Letter 15

Continued from Letter 14

July 22nd, 1938.


Going down Bath Street on the East side, the first private houses were in Jack Lee’s yard, now called Albion Place. Mr. Hemingway, a decorator, his wife and little daughter lived in the first house, and Isaac Aldred, a machinist at Carrier’s, in the second. He was married and had two or three children. 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. Jim and Jack Noon, father and son, who were cobblers, lived in the third house. At one time Jack Lee’s yard was divided from Albion Place by a hedge. Who Jack Lee was I do not know, but this yard was always called by his name. Below Jack Lee’s yard and up some steps were the old Alms Houses. Mrs. Widdowson, or ‘Weeping Mary’ as she was familiarly called, lived in one; a tall old lady – I forget her name – lived in another. To eke out her tiny income, she made small custards which she sold in the Market Place on Saturday nights. Her little stall was next to Charles Chadwick’s, the greengrocer. Her custards were much appreciated, and she usually disposed of her stock early in the evening. Below Isaac Gregory’s Riley’s, and Scales & Salter’s shops was Matthew Baker’s double-fronted whitewashed house, which stood on the bank, away from the street. Mathew was a warp-hand at Carrier’s. He had two daughters, Mary Anna, and Amy, also one son. The next were two cottages up steps, with gable to the street, and facing the long slope up to the Queen’s Head.

Below the Queen’s Head was what at one time had been the Post Office. Bessie and Maria Allcock lived here for some years. Both were ardent Methodists. Then came two tall houses; these were built back from the street and had tiny gardens in front of them but the flowers faded away and nothing was left but the soil and bricks around.

Below Mrs. Beardsley’s two shops – ‘London House’ – and Mr. Wass, the tailor and outfitter, was Smith’s Yard, also Mr. Smith’s double-fronted whitewashed house with low wall in front. Here lived Mr. Smith and his sons George, Henry and Edward, also his daughter Hannah. Hannah married Aaron Aldred, brother to Isaac Aldred, of Jack Lee’s yard. Henry married Lizzie Riley, the second daughter of George Riley, of New Street. She left one son. Henry’s second wife was Miss Howard, Ben Howard’s sister. Edward left Ilkeston when young.


The next houses were in Chapel Street. This was a cul-de-sac, having a hedge dividing it from Burr Lane. The old Primitive Methodist Chapel was in this street, hence the name of Chapel Street. Mr. Smith built one or two cottages in it; one daughter, Hannah, was a lace mender at Carrier’s, but developed consumption. I have seen her sitting in a chair outside the cottage door, evidently trying to get fresh air. The cottages were very tiny, and built right up to the roadway, and when the weather was bad so was the road, but not at any time was Chapel Street very attractive. Mr. Flinders, the slaughterer, built a row of cottages, the gable up to the roadway. You went down two or three steps to these cottages. They were called Flinders’ Row. Below Chapel Street and standing on the bank were two whitewashed cottages of James Henshaw, and his son Robert. Next were three or four new cottages. Sam Aldred, a machinist at Carrier’s lived in one. His daughter Emily died early in life through heart trouble. The shop at the corner of New Street was empty for a considerable time. Its first tenant was Mr. Tarlton, butcher. New Street, now Station Road, was a cul-de-sac, a hedge dividing it from Burr Lane. George Riley, a machinist at Carrier’s, had a plot of land on the north side. He built three houses. George and his family lived in one. His daughter, Sarah, who had married young York, of South Street, lived in the next. Levi Webster, a warp-hand at Carrier’s, with his wife and three daughters, lived in the third. His eldest daughter Maria worked at Ball’s. Eliza married Randall Cresswell; Louisa, the youngest, married George Riley, son of the china dealer. Henry Carrier had a house, and small factory at the rear. He had five sons. Enoch was an assistant at Mr. Joseph Carrier’s grocery establishment. Three, including George, helped their father. As I have stated elsewhere, these three were called the three Hebrew children. Tom, the youngest died when about fifteen years old. Regularly for many years, Henry Carrier could be seen at a certain time on Sunday morning  crossing Queen Street fields, on his way to the Dale, where he spent the day, returning home in the evening. On the south side were a few houses, and a small shop. I believe Mr. Sam Wood, baker, was the first tenant. He contracted typhoid fever, from which he did not recover. Enoch Carrier lived in one of the houses. Wilton Place and the Brunswick Hotel had not come into being. Three or four cottages were built below Butcher Twell’s shop and field, also Brussels Terrace facing the old branch line.

On Heanor Road were the old workhouse cottages. Wheatley Straw, a very prominent member of South Street Chapel, lived in one of them. There were a few very old cottages dotted about.


Returning up Bath Street on the West side we come to Manor Road, in which was the Manor House occupied by Mr. John Taylor, a gentleman farmer, his wife, son and daughter. The son, John Cocker Taylor, caught a chill when out shooting. Rheumatic fever supervened, from which he did not recover. He was about sixteen years of age. Mrs. Taylor was the last of the Cocker family. After Mr. Taylor’s death, Mrs. and Miss Taylor left Ilkeston. After 1858 the Bath House was occupied by Mrs. Bostock and her two daughters, Ruth and Mary. We cross the old line coming from the Manners Colliery, and soon we are at old Mrs. Straw’s whitewashed cottage standing in a garden. Sarah Straw was a spinster, and lived with her aged mother,. She was a lace mender, and had outdoor work from Carrier’s. Higher up was a similar cottage inhabited by Isaac Whitehead. He succeeded old Tunnicliffe as Parish Clerk; he also had a few bottles of drugs in his cottage window.

Now we pass a garden or two, and come to Adcock’s Yard. In it were two houses. Sydney Adcock lived in one; he was a noted cockfighter. At his death the property was sold to Mr. William Bonsall, pit contractor, and I remember that the occupants did not want to leave the houses, and force had to be used to get them out. The next was a Girls’ School, kept by Misses Straw, of Straw’s Brig(sic), Derby Road. The came three cottages. Mr. Charles Chadwick lived in the first. There were seven girls and one boy. If there were any more children they must have died in infancy. Ann, the eldest, married Mr. Spencer, a machinist at Ball’s. He was also a bellringer. Kate became Mrs. Wheeldon, Long Eaton. Harriet married Mr. Needham, a machinist, of Nottingham. Emma was in domestic service at St. Leonard’s-on-Sea, and, I think, married Mr. Heritage. Jane was a schoolmistress, went to Sheffield, and married Mr. Carl Wright, a widower with one little boy. Ellen became the wife of Mr. W. Winant, an engine driver. Clara, the youngest, married Mr. W. Craddock, draper. Edgar, the son, went abroad. Mr. Bailey, tailor, wife, son William and daughter Lizzie, lived in the next house. Mr. and Mrs. Campbell, with their daughter and her husband, Mr. and Mrs. Sowery, lived in the third. Higher up the street were two or three cottages, built back from the road, on top of the original bank. A waste piece of land in front of these cottages, and on the street level was where wheelbarrows, etc., were parked. Then came the slope leading up to Samuel Fletcher’s house and factory. The WesleyanChurch and School have been built on this site. The large house with quaint windows came next. Here lived the Rice family. Then came a narrow road leading up to two or three cottages. In one of them lived Ebenezer Pulcifer, bell-man and bill-poster.  Next was a double-fronted house, with railings in front, and approached by several steps. Next were steps leading up to Club Row Gardens. A block of shops, British School, Mrs. Boys’ School for Girls, and Mrs. Burgin’s butcher’s shop. Then Mount Street. Jonathan Bostock, or as he was commonly called, ‘Jonathan Trot’, lived in one of the tiny cottages. He was the lamplighter. Woodruffe’s, Smith’s, and Mr. Fox lived in the houses facing Mount Street. Tommy Irons, a dumb man, lived in one of the side cottages leading to the field. Club Row had Lee’s, Neale’s, Aldred’s, Grimley’s, Moore’s, Wuthed’s, etc., living in it. Again, in Bath Street, we pass Purcell’s chemist’s shop, and see two whitewashed cottages with low wall, in front. Here lived Joseph Hallam, baker, and John McKenna, clerk at Kensington Works. One morning when we went out, we saw that the entire front of John McKenna’s house had fallen out. Fortunately John had stayed with some friends that night. The house was never repaired, and the property was sold to Mr. Higgitt, who built his second shop on the site.

Above Charles Chadwick’s greengrocer’s shop was White’s Yard. On the right lived Mr. Stephen Rose, a miner and his family, Mr. Joseph Aldred, a machinist at Carrier’s, and Betty Carrier, a widow with two daughters. One daughter married John Foster, a cattle drover, who always wore a smock frock and top hat. He had one daughter, Esther. Beneath the living room window of Mr. Stephen Rose’s house was an open sewer, which received slops, etc., from the other two houses. This sewer remained open for many years. On the left of  the yard was Mr. Charles Turton’s house, used as a barber’s shop. In Bath Street was the house with shop window occupied by Mr. and Mrs. White. The next private house was above Mr. Solomon Beardsley’s baker’s shop. Mr. and Mrs. William Fritchley lived in it. Mr. Fritchley was a joiner, who left a widow and one son.

Continued in Letter 16