Jack Lee’s Yard/Albion Place

(The Alms Houses and Ilkeston’s Charities)

Walking up Bath Street, Adeline remembers …..”on the East side, there were private houses in Jack Lee’s yard, now called Albion Place. At one time Jack Lee’s yard was divided from Albion Place by a hedge.”

We are now opposite the British school.

She continues …“My maternal grandmother – she was born in 1796 – told me that she visited Ilkeston in 1823, and at that time, the houses in Jack Lee’s yard were nicely whitewashed, and the yard altogether looked very tidy and respectable.”

Born in 1796, Adeline’s maternal grandmother was Jane Brailsford, daughter of John and Elizabeth (nee Whitehead?), who married Solomon Wells in September 1815.

“The only entrance to the yard was in Bath Street and the drying ground with pump in it, belonging to Jack Lee’s tenants, ran parallel with Bath Street.”

The 1861 census suggests that Lee’s Yard encompassed eight premises and which were up for sale in March 1862. They were described in the Ilkeston Leader as…
“valuable freehold property in Bath-street, Ilkeston, consisting of Eight Houses, Glazier’s shop, Stable, Piggery, and other conveniences, with a frontage to Bath-street of 27 yards or thereabouts”.
The owner and vendor was Mr. J. Lee.

Adeline again … “Who Jack Lee was I do not know, but this yard was always called by his name.”

Let me help her out. John ‘Jack’ Lee was a plumber and glazier who in 1799 married Alice Burgin-Richardson, a daughter of wheelwright Francis and Rebecca (nee Deville).

Before Alice died just over ten years later the Lees had had several children, the majority of whom died in infancy and were buried in St. Mary’s Churchyard where Alice was also buried.

Son John ‘Jack’ junior was a child who did survive however and eventually followed the same trade as his father.
When he married Sarah Bostock, daughter of Paul and Sarah (nee Daykin) in 1830 he became brother-in-law to Paul Bostock of Bostock’s Row who, as we have seen, was fond of smashing a few windows around the town. Perhaps he put a little business in the way of his brother-in-law?

John and Sarah Lee lived at one of the cottages in Lee’s Yard alias Albion Place.
“Who has not seen ‘Jack Lee’ washing himself in front of his house on a cold winter’s morning and rubbing his face with the towel until his cheeks were suffused with a ruddy glow?… a blunt, outspoken glazier who for many years occupied the house nearest to Bath-street, and is said to have saved certain fees by burying one of his children underneath the hearthstone”. (a 40 years’ resident. IP 1900)

John ‘Jack’ junior died in May 1864.


“Mr. Hemingway, a decorator, his wife and little daughter lived in the first house”

Mr Hemmingway was perhaps John Hemmingway who appeared at Smalley Petty Sessions in June 1867, described as ‘late of Ilkeston, now of Derby’. He had left Ilkeston during the previous month, owing rent to his landlord, Henry Barker. At court he agreed to pay the outstanding rent and costs.

Alternatively Adeline may be referring to house painter Thomas Hemmingway, born in Littleover in 1827, married to Emma Simpson of Denby in 1852, with son John born at Ripley in 1853 and daughter Flora at Littleover in 1858. Thereafter the family settled in Derby.


Isaac Aldred, a machinist at Carrier’s, was in the second house. He was married and had two or three children.

We have recently encountered lacemaker/twisthand Isaac Aldred of Lee’s Yard, playing a part in the saga of George Clay Smith.

One day in April 1870 and with permission, Isaac was on the land of John Taylor of the Manor House, shooting crows or rooks, when the barrel of his gun exploded, causing a large wound in the centre of his forehead and smaller ones on his nose and around his eyes. Blood flowed freely. Simon Clarkson the chemist was sent for, a man “whose skill in the management of bad wounds” was “known throughout the district” but the druggist felt powerless to act “on account of the unjust monopoly given by the law to ‘professional’ men”. (IT)
On Simon’s recommendation a ‘professional’ medical man, Dr Norman, was called to treat Isaac who recovered well. However, to add insult to injury, six months after the accident Isaac was sued at Ilkeston County Court by lacemaker Albert Tatham claiming that he had sold the defective gun to Isaac for 3s 6d and had not yet been paid.
Isaac’s successful defence was that he had not in fact bought the gun but had merely taken it out to try when the explosion occurred. Presumably the remains of the weapon were returned to Albert.

“One evening Isaac was at the Wine Vaults in East Street, when a quarrel took place. Isaac was kicked in a vital part, and the result was a long and painful illness which ended in death. I remember going with a message from my father to Mrs. Aldred – who, by the way, was very deaf – and when the door was opened, the first thing I saw was the coffin standing in the living room. These houses had only one room upstairs and down, so the coffin was obliged to be in the room with the wife and children until taken away for burial.”

Isaac Aldred died while resident at Lee’s Yard in April 1875, aged 40. He was the son of Samuel and Lucy (nee Scattergood) and his deaf wife was Hannah (nee Barker), daughter of John and Ann (nee Herring) of Greasley whom he had married in February 1857.

There were at least ten children of the marriage, most of them surviving into maturity.
Daughter Ann was one who did not.
It was about 8.40 on one Saturday morning in May 1872 when her mother sent Ann, aged one year and nine months, with an older sister, to the chemist shop of Simon Clarkson at 14 Bath Street to buy some snuff.
Emily Lowe (nee Pitt), widow of Joseph, was in Bath Street at that time and observed three carts, pulled by horses and loaded with coal, travelling slowly up the street. In the employ of William Glazebrook of Shipley, the first cart was driven by Jesse Lounds and was chained to the second one to help it up the hill. Ann was following her sister across the road when she seemed to trip over a stone and fell under the first cart with tragic consequences. Herbert Green, a collier neighbour of the Aldreds, picked up the dead child and carried her the short distance home. Her distraught mother shouted to send for doctor Norman and then confessed that she became so ill she could remember nothing of what followed.
At the Monday inquest held at the Queen’s Head the verdict was ‘accidental death’.

(Emily Lowe married Simon Clarkson in 1880).

The oldest  Aldred son was collier John who had as much luck with gun barrels as his father.
In May 1881 he decided to bring back into action a gun which had not been fired for some time when the barrel burst and his left hand was severely mutilated. He was taken to Dr. Roland’s surgery in lower Bath Street and examined by both Dr. Roland and later Dr. Armstrong. Their conclusion was that immediate amputation was necessary and was successfully accomplished under the influence of chloroform.

After Isaac’s death his widow Hannah married William Howard Wood just over 16 months later, living at Abbey Street and then at Carr Street. She died in Meadow Street in December 1898, aged 61.


And in the third house — at least for a time — were the notorious Noons.

The Grand Tour