Old Ilson Blog 1855


Jan 3rd

Yesterday the bankruptcy case of Henry Mantle Hitchcock, Ilkeston miller, continued, once more, at Nottingham Bankruptcy Court …. and once more it was postponed !! ….. (see last year !!)
It now appears that there is some suspicion that Henry has tried to conceal property from the court — the items in question include two patchwork chairs and a parrot, made by his wife, two dozen bottles of sherry, six silver spoons and some electro-plated forks, and a collection of dogs.
All of this was either denied or disputed; hopefully the truth will emerge on the 23rd when the case will recommence.

Jan 24th

As expected, the saga of miller Hitchcock continued yesterday at Nottingham Bankruptcy Court when his history at Rutland Mill was revealed.
Henry Hitchcock came to Ilkeston about five years ago, taking over the steam corn mill, with no capital to back him, despite the fact that the business required at least £2000 to work. His father, who lived at Leicester, acted as his agent and had supported him financially — purchasing grain as and when required by his son. Soon a debt of over £8000 was owed by the son — the father gave a gift of £1000 and accepted a bond for the rest.

The Court was satisfied with the bankrupt’s explanation of his property and the final meeting was set for February 20th


Feb 15th

A couple of days ago the opening lecture for the season, of the Mechanics’ Library and Literary Institution, was given by our Baptist minister, the Rev. Thomas Roberts Stevenson, on the poetry of the late Thomas Hood. During it, many extracts from Mr. Hood’s finest poems were quoted. I was particularly moved by the first and last verses of what I consider his finest work … the verses almost identical, save for that vital extra line in the last stanza …

With fingers weary and worn,
    With eyelids heavy and red,
A woman sat, in unwomanly rags,
    Plying her needle and thread—
        Stitch! stitch! stitch!
In poverty, hunger, and dirt,
    And still with a voice of dolorous pitch
She sang the “Song of the Shirt.”

With fingers weary and worn,
    With eyelids heavy and red,
A woman sat in unwomanly rags,
    Plying her needle and thread—
        Stitch! stitch! stitch!
    In poverty, hunger, and dirt,
And still with a voice of dolorous pitch—
Would that its tone could reach the Rich!
She sang this “Song of the Shirt!”

The title of the poem lies in the final line of each verse.

Feb 16th

Like many in his family, Charles Beardsley of Cotmanhay worked as a warp-hand, but also like many in his family he was recently having great difficulty finding employment in that trade. Consequently he looked elsewhere, and this led him to what he hoped was temporary employment at West Hallam iron works.

A few days ago he was engaged in removing spoil from the heaps, close to the iron pits — what Charles didn’t realise was that the large mass had been previously undermined and without warning, it collapsed onto him. He was severely injured; conveyed home but survived only a short time thereafter.

He had yet to reach forty years of age and leaves a widow, two young sons and one step-daughter.

Feb 21st

Yesterday Henry Mantle Hitchcock once more appeared at Nottingham Bankruptcy Court … and there were harsh words by the Commissioner for his behaviour, and the conduct of his accounts. Consequently protection was provided for only one month, after which time the bankrupt could apply for its renewal.

Feb 22nd

While the Parish Church of St. Mary is being restored, the girls’ National School in the Market Place has been licensed for public service.

Feb 27th

A week ago — on Shrove Tuesday — a concert was held at the Baptist Meeting House in South Street to welcome the arrival of the new organ, installed there. Particular credit must go to George Small West who trained and led the choir during the concert.


Mar 6th

Henry Mantle Hitchcock, lately a miller at Ilkeston, is a frequent subject of this blog. And it appears that his problems continue, and extend … they now have embraced his father Henry senior, also a miller, trading at Leicester.

The latter appeared yesterday at Leicester Nisi Prius Court, being sued by Market Harborough corn merchant Jacob Biddles over an unpaid bill for 57 quarts of wheat, valued in total at just over £187, and sold in August of last year.  Apparently Henry did not deny acquiring the wheat and not paying for it; however he claimed that the purchase was for his son, Henry Mantle, that he had handed the corn over to his son, and had informed Jacob that he should get payment from that same son. Unfortunately for Jacob, the son was now bankrupt; thus full payment would not be forthcoming.
The corn merchant however argued that he had sold the produce to the father and that, therefore, he was the one who should pay.
Though I was not present at Court, I am informed that there was much discussion and conflicting evidence over who said what to whom, over who was present to hear these conversations, and who promised what, and when.
In conclusion, the judge said that the members of the jury should base their decision upon the degree of credit they attached to the respective parties. They subsequently did —reaching their decision in just over a minute — and Jacob Biddles left the court a richer man, by £187.

As a post script, I learn that Henry Mantle has now left his home city of Leicester and is managing a business at Dunchurch. Meanwhile, if I need to remind you, his bankruptcy case has once more been postponed until the 20th of this month.

Mar 15th

What a surprise !!

A valuable corn-mill, powered by a 26-horse-power Condensing Steam engine, with two good boilers, is up for sale by auction in Ilkeston … recently occupied by guess who ??

The premises include a dwelling house, granaries, stabling, coach-house, gardens, offices, &co., — there are also four acres of pasture land. It is held under a 21-year lease, dated from April 5th, 1850 — presumably the date when it was first occupied by its former tenant — under the terms of which, the lessor is bound to supply coal, free, to the wharf next to the mill, for the purposes of working the mill and its adjoining premises.

The mill is described as twenty yards from the Erewash Canal and a quarter of a mile from Ilkeston Station on the Midland Railway.

Mar 17th

Yesterday, to mark the departure of the Rev. John Charles Hall Deacon, Curate of St. Mary’s Church, from his post here and from the town, an elegant silver font, for private baptisms, was presented to him, by members of his congregation.

Mar 20th

I cannot yet confirm this story, but rumours abound that a week ago a remarkable discovery was made at our parish church.

As readers may well be aware the restoration of the church has begun, undertaken by the Leicester construction company of Lindley and Firn. Digging out the foundations for a new Chantry on the site of the old one, the workmen came to a bed of hard solid clay. This had to be removed to prepare a place for the new furnace room. Within this bed was discovered an ancient oak coffin, partially decayed but clearly placed there before the walls of the old chantry had been erected. On removing this coffin, another discovery inside it ! — a remarkably well-preserved body, with flesh still remaining on the bones !!

This was removed carefully into a hand-barrow and was immediately re-interred with appropriate decency.

The church is due for re-opening in October of this year, but work is progressing so well that it may be ready for use before that date.

Mar 23rd

Jonathan Henshaw is a young lad — I believe he is 19 years old — the son of another Jonathan.

Junior Henshaw works in a deep coal pit in the town and on January 9th of this year was involved in a very unfortunate accident there.
He was on the surface when three of his fellow workers, down in the mine, were preparing to return up the shaft. They gave the usual signal for ascending which was not heard by those at the top. The three then began their journey out of the mine, in their frame and had travelled about 70 yards upwards. Unaware that they were on their way to the surface, young Henshaw tossed a piece of wood, called a sprag, down the shaft — it struck George Starbuck, one of those in the frame, who was knocked from his position and died almost immediately.
Later my old friend, parish constable George Small interviewed the Henshaw lad — he was beside himself with remorse, admitted his offence but said that he had often seen men throw wood down the pit. Whether this is common practice, I cannot pass judgement on, having never worked in the mining trade.
Jonathan appeared at the Derby Assizes Court on the 20th of this month where he was convicted of manslaughter; mercy was recommended by the jury because of his youth and the prosecution concurred.
Sentencing was deferred until yesterday when he was warned to be more cautious and less reckless in the future; he was then sentenced to six months’ imprisonment in Derby Jail.
Meanwhile George Starbuck is now six feet under.


Apr 6th

The renovation of the Parish Church continues to provide news items. This one  is generated by Observer who penned a letter to the Nottingham Journal, dated April 3rd, appearing in that paper two days later.

From the contents of this letter it appears that Observer is most concerned about the ‘enlargement of the Churchyard’ which is included in the planned alterations and improvements … he argues that while the National Government is making such strenuous efforts to improve the sanitary conditions of the country, it is astonishing that the community burial ground should be extended into the Market Place and into the midst of the local populace. Not only will this encroachment be ‘prejudicial to their health and comfort’ but will ‘cramp the social and trading interests of the increasing town of Ilkeston’.

The old church wall has been pulled down, with a replacement being built to the west of the original; Observer is left wondering who has given authority for this ‘un-christian’ aggressive act.

Apr 10th

And while the old church wall was pulled down, a new stone was yesterday laid … this was the foundation stone of the renewed church.

The event drew a large crowd, some involved in the later ceremony but the majority merely spectators, perhaps wanting to view this moment in the town’s history.

It was preceded by an evening divine service in the Girls’ National School, in the Market Place, now temporarily licensed for such ceremonies while the Parish Church is unavailable. After prayers, a procession was formed, headed by the architect and builders, responsible for the renovation, followed by Robert William Mills Nesfield, the agent for the Duke of Rutland; the churchwardens; the clergy; the building committee; and then 300 children of the Sunday and National Schools. Parishioners, visitors and friends then came behind … all in two-by-two … all making their way to the church and the previously-prepared stone. The wife of the vicar, the Rev. Searle Ebsworth, then placed coins of the present year in a plate-glass box, next to the stone, together with a bottle, containing details of the restoration of the church and events leading to it, subscriptions made, and details of the day’s events.

Then Dr. George Blake Norman presented a silver trowel to Mr. Nesfield. Apparently the latter wielded the instrument with ‘great dexterity’ — I cannot confirm this as I was not witness to the act — as he laid the stone in the north-east corner of the chantry. Speeches were made, after which the children were escorted into the Vicarage grounds where they each received their commemorative bun from Mrs. Ebsworth.

I reproduce here, some details of this new church which has been, or will be, significantly enlarged to accommodate 300 extra worshippers, without galleries. The description is taken from the Nottingham Journal , which cannot be described as a reluctant admirer !!

The windows of the aisles are all of one pattern, which is unique, and peculiarly light and elegant. The screen, partly stone and partly polished marble, is the only one of the kind known to exist — it is marvellous for its lightness. The three lofty arches of the south arcade are of the date of Stephen and the mouldings of the capitals are very bold and excellent. Of the three arches separating the chancel from the chantry, which have already been re-erected, it is not too much to say that they are the best samples of the best period of the decorated. The horizontal section of each shaft is a richly foliated cross; the capitals are adorned with foliage, converted into whimsical heads. The windows of the north chantry (now being rebuilt on the foundation of an old one, which fell down in 1714), and the two eastern windows will, when finished, will be equal to anything in the midland counties, and will be faithful transcripts of the originals.

Apr 14th

The letter by Observer just over a week ago (April 6th) has provoked a reactive letter from Veritas, printed in the same newspaper. The latter correspondent points out that the part of the Market Place in question is not public but private property — it does not belong to the inhabitants of Ilkeston but to the Church, given to it by the Duke of Rutland — for the purpose to which it is now applied. It is in the power of the Church to do with the land as it wishes.

Veritas ends with his kind assessment of Observer — ‘I am afraid he is one of those — and there are more in Ilkeston — who saythey are advocates of improvement, yet oppose it to the utmost of their power if it originates with others than themselves’.

Apr 15th

The Directors of Ilkeston Water Works Company are seeking tenders for work to extend the water supply for the town. This will involve the construction of a new reservoir, as well as the laying and jointing of main pipes, fixing hydrants, sluice valves and services.
Separate tenders must be submitted for the two projects, the closing date for which is May 1st.
Bartholomew Wilson, the Secretary of this Company, has oversight of the tender process.

Apr 16th

Has the saga of Mr. Henry Mantle Hitchcock’s bankruptcy finally drawn to a close ??

I hear that a dividend of 1s 6d in the £, payable from today, has been declared.

Apr 25th

As you will be aware, the Woolliscroft family have their ‘new shop’ (opened last year I believe) on the east side of Bath Street, just north of New Street.
And I would like to remind readers that I receive no remuneration for including publicity ‘flyers’ like the one above.


May 1st

Wheatley Straw is the ground-bailiff of Samuel Potter, the coal-master who lives at Ilkeston Park hall. Yesterday he was engaged, with fellow workers, in the removal of an old boiler from a room at the coal works, when the chain being used to haul the boiler, slipped. Wheatley found himself trapped against a wall, in a very precarious position — the only way to extricate him was to knock down part of the wall.

Wheatley, who is about 50 years old, lives in Heanor Road .. he is injured but it is to be hoped that he makes a swift recovery.

May 15th

Henry Thompson, tailor, hatter and woollen draper of South Street, is in serious financial difficulty, and has, this month, become a declared bankrupt.

May 23rd

And it appears that Henry is not the only one with financial problems; the funds needed for the on-going improvements to the Parish Church are not sufficient to meet requirements.

Some time ago the Society for Promoting the Building, &Co., of Churches and Chapels, chaired by the Archbishop of Canterbury, was approached to increase the grant it had made to Ilkeston; it has just agreed to the requested enlargement.


Jun 2nd

Tenders are being sought for the erection of a new Wesleyan Methodist chapel in the town. The plans are being held at the home of the Rev. Abraham Watmough, in Pimlico.

I know little more than this, except that the possible location for the new chapel might be in the Market Street. The need for another place of Wesleyan worship comes about because of the split in that Church, which, although national, has become especially acrimonious in Ilkeston.

Jun 7th

The next time you travel to Nottingham, you might wander into Pepper Alley, close to Temple Court. The whole of this area has been converted and improved, with new houses and work places. But what is significant is that as you walk down the alley, you will be treading on Ilkeston Bricks, no less !! … renowned as the best for paving purposes — because of the clay from which they are made, they are hard and durable, impermeable to water, and soon dry after being wetted.

Jun 14th

And yet more building in Ilkeston !

Lace manufacturer Joseph Bailey, who has premises at the bottom of Bath Street, is expanding and has plans for a large new factory, four stories high, to be built in Workhouse Hill / Heanor Road. He is now anxiously seeking a builder to convert these plans into a reality.

Jun 19th

Yesterday was a most impressive disappointment for Mr. Thomas Hives, proprietor of Vauxhall Gardens, and for many of Ilkeston’s residents.

Thomas had paid for bills to be posted throughout the town, and had hired a cart (belonging to fishmonger William Henshaw, I believe) carrying a huge board with a full length portrait of ‘The Red Man of Agar’. …. this travelled about the streets to proclaim that June 18th would be a splendid day of entertainment at the Gardens, with dancing, fireworks exhibitions, and of course the appearance of ‘The Red Man’ himself, ‘whose feats of agility surpass belief‘.

Unfortunately the weather was most inclement and dampened the spirits of those present … a few rockets were sent skywards and ‘Red Man’ made a belated appearance, but ‘the whole affair was a decided failure’, (in the opinion of the Nottingham Journal).


Jul 6th

Yesterday Thomas Hives, the proprietor of the Rutland Hotel and Ilkeston Baths took space in the Nottinghamshire Guardian to advertise the re-opening of the baths and citing the example of Mr. Fry, book-keeper of Nottingham — the latter has been incapacitated with rheumatism for nearly nine months, unable to walk and dress himself until a fortnight’s bathing at Ilkeston left him sufficiently strengthened that he can now walk three miles unaided.

In its ‘local intelligence’ section, the same newspaper printed a helpful description of the history of the baths, the unique composition of its water, and how it is pumped from a depth of 60 yards ‘out of a pit communicating with the works of an old coal field‘, becoming impregnated with its many beneficial ingredients.

It concludes that ‘persons visiting the town, will be well accommodated, at a reasonable expense, at the Rutland Hotel‘. One wonders whether the editor of the Guardian is related to Mr. Hives ?!

Jul 13th

A new Wesleyan Chapel is to be built in the town, and yesterday its foundation stone was laid, by William Turner Shaw, Esq., of Derby.. The site, close to the Cricket Ground, saw a large concourse of spectators gather in the morning, for the occasion, after which, in the afternoon, the friends were catered for at the White Lion Inn. Then a public meeting was held in a marquee erected in the field of Matthew Hobson, close by.

The new chapel will be built in the Gothic style and much of the £450 needed has already been raised, some of it from the sale of the other Wesleyan Church in South Street to the Reformers.

It is planned to have the church ready by October next.

Jul 14th

I have, to hand, the Post Office Trade Directory for this year, and glancing at the entry for Ilkeston, I note the information given about the Post Office in this town.

As readers will be aware, the postmaster is John Wombell of Bath Street (who is also ‘bookseller, printer, stationer and agent to the Perpetual Investment Land and Building Society‘, and erstwhile publisher of the recently deceased Ilkeston Pioneer !!)

The Directory states that letters arrive at Ilkeston, via the Nottingham office, at 9.30 a.m. and thenceforth are delivered around the town and its environs until 5 p.m. The post-box in the town is closed at 4.45 p.m.

John the postmaster is paid no wage for his services and consequently letters destined for hamlets and villages on the outskirts of the town often have to wait up to three days for a delivery, unless they are called for.

The information in this Directory is now out of date !! After pressure from businesses in the town, the Postmaster-general has decreed that deliveries are to commence at 7.30 a.m. and the box will remain open until 7 p.m. Deliveries out-of -town have been similarly improved.

Jul 23rd

Today I took a stroll to the Cricket Ground to watch the match against a Loughborough Eleven.

John Paxton and Tommy Attenborough were on splendid bowling form … both took five wickets, those ten batsmen scoring only 24 runs between them !!

The home side won with 83 runs to spare … Tommy’s brother William was top-scorer with 46 runs.

Jul 31st

This month draws to an end with much activity at both the Boys’ and Girls’ National school-rooms — the latter of which, my readers will know, has been licensed to act as Church-rooms while St. Mary’s Church is being renovated.

On the 27th of the month, approximately 50 workmen, engaged at the church, sat down to a hearty supper provided by the Building Committee, at the Boy’s school-room. Messrs. William Riley, George Small and Richard Smith Potts were on hand to assist the Vicar who hosted the event.
The chancel and aisles of the church have now been roofed over, such that the masons’ work is complete.

Two days before this, the annual festival of the National School scholars took place — tea and plum-cake for everyone !! .. and prizes for ‘the most deserving’. After the dismissal of the children, the teachers and friends assembled at the Girls’ school-room for a friendly and relaxed social gathering … many commenting on the way the surroundings had been tastefully decorated by Miss Esther Evans, governess of that school.

And two days ago the Sunday sermons yielded collections of nearly £10.


Aug 7th

Yesterday Thomas Hives of the Rutland Hotel appeared at Smalley Petty Sessions .. no, not as a defendant !! The inn proprietor was accusing Paul Bostock, a coalminer of Grass Lane, of assault.

On the 20th of last month, at a time of the evening when many people were leaving the inn to take to their beds, Paul Bostock entered the premises, very drunk and disorderly, demanding to be served with drink. Thomas tried to put him out but hesitated when Paul drew a knife and threatened to ‘stick’ him. At some point and for some reason Thomas found himself on the floor with the coalminer standing over him.

And now the same man was standing before Thomas in court, making an unsuccessful job of defending himself. When found guilty of the offence, he was fined 57s including costs, or two months’ imprisonment. This is not the first time Paul has been in this court, and so he was bound over to keep the peace for twelve months.

I understand that only six or so months ago, just before Christmas day, Paul’s father, Paul senior, died …. perhaps the lad has taken refuge in drink to assuage his grief  ??!!

Aug 9th

Yesterday — a beautifully fine and sunny one as you may know — saw the annual excursion of children attending the Ilkeston’s British School. At two o’clock, 200 youngsters, dressed in gay holiday attire and walking two by two, set off from their Bath Street premises to walk to Dale Abbey, led by Thomas Walton and his assistants, and headed by the tuneful Ilkeston Band. Spectators lined the streets as the procession passed through the Market Place, down South Street, to Derby Road and on to the Dale which was reached in an hour.

Several hours were spent in youthful and innocent gambols before, around eight o’clock, the scholars returned, being joined, once more, by the band, as they came up Derby Road, and once more to the Market Place — where parents were on hand to escort them to their respective homes, delighted and fatigued.

Aug 24th

From the Blue Book of “Minutes of the Committee of Council on Education”, 1854-55, presented to both Houses of Parliament, by Her Majesty’s Inspectors of Schools, I take a little information on our town’s schools.

It would appear that the British and Foreign School in Bath Street has received a grant of £200 for buildings enlargement and/or improvements, while the Girls’ National School in the upper Market Place received £131 5s … and the Boys got £4 3s. Perhaps, in time, they too will be housed in a brand new building !!

Aug 26th

Henry Higgitt, the coal wharf labourer who lives in Grass Lane, is selling, by auction, one of the fields which he owns in that area — divided into ten lots, for building purposes. The land enjoys an elevated position, commanding a view over the surrounding countryside of the Erewash Valley, offering ‘a position for health not to be surpassed‘.

I understand that Mr. Higgitt is a remote relative of my old friend, George Small.

Aug 28th

Yesterday saw the return cricket match with a Loughborough Eleven … the first leg taking place last month, on the 23rd. … as above.

Loughborough were confident of a win this time as they had five professionals in their side and had heard that the visitors were fielding a very weakened team. But they once more they under-estimated Tommy Attenborough, John Paxton and Joe Horsley. The three took all ten of their opponents wickets — all but two bowled–  for just 64 runs. The Ilkeston Eleven had scored 173 runs !! and so achieved somewhat of another comprehensive victory.


Sep 10th

News that the Bishop of Lichfield intends to consecrate the Parish Church when it is opened on Thursday, October 18th.

And the people of Leicester feel justifiably proud of the part they have played in the restoration and enlargement of Ilkeston Church. At the first general meeting of the Leicester Architectural and Archæological Society a week ago, Thomas Larkins Walker exhibited his own drawings of the church, the rebuilding of which has been done from his designs. Many have described the reborn Church as a credit to the town. However the Renovation Fund is still some £600 short of what is needed to cover all the cost.

Sep 13th

This morning my old friend and Parish Constable, George Small, was telling me of an incident at Wakefield’s Yard, at the top of Nottingham Road, to which he was called last night.

It will probably be of no surprise to you to learn that it involved two Irish households in that area … and George seemed bemused by the regulative norms by which life is lived in this district. A drunken Irish ironstone labourer named Matthew Kelley had apparently assaulted Jane Hampson, a neighbour, striking her on the back of the head with a sickle, and drawing blood.

The labourer’s defence was that this was all an accident … that he had mistaken the neighbour for his own wife Peggy and that she was the real target of his violence !! Thus he should not be punished.

George took him into custody, to appear at Derbyshire Crown Court next month.

Sep 18th

Thomas Mather is a tailor trading in Bath Street.

Yesterday his six-year old son, Thomas junior, was riding a donkey in Rutland Street, close to the gas works, when the lad fell off and broke his arm.

It is no secret that Thomas senior married only four years ago.

Sep 23rd

And another accident to report.

Yesterday George Adcock, a youth living in Bath Street, took it upon himself to imitate and perhaps emulate Guy Fawkes. Thus, he placed about half a pound of gunpowder under a post, being determined to see it launched skywards. He laid a trail and set light to it, but unhappily the powder exploded before the lad had had time to retire a safe distance … he was burnt severely about the neck and face.

Sep 26th

And yet another accident to report !!... but this one was much more serious, ending in death.

Samuel Brown was a Nottingham-born glazier who, three years ago, married Julia Emma Hawley, a daughter of South Street butcher John and wife Mary. Since then Samuel has also traded in South Street.

Yesterday he was called to Nottingham Road in Trowell, to repair some windows at the mill of farmer Samuel Goodacre. He had climbed onto a roof to facilitate his work when the structure gave way and he fell onto the water-wheel, which was in motion. The wheel was stopped, assistance was speedily at hand, but it was too late to save the workman.

Samuel leaves his widow and one two-year-old daughter, Ann Hawley Brown.


Oct 10th

As the date for the consecration of the Parish Church approaches, the Derby Mercury has helpfully listed the improvements that have been effected, viz….
The aisles have been rebuilt and extended westwards to their original length.
A large new area has been enclosed within the church.
A new vestry has been built.
A chancel arch has been erected.
The principal entrance has been added through the tower.
The western arch, which was blocked up, has been re-opened and restored.
The churchyard has been extended and enclosed.
Heating and lighting have been improved.
The old decaying pews have given way to new and substantial seating, and further accommodation for 345 worshippers.
“As the church is a very superior specimen of the Early Decorated, it has been thought right to keep the new buildings in strict accordance with the ancient design, and to restore, or faithfully copy, every remaining portion; thereby preserving many details both interesting to the antiquarian and admirable as models”…..

Oct 19th

…. and the consecration duly took place yesterday, by the Right Rev. the Lord Bishop of Lichfield. The new church was packed for the morning service, and included 40 members of the clergy in surplices. There followed an afternoon and an evening service, preached by the Ven. Archdeacon of Derby.

It should be noted that work is continuing on the tower which is undergoing a transformation from the Italian to the Early English, or decorated style of architecture.

Beauty has taken the place of deformity.

Oct 20th

And speaking of deformity !!

The renovated church and the extension of its churchyard have emphasised the problem of the Boys’ National School, alias the Town Hall, alias the Butter Market, standing at its side.

I recall an opinion appearing in the Ilkeston News which described the latter building as ‘an ugly excrescence, jutting out from one side of the restored church and completely marring its symmetry‘. It is ‘quite as great a disfigurement … to the side, as the dismally ugly tower will be (if it is not altered) to the front, of our now really beautiful Parish Church’.

I would not place a bet upon its disappearance within the near future.

Oct 21st

Industry in this area is very deflated, but this has not stopped the inhabitants of the town from enjoying the annual ‘wakes’.

Much beef and ale were consumed by the adults while the juveniles were kept amused by the whirl-gigs, swing-boats and shooting galleries. And two days ago the troupe of Monsieur Ginnett made its grand entrance into the town to set up its tent on Woodroffe’s field, behind the King’s Head Inn. And yesterday there were two performances, the evening one seeing a packed marquee.

Oct 22nd

To complete the saga of Matthew Kelley (from September 13th), he will spend the next two months in Derby Gaol.

Oct 25th

There will now be one more resident at Ilkeston Park.

At St Nicholas’s Church in Nottingham, Phillip Potter of the Park has today married Emma Parsons, youngest daughter of the late Samuel and Elizabeth Parsons of Nottingham


Nov 13th

Now, here is a distant coincidence !!

In my blog entry for February 24th of last year, I reported on Richard Bramley and his problems with toll payment on the Nottingham and Ilkeston turnpike road.

On November 3rd of this year, Richard’s son, William, was caught in the same trap and as a consequence was summoned to appear at Smalley Petty Sessions yesterday. There he was charged by William Day, the toll-collector, with attempting to defraud him.

William D testified that the accused had passed through the toll-bar gate at the junction of Derby and Nottingham Roads, but had not paid the tax, stating that he was fetching materials from West Hallam brickyard to repair the road — and this would make him exempt from the toll. The prosecutor asserted that this defence was a lie.

Fortunately for William B he was able to call George Scattergood as a witness … the latter had been with the defendant on Nottingham Road when he heard one of the men who was putting the culverts in Ilkeston’s streets order William to fetch a thousand bricks from West Hallam — and this was exactly what he was doing !!

And just like in his father’s case, the charges against William were dismissed.

Nov 22nd

Nearly three years ago a new chapel in Cotmanhay was built by the Wesleyan Methodists. I see that the old chapel is up for sale by auction, once more. ‘Easily converted into Dwelling-houses‘ apparently. … much needed in this district.

Nov 30th

Let there be light !! …

…… On this occasion, not  an order from the Almighty but from the ratepayers of Ilkeston !! … who last night crowded into the Girls’ National School-room in the Market Place to discuss lighting the town’s streets with gas. Not without opposition, the proposition was adopted, with an agreement that it would be financed by the said ratepayers.

I am left wondering how long this accord will last. Me, a cynic ??!!


Dec 5th

George Farnsworth was a 15-year old lad living in Evans Row at the top of Derby Road, and working at a West Hallam ironstone pit when, last Thursday, the 29th November, he suffered a serious accident at the pit.
The lad worked as a waggoner and was driving a loaded box when his foot caught a cross-rail, causing him to fall and catch his head between the box and some pit props. Badly injured, he was taken home for medical assistance. He lingered for several days, in pain, but yesterday his injuries proved fatal.
There will be an inquest tomorrow.

Dec 6th

As expected, the inquest recorded a verdict of ‘accidental death’, and at the same inquest the case of a young child was considered …
Tamar Fulwood is a young lady who lives on the Common with her parents, William and Hannah, and, until recently, her illegitimate daughter Eliza who was just 18 months old. The child died on the 2nd of this month and since then, unfounded rumours have circulated that this was due to ‘unfair means’.
Today the inquest into the child’s demise produced a post-mortem report to show that death was caused by ‘inflammation of the lungs’. It is to be hoped that Tamar can now continue her own life, not clouded by ignorant suspicion.

Dec 7th

At the end of October I was reporting on a welcome newcomer to the Ilkeston Park residence.
Sadly, a week ago, came the news that Samuel Potter, patriarch of the Ilkeston Potters and father of Phillip, died at the family home at the age of 82. He is recorded as “a kind, warm-hearted neighbour, generous in all his dealings, and his memory will be long felt by the poor of his parish“.
The Potter family contributed generously to the renewal work at St. Mary’s Church and it is therefore fitting that Samuel was able to see and enjoy the completed work.

Dec 12th

The Independent Church and Congregation at Ilkeston have invited the Rev. Ebenezer Sloane Heron of Denholme near Bradford to be their pastor. He has accepted and is expected to arrive in town at the beginning of the new year

Dec 14th

Ilkeston’s livestock fair was held yesterday, attracting  ‘contestants’ from many surrounding towns and villages — Trowell, Long Eaton, West Hallam, Kirk Hallam, and Shipley, for example.
One beast which attracted particular attention was a formidable sow, estimated to weigh 35 stones and which had had three litter of pigs, numbering in total 56, exhibited by Robert Noon of the Shipley Boat.
Both Moses Mason and Isaac Attenborough showed fine, fat beast, both much admired but neither winning a prize.
The after-show dinner was held as usual at the Sir John Warren Arms of Mr. Attenborough, and the evening broke up around ten o’clock.

Dec 19th

On June 14th I noted the building of a new factory on the Common, belonging to Joseph Bailey.
That building has progressed impressively such that part of it has now accommodated several items of machinery. Thus, in reward for their efforts, 50 workmen of the the contractor, Edward Dusautoy of Derby, sat down to a hearty meal of good old-fashioned English cheer in one of the factory rooms.

Dec 26th

Miss Tamar Fulwood who just over three weeks ago sadly lost her infant daughter (December 6th) is now Mrs. Tamar Thorley, having married mining labourer Henry Thorley of Mapperley yesterday, at the town’s Parish Church.

Dec 28th

Yesterday saw a packed gathering in the Wesleyan Reform Church in South Street for social enjoyment.
In the afternoon a very good company assembled in the old chapel in Burgin Yard to hear reports of the schools in the circuit. There followed tea in the new chapel, with all the seats being occupied. In the evening a musical event, with singing and orchestral music, led by George Small West.
In total, the receipts on the occasion reached £30 which is to aid the reduction in the chapel debt