Letter 11

Continued from Letter 10

April 22nd, 1938.


Stanton Road had three shops in it. The first faced the Toll Gate and was built in the garden of the old Farm House. Job Derbyshire used it for a butcher’s shop. Job and his family lived in the old Farm House. There were five children, Sam, Simpson, White, Kate and another girl. Later on this family removed to Nottingham. Just below the old Farm House was a flight of steps, with a handrail, and in the room above lived old Gallimore and his son, about seventeen or thereabouts. One morning I went for some vegetables. I went up the steps, and on reaching the open door I saw a lad lying on the wooden squab. The room itself was very untidy. The round table had all the used breakfast things on it. The fireplace was choked with ashes. Skeps of potatoes and greenstuff were on the floor. A poor place for a healthy person to live in, but dreadful for anyone who was poorly. Mr. Gallimore was out, and when I said what I wanted the poor boy literally dragged himself off the squab to attend to me. I told my mother how ill the poor boy was. She said ‘He had no mother to look after him, and his father had to leave him alone when he went about the business.’ There was no parish nurse, sanatorium or institution in those days, and people in cases like poor Gallimore’s had to depend on surrounding help, or put up with loneliness and neglect. When I was last at Ilkeston three years ago, I went into Stanton Road and I saw again with my mind’s eye, those steps, the squalid room, and that poor boy lying on the inhospitable wooden squab, with no one to attend to him, just left there in his pain and weakness. He did not live long after I first saw him, and it must have been a happy release to him when he was called home. Lower down on the east side of Stanton Road, before you reached the new Havelock Inn, were two cottages facing the road. In the lower one lived Mr. and Mrs. Cartwright, parents of Mrs. W. Gregory, of South Street. Mrs. Cartwright placed a few bottles of sweets in her cottage window, hoping by this way to increase their meagre income.


Returning to White Lion Square, which had three shops in it. The first was under a tree at the top of Park Road. Mr. Samuel Rice took this, leaving the one in the Market Place. He was a grocer, and when he retired from business, went to live on a farm at Kirk Hallam. The next shop was just above the White Lion, and Thomas Wheatley’s coal yard. It was a small general shop kept by a Mr. Gallimore. He also sold milk and had a milk round. The third shop was nearer Stanton Road; it had not any trade to it, and was seldom let. Mr. John Wakefield, baker, had a shop in Wakefield’s Yard, off  White Lion Square. I think he sold everything. Mrs. Wakefield was a Frenchwoman. She was a very nice lady. She found out that I was very fond of music, and if I went too early for the bread, she would play on the piano for me, and I am afraid that I very often contrived to be there before the bread was ready. They had not any children. Mr. Wakefield built the double-fronted house on Stanton Road, below the Havelock Inn. It was called ‘Penny Loaf  Hall’ by the people. In those days bakers used to bake small loaves in a batch, a dozen or so. These were used for stuffing or puddings. They were a penny each. People said John made smaller loaves and so got more money for the building of the house, so they dubbed it ‘Penny Loaf  Hall.’ But I failed to see how John could make much profit out of such a small thing as a penny loaf.

Continued in Letter 12