Post-war Jackson Avenue

Leaving behind the Manor House, at this point I would like to introduce a short section which records and summarises a little of Ilkeston’s oral history, about one particular street. I include it here because, at the moment, I can’t find a better place for it.

It isn’t ‘Victorian’ history, but I am a great believer in recording people’s memories and recollections, before they are lost.

N.B. You should remember that these recollections are not all of the same period.


On March 30th 2020 James Kelly posted a question on Ilson Bygones Facebook page …. Anyone got any pics or photos of Jackson ave or any stories of living on the street ?
Lots of people responded to him, and I have just gathered their replies together and tried to put them into some kind of order. This is their account … and we must thank them all for their memories !!  When communicating on Facebook, conversations tend to be clipped and short … there seems to be no time or opportunity for very detailed communication, and so it is here. But what is clear is that there is a lot of old friendship and neighbourliness in Jackson Avenue …. and a concern for others.

There may be mistakes in what I have written, but these will be mine … blame me.

And if any residents can fill in any gaps, answer any questions, correct any errors, add any more memories or photos, then please do so … I can easily fit them into this page.

So, if you walk down Jackson Avenue, from St. Mary Street towards Wharncliffe Road, on your left are numbers 3 down to  22A. And on your right are numbers 36 to 17 which is the Corner Shop. There is information for many but not all of these houses … so some numbers are missing.

Jim Beardsley starts us off in St Mary Street .. My maternal grandparents (George Henry and Frances Marie Buckley) lived at 42 St. Mary Street, the first house around the corner at the top of Jackson Avenue. My grandfather George (Jack) Buckley was the manager of the Standard Meat Co. shop on Bath Street opposite Woolworths. When he died in 1951 I went to live with my grandmother Frances for the next four years.
Living next door to me at number 41 was Denis Bradley a friend of Peter Moseley both a little younger than me. 
I also delivered newspapers in the St Mary St, Jackson Ave, Wilmot St. and Gregory St. area and therefore got to know the residents.

Left-hand side (walking down)

1a/1/2  Jim continues …. starting at the top left-hand side of Jackson Avenue there were three houses now made into a block of flats. At 1a lived the Lissetts, at 1 Mrs. Tilford and 2 Mr and Mrs Hickinbottom who were the Grandparents of Diane (Hickinbottom) Westbury of Miss Great Britain 1965 fame. One of the errands I did for Mrs. Hickinbottom was to take her wireless accumulator to the shop on Bath Street opposite Boots chemists — Marvels I think — and bring back a charged one so she could listen to her wireless (radio).

4/5/6  Andrew Knighton recalls that … My parents lived at number 6, next to Joe and Peggy Ayre (number 7). They took on the house from my mother’s paternal grandmother, when my parents – Sheila and Ewart Knighton – got married in 1950. We (including myself and my sister Heather) moved from there to a newly built house on Kensington Gardens in 1967. The Miles family bought our house when we left. They had two daughters. The Mellors family lived at number 5 and at number 4 were Dennis and Olive Horridge. They had two children, Jonathan and Joanne (I think). Across the road lived the Pearce family, Mrs Pearce’s name was Marion. Two sons, Robert and Christopher.

Jim adds to this …. I remember Andrew’s parents at No. 6 and Clive Ayre next door, at No. 7, with his older sister Jean; their father Joe could always be seen behind the counter at the main post office in South Street. Jean was a friend of Maureen Thompson at number 22 (see below) and her sister Beryl and Geoffrey of course.

Jennifer Ayre‘s husband, Clive, lived here with his family until he was 30 …. he had many happy years there.  Then, very helpfully, Anne Bentley offers this photo of the Co-op Club, with Clive on it. (Where is he ?)
And Clive remembers Anne and most of them in the picture (Who are they ?)

Neighbour Jon Nixon remembers Clive (budda) very well and Jean (Who is Jean ?)
Jennifer then tells Jon that sadly Jean passed away 17 years ago but Clive is still well …. he remembers you Jon and most of the street.

Clive also remembers Sheila Oakley. She was a friend of Jean growing up and their friend Christine Richardson. We lived on Burns Street. …. says Sheila. I think Clive was friends with my brothers Michael and Brian Foster. I remember Clive having a bad accident at the swimming baths when he was young. I think I remember the accident because our two families were friends with each other and because Jean talked to me about it how old was Clive when he had his accident.
That Sheila remembers his accident surprises Clive who thinks  he was about 13/14 years old when he had the accident, about 1957 or so.

9 Jim Beardsley recalls lads who were a little older than him …. Brian Grebby (at No. 17 Wilmot St), Maurice Naylor (15 Wilmot St) and Trevor Beighton, a member of the choir at St. Mary’s Church and the Wright brothers living at number 9; living near to Trevor was Gordon Paterson whose father was a Dental Technician with premises on Pelham Street before emigrating to Canada.

12  Chris Elkin‘s family lived here …. next door to Elsie Carrington and the Davis’s lived the other side! We were on the other side to you Jim!  I remember your dad hand-painting a car. I think it was blue ???
And James Kelly confirmed that …. My dad Jim would hand-paint cars. lol. happy days. Sadly he died in 2003. 

13 Jon Nixon was born and spent the first 23 years of his life there …..

Below are some photos from Jon’s Family album (Just click on the first two to make them bigger) .. the first photo shows his mum (back row 7th from left to right)
The second is a mystery but Anne Cook reckons it is to do with Queen Street Baptist Church, with the Reverend & Mrs Copley. Could be the May queen and attendants. And Sandra and David Frost would agree ….  Mrs Copley was a friend of Jon’s and my Aunt Edith and used to visit Jackson Avenue regularly. However Jon is probably too young to remember.

Jon’s photo above shows his mum, Olive, cousin Julie and Binki.  (I leave you to work out who is who)
The photo stirred memories with Sandra and David Frost …. Being a little older than you, Jon. I remember the only toilet at the top of the garden, and the gas lights which I think were removed when I was about five years old. Happy days
The image was not lost on Jon ….. Ha ha toilet block of four. I used to talk to Neil Biggs who would be in the one at the back of ours.
to which Sandra and David Frost replied …. When I was small I was frightened of the dark and view my visits to the loo with terror at night.
She was not the only one !!! ….  Me too (Jon)

And Anne Bentley posted this photo, telling Jon ….

Your Mum & Dad, and Arthur & Dilys Biggs are on this photo. Coronation street party 1953 .
Great photo, We have that one ….. replied Jon
Anne Gamble then wonders whether Anne Bentley’s parents are also in the photo ?… is that your dad with his arm around your mum on third row from left ?    And yes, it is !!
And Marjie Moseley can also see her in-laws in the photo … but doesn’t tell us where they are !!!

(So which ones are Jon’s mum and dad, and Arthur and Dilys Biggs ?)

15. Lindsey Martin recalls that  …. my grandparents, Dylis and Arthur Biggs lived at no. 15 Jackson Avenue and my dad, Neil and my Aunty Janis were born there …..
…. and Jon remembers them well …….  Neil and I were good friends.

And now Neil confirms that he at 15 Jackson Avenue, two doors down from Jon Nixon…….. Until recently my mum Dilys still lived there but sadly she now has severe dementia and is in Rutland Manor Nursing home. I remember Ted and Dave Naylor on Wilmot St, (at No 15 ) also the Grebbys who lived opposite (at No 17). Jackson Avenue was a wonderful street to grow up on with some lovely people living there, I still keep in touch with some of them. (I think many people would agree with you Neil)

after 16 Jim Beardsley remembers … At the bottom of Jackson Avenue after number 16 was a tatty looking garage (now living accommodation I believe) that in the fifties we dare not enter. Inside was a beautiful Jaguar Mark V (Mark five) belonging to Howard Cooper, the newsagent on Bath Street just below Pelham Street. That was a time when most cars were garaged because if left on the road then the side lights had to be lit all night.

17A Chris Thornhill tells us ..  I lived with my mum and dad (Syd and Beryl Lacey) at 17a. It was opposite the shop (at No 17) I lived there from 1964-1977. I remember Jon (at No 13), his parents and the Briggs family (a typo ?  Does Chris mean the Biggs at No 15 ?)

21A   Dianne Mccann‘s  auntie and uncle lived here but doesn’t mention their names.

Anne states that Michael Robinson, (shown in a photo below), lived at 21A before he moved to North Nottinghamshire.

Finally, on this side, Anne Bentley lists some of the names she remembers …. The rest of Jackson Ave to the junction with Wharncliffe Road: Walsh, Lacey, Martin, Bestwick, Robinson, Patterson (emigrated to Canada), Beighton.

Granger, Biggs, Barker, Nixon, Newton, Carrington, Flint/Saxton, Wright, Ayre, Mellor, hazy towards the top end. I’m sure someone can supply the rest! Edwin Naylor helps out …. above Mellor I think there was a Horridge … the name rings a bell.

Now we have reached the end of one side let’s take a look at a great photo posted by Anne Bentley. This is the 1951 Festival of Britain Street party which looks to be indoors somewhere (anyone know where ? anyone recognize any of the children ?)
Jennifer Ayre has the same photo.

Beverley Reddish has found her Mum on the photo (I assume she is referring to this photo) ….. and spots sisters Shannon, Gaynor Brown, and Ian (brother?) too . She asks Gaynor if this is the one that she has too?

So where are Beverley’s mum and Shannon. Gaynor and Ian, in this photo ?

Right-hand side

Anne Bentley has great memories, especially of the 1950’s and 1960’s, and especially the corner shop. She provides a lot of the names for this side of the street. She writes … I lived there from 1950 to 1966, although I mainly lost touch from around 1963. Some people had moved away and others moved in, most of whom I didn’t know.
As I was compiling the list, I realised that I knew more of the residents on the lower half of the street, along with the upper part of Wilmot Street. I think people who lived nearer the top of Jackson Avenue may have more memories to share and more details of who lived in which house!

The photos below are from Anne Bentley’s collection … all taken on Wilmot Street/Jackson Avenue, around the corner shop (They appear in the optimum size .. if I try to show them larger, they are very blurred)

Photo 1 shows Pam Toplis, Lynne Daniels, Dorece Wright and Anne about 1954.

Photo 2 is of Geoff Thompson, Teddy, David and Jack Naylor 1954

Photo 3 is of David Naylor, Michael Robinson and Teddy Naylor 1957

Photo 4 shows Teddy Naylor, Lynne Daniels and Deryck Taylor 1955

Photo 5 is of Ann Hopkins, Michael Rice and Anne, about 1947.

Photo 6 features John Wall (son of Doreen (Naylor)) and Dorece Wright, about 1957

Photo 7 Anne and Ann Hopkins about 1949/50

17. (The Corner Shop) Pearcy family (then the shop closed in November 1964 recalls Anne Bentley) This is also where the Grebby family lived. Anne’s family occupied the house/shop in 1950 when the Hopkins family moved out and into Gregory Street.

18  Taylor family (Anne Bentley)

19 Delia Mundin mentions that Ethel Scollins lived here, until she died in 1953 … Delia is her granddaughter and recalls her fondly.
As does neighbour Anne Bentley … I loved your gran, especially her accent! Hope you are well, Delia.
Madeleine Beardsley Stevenson knows Delia and her family from their childhoods together at Northgate Street but is surprised that Delia had a grandma in Ilkeston.
Delia … Yes she was very special. She died when I was 10 so you would be 6? You would be too young to remember. My Mum’s family lived in Derby. (Delia’s Mum is Olive) And this gets Madeleine thinking … wonder if she knew my Grandma, Mrs Buckley, on St Mary Street.

After Ethel died the Wrights, including Dorece, came in to this house. They emigrated to Australia in the late 1950’s (Anne Bentley)

20 Lacey family (Anne Bentley)

21 Daniels family (Anne Bentley)

22 The Thompsons (Anne Bentley)

23 James Kelly, (who started all this off) lived here from 1968 to 1984.  Anne Bentley also recalls the Isams here though she is not totally sure.
And Barbara Pavlov lived here with her parents until 1984 (so is she related to James Webster ?) This meant Barbara left just before Darren and Susan Melbourne arrived. Barbara recalls that when she was living there as a child, there was a Mrs Santon who lived at 24 . …. Lovely lady

24 Darren Melbourne lived here from 1986 until 1991, with his wife Sue and two daughters, before moving to Larklands.
Darren ‘apologises’….. Not many stories I’m afraid, apart from the neighbours taking down their chimney breast whilst we were on holiday. We came back to a hole through to our living room  (!!!)

The Flints and Saxtons are mentioned here by Anne though she thinks they exchanged, and Edwin Naylor thinks the Flints moved to St Mary Street.
Darren recalls that John and Joan Flint were good mates of his, and lived opposite to 24 …  John Flint was a plumber, worked at Stanton. They moved in with John’s mum on St Mary Street corner with New Lawn Road I think. They lived on the right as you walked up when I was there. They lived in one of the semi detached houses with the bay windows. … I think John lived at 24 as a boy (but then moved across the road ?) It appears that at some time the Flint and Saxton families exchanged houses on opposite sides of Jackson Avenue.

25 ? a gap to fill.

26 Beverley Reddish and her family lived here, and Beverley left when she was 17.  Her mum and dad, Ted and Alma Pollard, moved in when they were married and stayed until they passed away.  They are remembered well by James Kelly, who lived only a few doors away, and by Darren Melbourne who recalls Ted Pollard having ‘old Rovers’, the last one being ‘bottle green’, and “I remember getting two huge turkeys from my employer one Christmas, so I knocked on your mum and dad’s door and gave them one. You should have seen the look on their faces lol”. 
Beverley liked that story …. “oh that’s such a lovely story! Yes, my dad did always have ‘old Rovers’! I once drove one of them and it was the worst driving experience I’ve ever had – apart from being a passenger when he was driving !!”
James Kelly also remembers Ted fondly, as “a nice man who always spoke to me. I used to ride my bike up and down the alleyway as a kid. lol lol”.
Beverley adds that … Ted was an electrician and worked at almost every colliery there was around and about.

And Decia Webster of Wilmot Street remembers the family too … she wonders whether Beverley was the youngest ,,, and she knew Gaynor (Brown) and Shannon. Beverley confirms that she was the youngest .. Shannon, the eldest sister, was 15 when she was born, but sadly Shannon died a few years ago. She was born at this house.

Decia’s Dad and Beverley’s Dad were friends and Decia can remember Beverley’s Mum Alma who was lovely. 

Gaynor is now living in her Mum and Dad’s house.

John Mckermitt remembers Beverley’s cousin Jane who he went to the Grammar School with …  and Beverley fills in the details ; “Her father was my dad’s brother, Bill. She went to Cambridge. She had a brother – also Bill. He went to Oxford I think. Or it could be the other way round 😖 they’re both older than me. I went to the Grammar School too but they would’ve left before. Again – my sister Gaynor is the one who can remember everyone. 

27 The Taylors (Anne Bentley)

28 Williams family (Anne Bentley)

29 Websters (Anne Bentley)

31 Peter Mosley lived here, recalls his wife Marjie …and neighbours from across the road, Jennifer Ayre and Jon and Tracey Nixon remember him well. (Jennifer mentions ‘Marg’ ?)

Anne Bentley is not sure about the residents after this .. It gets a bit hazy then until Doar, Stenson, Staley, Grimley near the top.

And close by is Wilmot Street

Anne Bentley starts us off with a few names from Wilmot Street at around her time: Miss Shaw, Naylor, Shaw. Opposite side: Ashman (a bit later at Chilwell House) Isam (formerly on Jackson Ave); Stevenson; Booth; Richardson; Robinson; Grebby
Sorry if I’ve got a bit confused!

Edwin Taylor … Lived at 15 Wilmot Street till 1962 when my mum died. So many happy memories playing with the other kids before that.
And Jon remembers him as a friend …  Aye up me duck, how you doin?
Edwin …. Not too bad, a bit fed up with this self isolation lark. (Stay in, save lives, Edwin !!)

Ann Mallon writes that her mum’s family lived at 15 Wilmot Street (later Edwin Taylor ?) – the Naylors who had 10 children! When I was a very young child my Grandma Kate used to give me a sixpence to spend at the shop next door! (That would be the corner shop ?)
Ann tells us that it her mum’s name was Ivy and is now safe in a Care home ….. she would love to read all of these accounts – thank you!
At the corner shop, Anne Bentley would know the Naylors  well… Please remember me to your mum. I remember all the family as close neighbours and am still in touch with a few of them. I knew the younger ones best, they played a massive role in my childhood. So many happy memories of them.
Ann replies to Anne (are you following ??) … that is so nice to hear – how on earth do you remember me coming into the shop?!!!!!! Are we the same age? No-ones looking! I’m xxx years old. (It’s amazing what the  human memory can recall)

Ann later added the photo (above) …. Just found this photograph of 15 Wilmot Street where the Naylor family lived (my grandparents) would it be the Coronation?
And it prompted memories for James Kelly … Wow great pic .remember this house well as a kid growing up on Jackson avenue
And the memory of Anne Bentley came to the rescue …. Wow. What a lovely surprise seeing the photo. It was certainly the Coronation. Your granddad made a model of the coach; the window sills were painted red, white and blue. He also made a throne and my little doll, dressed in the same colours, which had been bought for me at the Festival of Britain two years earlier, was used as the queen.
I’m pretty sure the house won a prize for the decorations. ….. What a pity the photo is black and white. 
And Ann replied to Anne (!!)
……. oh what a lovely memory! My Granddad was such a talented man although I didn’t know him too well but to this day I still have a jewellery box made by him xx

Decia Webster  lived at 18 Wilmot Street and she knows two or three of these who have posted comments.  My Dad had the Black Labrador Dog. Mr Grebby. Henry the dog used to carry his basket up and down Bath Street for me Dad.

and Gregory Street

Sean Duggan lived on Gregory Street and starts a conversation with James Kelly … . You were at the back of our house, James, a couple of houses up. 
And James remembers … how are you mate ? 
Like Edwin, Sean is also a bit p…. off but memories have been stirred !! ….. I’m alright, on lock down like most people I suppose. Funny things people remember, but I remember you coming back from Reynolds Records with Grey Day by Madness. (Released 1981)

James then continues the conversation with old mate, Sean, ….. Happy days mate … I can remember playing at your house with your action man (lol lol).  How’s your sister, Sean, and mum and dad ?
Sean replies ….  me dad died 3 years ago sadly. He’d been ill for a while. Me mam is fit as a fiddle and bright as a brush. Tracey is in Derby now. How’s yours ?
 James says … Dad died 2003, Mum died 2010. Miss them a lot. Left Ilkeston 1984 after leaving school and came to Oxfordshire. Most of my dad’s family are here. Worked most of my life as a cinema film projectionist.
At this point Darren Melbourne joins the conversation, … to Sean  … well well, how are you my old friend? …and then to James ..  I think that I was in the same year as your sister at SJH (St. John Houghton) ???
Now we have a three-way conversation which can be very confusing. James replies to Darren …. OK Darren. How are you ? Yes you were in the same year as Barbara at SJH.    So you lived on Jackson avenue, at no 24 ? Wow small world.
Darren replies … yes, my first marital home. And a Very small town lol
And then Sean comes back in, replying to Darren … alright Daz.  How you doin?  How’s ya leg after fallin off an 8ft wall into 2ft of water in the River Derwent?
And back comes Darren … haha, you remember that???  That was 1975 I think.  lol.  I’m fine thanks, not liking this Covid business but coping well so far. Hope that you are all ok.
And just to make it even more confusing Barbara Pavlov joins in, to address Sean … I remember you Sean. And your house was at the back of our gardens. (That would be at the back of No. 23)
John Mckermitt mentions that his mate lived at No 9 Jackson Avenue and mistakenly names him as  John Cretin. (To his credit John later corrects his mistake)
But not before he has been corrected by Madeleine Beardsley Stevenson …. John Cremin lived on Gregory St. Do you mean him?
And John soon apologises (things can happen so quickly on Facebook, with little detail) …. I do Madeleine, sorry. We were best mates through junior school.
Madeleine replies …. I knew Theresa, his sister.
John then tells Madeleine that  … She did very well in the police force I think. John still lives local. Never seen his sister since early 60’s.
And then Gill Cresswell comes in, addressing John, and to prove that it is a small world ….. John Cremin was best man at my brother’s wedding!! Xx
And John replies .. Yes, they would have been at Hallcroft together. He and I were inseparable at junior school. We went different directions after the 11+ and we were broken-hearted. (It happened to a lot of us, John)
 Gill comes back with …. Aah that’s really sad. Used to see him when he went to see his mum on Cottage Close but not so much now! Xx

And John concludes with …. I think he’s Smalley way. No kids. Not sure if he’s married but he has a long-term partner (female), shame you have to put that these days. (Eventually you won’t have to, John)

Great memories !!! … And thanks to all of you.
And we are now ready to walk beyond Bath Street, towards the Cotmanhay area.