Haslam family residence at No. 5 East Street, Ilkeston ……

By 1880 George was surveyor to the Ilkeston Local Board, a post which he had relinquished by August of the following year.

In May 1881, at the first annual meeting of the Ilkeston Mechanics Institute, George was elected its Secretary.

In August of that year, as architect employed by the Local Board, he had drawn up plans for the extension of the town’s Gas Works, in Rutland Street, which had recently been purchased by the Board. They were subjected to extensive scrutiny by some of the more parsimonious members. For example Henry Clay questioned the need for glass in the roof of the coal-house and maintained that there would be sufficient light without it. George’s reply was that the men employed at the works had asked for some source of light — if no glass was provided then gas-light would have to be used — and this would mean extra expense of course ! The only alternative source of light was through the openings in the side of the coal-shed some seven feet high. When coal was stacked there, it might extend to that height and so cover thoses openings.  And then came George’s plans to stain the woodwork of the shed — wasn’t this rather expensive and unnecessary ? George argued that it was just as cheap as painting it., but the retort came back — Why bother to do either And it was rather late in the day for all this discussion — and too late for any alterations. The plans had to be voted upon, which is what happened — the plans were passed, but George was not the most popular man with several members of the Board. “It’s sickening. I’d as soon go and get drunk”, murmured one.

And by May of 1882 George,  ‘late surveyor to the Ilkeston Board’, had just worked on designing the plans for a new sewage scheme for the old Ilkeston Board, which had been adopted by that Board and sanctioned by the Local Government Board. However since that time, a new Local Board had been elected and this had repudiated George’s scheme. George was furious and was now demanding £50 as payment for the time and effort he had already expended or else he would purue his case in court. There was ‘animated discussion’ within the new Board and it was decided that George would be paid — but only after he had lodged all his drawings and tracings with the Board. The ‘Liberal-leaning’ Ilkeston Advertiser, opposed to the new Conservative-dominated Local Board, felt that George was being ‘ill-used’ in that his payment was being deliberately delayed, out of spite or jealousy of his success.

In November 1882 Herbert Tatham died and this left a vacancy on Ilkeston School Board. A special meeting of that board, chaired by Charles Woolliscroft,  was convened at the end of November, to elect a new member to take Herbert’s place. The Rev. John Fleming of the Congregational Church and Stephen Keeling both supported the appointment of George, as did the Chairman who was his close friend. All, of course, were Non-Conformist in religion and Liberal in politics. Charles described George as “a very suitable man in every way, seeing that they were about to build another set of schools … he was to a great extent a self-educated man, and a man of great energy and business habits. It was a matter of necessity to have a man of  business capabilities, and one punctual at his post…. they would have such a man in Mr. Haslam”. The Ilkeston Advertiser also believed that George ‘will be an active, practical, and valuable member, and one in whose judgement and efficiency the ratepayers will feel perfect confidence’. George was elected unanimously.
There was a second place available on the Board, resulting from the resignation of Samuel Streets Potter (who was off to America) and at this same meeting, this place was filled by the Rev. John Francis Nash Eyre. This meant, by agreement, one place for each of the Liberal and Conservative candidates.

In April 1884 George was appointed onto the Ilkeston Local Board… at the ‘election’ only five candidates were nominated for six vacancies !!!


April 11th… On the Good Friday night of 1884, about one am., architect and surveyor George Haslam was sleeping lightly in his bedroom at No. 5 East Street when he was awakened by a noise. Looking out his window and seeing nothing amiss, he was reassured to return to bed and to his slumbers. Had he investigated further he would have discovered the broken pane in his shop window and the absence of several pairs of the family’s footwear.
On that same night, about an hour later, PC. Payne was patrolling his path down Bath Street when who should he meet but James Noon. Perhaps it was the lateness of the hour which aroused the policeman’s suspicions, or, more likely, the 15 pairs of boots and slippers he was carrying under his arm. Recognising James as a returned convict he took him into custody. And later, architect George was reunited with his missing property.
Thus his craving for other folk’s footwear led to another appearance at the Assizes for James where he pleaded guilty and was back ‘inside’ — now for five years penal servitude.
(At this trial an alias of ‘James Alexander’ was mentioned though its source is not clear to me).

Post script. At this time George Haslam was building a new house and shop in South Street and only a couple of months after the break-in his son, six-year old George Edward, was on site, walking on the scaffolding around the building, when a plank lifted and sent him falling nearly 30 feet from the top of the building into the cellar. The lad fell on his head and injured his skull, such that it was feared ‘the worst consequences may ensue’.
They didn’t !
Their new South Street home was Euclid House — named after the Greek ‘Father of Geometry’ — at the southern corner of South Street and Queen Street. (photo below 2016 — note the symmetrical design).

On July 22nd 1884, George’s mother, Diana, died at Euclid House in South Street. She was aged 71. She was packing up her things, preapring to leave for a day or two, when she quite suddenly collapsed and died almost instantly.

In February, 1885, as Hon.Sec. of the Ilkeston Liberal Association, George wrote to Lord Hartington, Spencer Compton Cavendish, Secretary of State for War, asking his lordship if he would consider becoming the Liberal candidate for the newly-formed Ilkeston constituency. Lord Hartington had had several competing offers and so he refused George’s plea … Hartington eventually chose the Rossendale Division of Lancashire, and was elected as M.P. there in the December 1885 Election.

George then approached Thomas Watson, a businessman and J.P. in Rochdale, who accepted !!   Thomas won the Ilkeston seat in the 1885 Election, retained it in the 1886 Election, but died the following year.


The last meeting of the Local Board in February 1887.

Seated are front row left to right: Charles Haslam, William Wade, William Sudbury, Francis Sudbury, William Tatham and Isaac Attenborough and unknown. Second row left to right: Walter Tatham, Charles Maltby, Frederick Beardsley, Samuel Richards, Samuel Robinson, George Haslam, unknown, Wright Lissett and unknown. Behind second row left to right: William Fletcher, Edmund Tatham, Joseph Shorthose, Edwin Trueman and three unknowns.


When the town became a municipal borough on January 31st 1887 and the first Town Council met on May 9th of that year (above). If you follow the seating plan you should find George quite easily. In the May poll to elect the councillors, George had gained the most votes.


In December 1887 the Council approved the site which had been purchased by Ilkeston School Board for a new schools in Chaucer Street. George had by then prepared plans for the building. However it was only in September 1892 that tenders were submitted to build a new Girls’ and Infants School on the site.

In 1888 George was the Mayor’s auditor.


Viewed from the west – Site in Lower Market Place.

The original idea for a Liberal Club in Ilkeston came from William Tatham, lace and needle manufacturer of Stanley House, in 1886. A limited liability company was then formed, to raise finance for the scheme, and George was appointed as architect, his brief being to draw up plans for the alteration of a tumble-down property on the site to the requirement of the Liberal Club.
Many years before, the Anchor Inn had stood on this site, but this was followed by a shop and several dwelling houses belonging to Matthew Hobson and then to Paul Hodgkinson. These premises were purchased from the latter in 1886 for £2200 and it was these premise that were the basis for the new design.
Built in 1887-8 by George Good, it was designed to accommodate all the Ilkeston party members … 300 in total. “The exterior of the club is of a neat and imposing character, and it is quite an ornament to the Market-place.The interior consists of entrance-hall, two spaicious billiard-rooms, reading-room, committee-room, lavatory, and every other reasonable convenience.” (Leeds Mercury)
The building was officially opened on 31 May 1888 by the Marquis of Ripon and Walter Foster, M.P. for Ilkeston. 
It was closed as a Liberal Club in December 1955. The building was demolished in the winter of 1960-1.
Taken for the ‘Views of Ilkeston’ Series.


George had a tandem tricycle, worth £20, which was allegedly stolen in the summer 0f 1890. It turned out that it hadn’t really been stolen but merely ‘borrowed’ and then left in a neighbouring pub yard.


The Chaucer Street Board Schools

The ‘new’ school was opened in Sept 1889 with Arthur W Higgitt as Head, and 4 assistants. A girls’ school extension was opened in 1894.  The old building was demolished around 1980, and the site subsequently used for housing.

Courtesy of the Malcolm Burrows Collection held by the Ilkeston and District Local History Society


The new Wesleyan Methodist Church in Bath Street

In 1875 further land was purchased, adjacent to and in front of the chapel where some old houses stood …. for £375.
And yet more land was similarly added in 1881.
The original chapel eventually became the Sunday School rooms for a new Central Methodist Church, built at the front of the same site.
The memorial stones for this new Church building were eventually laid in October 1896 and it was formally opened in March 1898. Its architect was George Haslam of Euclid House in South Street, and it was built by John Henry Vickers and Son of Nottingham.

60 Central Methodist Church 1896

Laying the foundation stone of the Wesleyan Methodist Church, October 14th 1896. (courtesy of Ilkeston Library)
We are looking towards Bath Street, at the premises of Leeds and Leicester Boot Co. (46 Bath St.) and at the Queen’s Head Inn, now much closer to the road (48 Bath St.) .


The new church of Gothic design, constructed of red bricks with terracotta and stone dressings at a cost of £5500, had a spire 120 feet above the street level and which caused some controversy at the time.

William Smith (1909) writes that “some of our friends were a little doubtful about the spire, but there was a purpose in it and it was meant to show all around what was going on”.
The same writer also records that many a traveller on the Erewash Valley line of the Midland Railway enquired what the spire was. One man, when asked was given the reply, “It‘s the new Wesleyan Chapel in Bath Street”. 
“No, tisn’t”, said a boy correcting him, “it’s the Wesleyan Church in Bath Street”.

“Ilkeston was our climax, and we may fairly assume that for any time within vision so far as church building goes we have seen an ‘end of all perfection’, and no attempt will be made to rival or even come within ‘measurable distance’ of that noble building”. 

There was seating for 940 adults and it was then the largest church building in Ilkeston. It was closed in 1968 and its demolition started in 1971.


In May 1898 George chaired a meeting of the Committee promoting better accommodation for the south end of the town at the South Street Schoolrooms. George had recently been to London and had met with the general sub-manager of the Great Northen Railway Company but had been somewhat disappointed in the plans of the company with respect to the town.

In 1902 the Town Council had plans to build a Library for the town, with a market area adjoining … but it needed to borrow funds to do this. So, in February a Local Government inquiry was held in the Town Hall to explore this idea…. and George was present. There was plenty of available land as the houses bordering the south edge of the Martket Place, had long been taken down. Andrew Carnegie, the Scottish-American industrialist, had offered £7500 to finance the building of a free library, on condition that the town provided a site for it. George was a member of the Library and he strongly supported purchasing the site in the Market Place area.

On July 17th 1903 the foundation stone of the library was laid by Walter Foster M.P. for Ilkeston.

The Library was built and opened on August 24th 1904 by the Marquis of Granby


and on to the Nag’s Head in South Street.