Riley’s Row

The Riley Houses were on the northern side of the road, just after the Station Road corner with Bath Street.
The Riley brothers had an interest in a row of properties on the north side of New Street.  Adeline is probably recalling the 1860’s when she remembers two houses being occupied by the Rileys, though in fact they made more use of the row than that…. as we shall see.

The Brothers Riley and the Cockayne Sisters

George and Samuel Riley were two sons of John, framework knitter and house proprietor, and Jane (nee Walker) and both married daughters of Joseph Cockayne and Ruth (nee Musson).

George Riley (1813-1885)

“George Riley, a machinist at Carrier’s, had a plot of land on the north side. He built three or four houses. George and his family lived in one.”

Lacemaker George Riley married Charlotte Cockayne in May 1833 and their children were…

Harriet (born in December 1836) died in March 1857, three months after her marriage to James Henshaw, stone miner of Cotmanhay, and shortly after the birth of their son George William … who died three months later.
James Henshaw was a younger brother of Bath Street fishmonger William and later followed the same trade as his brother. In 1858 James remarried to Emma Shipley of Derby and thereafter lived in the North Street area.

John (October 1838) died in infancy.

Jane (June 1840) married John Daykin, lace maker of Bath Street, in December 1859.
John’s family were the Daykins of Daykin’s Row, on the north side of the Primitive Methodist Chapel in Bath Street.
For almost 20 years after their marriage Jane and John lived in one of the ‘Riley’ houses in New Street/Station Road.

daughter Sarah, who married young York of South Street, (and) lived in the next (house). 
Sarah was the younger twin of Jane — by 30 minutes —  and in September 1861, became the wife of Joseph York, plumber and glazier of South Street.
He seems to have deserted Sarah in the 1860’s to go abroad (?) so that in 1870 she gave birth to her illegitimate son John York.
Sarah lived in a Riley house and after her ‘desertion’ some of her children were taken in by the grandparents.
Her illegitimate daughter, Harriet Riley – born in 1858 before her mother’s marriage to Joseph York —  also occupied a place there after her marriage to Frederick Beardsley, coalminer, in June 1878.

George junior (March 1843)…. Was this the George Riley who left Ilkeston in the 1870’s, with Mary Wright, to work as a lacemaker in Nottingham
Mary was the daughter of Chapel Street baker and confectioner David and Eliza (nee Phillips), had an illegitimate daughter Ann in 1864 before forming a relationship (?) with George Riley, and moved with him to live in Napoleon Square in Nottingham.

In November 1865 Elizabeth (August 1846) married Henry Smith, cordwainer of Bath Street and the younger brother of George Clay Smith, who will feature shortly.
These Smiths were the Smiths of Smith’s Yard off Bath Street, opposite the Primitive Methodist Chapel.
Elizabeth died in October 1874, aged 28, leaving her husband and one surviving son, Henry junior.
Her widower Henry remarried in the following year to Sarah Howard, the daughter of the coal agent of Babbington Wharf, Benjamin and Harriet (nee Allen).

Ruth (February 1852) became the wife of Isaac Henshaw, coalminer of Cotmanhay, in April 1874 and thereafter lived in one of the Riley houses in Station Road.
Ruth died there in April 1897, aged 46.
Isaac married again, in 1900, to Sarah Ann Ball, and moved out of Station Road to 18 Burr Lane where he and his wife lived for the rest of their lives. He died there in 1920 and Sarah Ann in 1935. Both are buried in Park Cemetery.

Matilda (May 1854), in 1880, married Arthur Holmes, blacksmith of Sandiacre and then also occupied a Riley house until her death there in May 1889.
Arthur then moved on and became the proprietor of the Durham Ox Inn where he died in 1901. He is buried in Park Cemetery, sharing a grave with his son, Arthur jun., his second wife Martha (nee Hood), and her second husband, Thomas Straw.


Samuel Riley (1815-1876)

George’s younger brother Samuel Riley was a coalminer and married Sarah Cockayne in March 1836.

The couple had at least 14 children though only the first four survived beyond infancy.

Eldest child Mary (born August 1836) was a lucky one to survive.
Her relationship with Ilkeston coalminer Amos Phillips resulted in the birth of their illegitimate daughter Sarah Jane Riley in May 1857. There followed another illegitimate daughter who died in infancy (I am not sure of the father) before Mary married Ilkeston joiner David Johnson in October 1859.
After the marriage the couple lived in a Riley house where two of their children were born, and then about 1862, the family moved into Albion Place where a further five children were born. One of these was their son Reuben (or Arthur Reuben — he could never make up his mind !!) born on September 5th, 1865. Phil Henshaw has put together a very interesting account of this very interesting individual which we can see on the next page.
By 1881 the Johnsons were back in Station Road and thus began the family’s long connection with the street, which was to last until the 21st century.

Martha (September 1838) married her first husband in December 1863 .. he was Edmund George Harrison, who as a young lad, came to Ilkeston from Surrey with his parents (Thomas Rose Harrison and Mary Ann (nee Perry)) to work as a potter at the premises of Richard Evans.
Martha and Edmund George were living in Ebenezer Terrace with their two children when tragedy visited the family, the details of which differ … according to the source used.
In late October 1861, then aged 25, Edmund George had walked over to Cossall to visit a Wheatley houseshold there. It appears that he had gone to collect a gun which he had previously purchased or had been promised by the son at the house. However he was not at home, but the aged father was. When the old man picked up the gun and was examining it before handing it over, he inadvertently released the hammer and the gun was fired. In the line of fire, Edmund George was seriously wounded and after being attended by Dr. William Campbell who hastened over from Ilkeston, the wounded man was returned to his home. He lingered on for a few days but the wounds were so serious that they eventually proved fatal.
Two years later Martha married her second husband, Stanton by Dale widower Jesse Thompson.

The third Riley daughter Selina (December 1840) married lacemaker Herbert Smith of Bath Street in September 1861, their first daughter Sarah Ann being born just three weeks before the marriage.  Five more children followed before Selina died in Springfield Terrace in April 1878.
Less than a year later Herbert married again and spent the rest of his life in the Station Road area … he died at No 170 in 1929.

Susanna (July 1843) died unmarried in New Street in December 1863.

The other children were Betsy (August – December 1846), William (November 1847 – April 1850), John (March – April 1850), an unnamed son (May 1851), another unnamed son (September 1851), John (March – September 1854), Samuel (August 1855 – January 1856), Samuel (July 1858 – January 1859), and finally an unnamed twin boy and girl (January 1860).

Matriarch Sarah survived only two years after the birth of her twin children in 1860, and died at New Street , aged 44.
In the following year Samuel married widow Esther Limb (nee Hatter)… her third marriage.


Both Riley brothers lived in these houses in Station Road throughout the 1860’s and beyond — and died there, Samuel in December 1876 and George in December 1885, his wife Charlotte having died there in the preceding year.

Sarah, first wife of Samuel, died there in 1862. His second wife, Esther, died in November 1878 at Shipley, the place of her birth.

In 1862 a new burial ground was added to the Churchyard at St. Mary’s from land donated by the Duke of Rutland. The Ilkeston Pioneer (April 10th 1862) was looking forward with pleasure to this occasion …

The new ground to be added to the Churchyard is situate at the east end of the Cricket ground, and will be ready for interments in June next. The promoters of this very necessary addition to the burying ground deserve the best thanks of the public, for their efforts will undoubtedly save the inhabitants a heavy yearly rate for twenty years to come, which must have been imposed to make and sustain a Cemetery, as at one time proposed. For several years past increased attention has been paid to the order and neatness of the Churchyard, and we have no doubt the new proportion of the ground will in a short time be rendered a beautiful repository for all that is mortal of departed friends. (In fact the new extension churchyard provided only a couple of years of respite for the ‘inhabitants — a new Cemetery in Stanton Road was opened and in use at the beginning of 1864)

St. Mary’s new burial ground was consecrated by the Lord Bishop of Lichfield on Thursday May 29th of that year and Samuel’s first wife, Sarah, who had died on May 31st, was the first person to be buried there.
The internment took place on June 2nd and “many hundreds of people assembled to witness it”.
The Pioneer’s welcome was far from a ‘beautiful repository’ to ‘An Aggrieved Churchman’, who wrote to the same newspaper in November 1875 and who described it as “more like a dung yard than a grave yard” – the dung being that of the 20 or 30 geese who felt at liberty to wander in the area. In the same paper ‘A Mourner’ had also spotted the geese as well as their companion ducks and a grazing horse in the burial ground.
“A dog is not even allowed in the Dissenters’  Cemetery on the Stanton-road, which is kept in a very tidy state: but in the sacred spot attached to the old Church animals of every description appear to be welcomed. “

And how is the extension viewed today? How many Ilkestonians know of its existence?

After the death of Samuel’s second wife Esther in 1878, the husband of Samuel’s eldest child Mary acquired Samuel’s interest in these properties. That husband was David Johnson, joiner of Bath Street and son of joiner James ‘Jimmy’ Johnson alias ‘Squeeze-me’ and Jane (nee Bramley). David went on to acquire the rest of the Riley properties after the death of George Riley senior and added to his holding in subsequent years such that by about 1900 he owned the majority of the properties on the north side of Station Road, between Bath Street and North Street.  Several of these dwellings were given over to his children and their families during this period.


Levi Webster.

Adeline recalls that “Levi Webster, a warp-hand at Carrier’s, with his wife and three daughters, lived in the third”.

Lacemaker Levi Webster was a son of Cotmanhay collier John and Sarah (nee Meakin) and in August 1834 married Eliza Pollard, daughter of Bath Street framework knitter Samuel and Hannah (nee Knighton).

They left Cotmanhay in the later 1850’s to live in New Street.

There were at least seven children in the family.

Elizabeth born in 1835.

Alfred died of smallpox, aged 2, in 1840.

ŸAfter her first husband Joseph Hunt died, daughter Mary Ann married widower Samuel Richards, a Cotmanhay coalminer in 1873 and eventually settled in Rutland Street.

His eldest daughter Maria worked at Ball’s.
Silk winder Maria remained unmarried and living with her parents. She died in Shipley Hospital in March 1893.

John was born in 1845.

Eliza married Randall Cresswell.
Eliza married coalminer Randall Cresswell in 1868 and after the birth of son Frederick Ernest in 1869 went to live in Yorkshire. At the end of the century the family was in Whitwood, Yorkshire where Randall was trading as a grocer and coal merchant.

Louisa, the youngest, married George Riley, son of the china dealer.
Born in 1851, Louisa possibly appears on the 1861 census incorrectly identified as a son ’Elijah’ but by the 1871 census she has regained her original name.
In July 1872 she married general dealer George Riley, son of Richard, china and earthenware dealer of Bath Street, and Mira (nee Myatt).
She died in Station Road in September 1880, aged 29.

Levi Webster died in Chapel Street in April 1888, aged 73, and his wife Eliza in December 1902, at the home of her daughter Mary Ann in Rutland Street.

Let’s pause here and, as promised above, look at Phil Henshaw’s excellent account of Arthur Reuben Johnson