Below Gregory’s orchard

Adeline’s route takes us on …“below Gregory’s orchard, the next three shops were also detached”


Shop 1: William Briggs, watchmaker

“The first was empty until taken in the late sixties by Mr. William Briggs, clock maker and repairer. He also filled up his time by travelling with tea.”

This shop was 58 South Street in 1871 though by 1891 it had been renumbered as number 16.

In 1846 framework knitter William Briggs, a native of Glasgow, married Mary Barlow. Both were from Baptist families, Mary being born in Sutton Bonington, daughter of John and Ann (nee Beaton). The couple arrived to settle in South Street from Ruddington, Nottinghamshire, about 1861, accompanied by their seven children. By this time William was trading as a watchmaker.

Three more children were added to the family while living in South Street.

“Mr. W. Briggs in later years went to the shop in Bath Street, built by the late Paul Hodgkinson.”

In the early 1870’s the family moved into 89 Bath Street, between Chapel Street and Station Road, and stayed there until the later 1880s when William gave up watch making to become a house and insurance agent — and about the same time moved to live at Clyde Cottage in Gregory Street.

There were eight children …. recalls Adeline.

Sarah married Mr. Fox, she left her husband with two children.
Sarah married iron moulder William George Fox in 1867, lived in Belper Street and died in Weaver Row in December 1874, aged 28, leaving four children — William Henry (1868), George (1869), Elizabeth Mary (1871) and Florence Annie (1873) — were born.
William George remarried in 1880 to Ann Reid and shortly therafter, still employed as an iron moulder, moved to Radford in Nottingham, where two sons — Joseph Arthur (1872) and Clarence Oliver (1876) — were born.

Henry died in his early manhood, leaving a widow.
Henry died in June 1878, aged 29, and was buried at Stanton Road Cemetery on June 27th 1878. His stone indicates that buried with him is his widow Sarah who died on November 19th 1902.
As he was single on the 1871 census he was married between 1871 and 1878.
The ‘local’ marriage of Henry Briggs to fit these parameters was in 1872 at Radford, the bride being Sarah Brown.
Looking for widow Sarah on the 1881 census she appears at Lenton, Nottingham, fortunately with her older sister, spinster Ann Brown.
It is then not difficult to discover that she is the daughter of William and Sarah Brown, born in Lenton, lived with husband Henry in Lenton where they had at least three children before Henry died at his parent’s home in Bath Street. Sarah eventually moved to live in Wood Street, Ilkeston.

Ann married Mr. Wm. Barnes, butcher;
Ann married joiner William Barnes of Regent St/South Street, in January 1873. In the 1880’s the husband converted to butchery while Ann was a dressmaker and milliner.

Joseph married Emma Dutton, the daughter of  boatman George and Mary Ann (nee Davis), in 1875. The couple left Ilkeston for Heage.

 John married Eliza Oldfield in 1875, daughter of framework knitter William and Hannah (nee Flint?), of Wessington near Chesterfield.
Initially apprenticed to baker Solomon Beardsley of Bath Street, by 1878 he was trading independently in Station Road.
In January 1879 John was skating on the Nottingham Canal when he fell heavily and had to be taken home where he was treated by Dr. Samuel Armstrong. He had broken his cheek bone while another broken bone under one eye was protruding through the skin, close to the eyeball. Some bones were replaced and reset but the protruding bone presented a more difficult problem, threatening the sight of the eye.

Lizzie married Mr. Seth Manners.
Elizabeth and West Hallam bricklayer Seth Manners married in December 1878.

Mary became Mrs. Campbell Burrows;
Mary married lace draughtsman George Campbell Burrows in December 1881.

William married Eliza Easom, daughter of Basford farmer David and Eliza Ann (nee Bradley), in 1884.
They then moved to Stapleford where William traded as an auctioneer and estate agent.
In January 1912 and a widower for just over a year he was to marry Elizabeth, daughter of South Street pawnbroker John Moss and Mary (nee Scattergood).

There were two other children whom Adeline doesn’t recall.

James married Ada Ellison in 1885 and eventually followed his father as a watchmaker in South Street.

— The youngest of the family was Martha who married pattern maker John Edward Hendy in 1889.

“They all attended Queen Street Chapel.” … and most — though not all of the children’s marriages — took place at Ilkeston Baptist Chapel in Queen Street.

In the 1880’s William senior and his wife Mary went to live at Clyde Cottage in Gregory Street (right) — the name perhaps a reminder of William’s birthplace.

They had been married for almost 60 years when Mary died there of influenza on January 16th 1905 — William died there two days later, reportedly affected fatally by his wife’s death.

Another Ilkeston example of the ‘Broken Heart Syndrome?

Their neighbours, on the right, at Glossop House, were Edward and Louisa Smith.

Clyde Cottage, Gregory Street

In January 1905 the Ilkeston Advertiser included a column reporting on their deaths and subsequent burials — and within two lines it had managed to get Mary’s name wrong !!…..

“Public interest attached itself to the sad event, the husband never recovering from the shock of his wife’s death; and the incident of the double funeral, and the same grave being used, was in itself a very unusual thing, which has only occurred thrice in the present generation in Ilkeston.

“(Mr Briggs) was a well-known member of the South-street Old Baptist place of worship, and for over 60 years was a member of the Baptist Preachers’ Union.

“A service was held at the Old Baptist Chapel on Friday afternoon (January 20th)

The cortege then proceeded to the Park Cemetery … the scene both in the chapel and at the grave was a most affecting one”.


Right: the memorial to William and Mary Briggs, in Park Cemetery (November 15th, 2023)

Here rest in sure and certain hope of a joyous resurrection the mortal remains of WILLIAM BRIGGS (a General Baptist preacher for 60 years) who fell asleep January 18th 1905, aged 84 years. 

Also of MARY BRIGGS, his wife ( a loving peace maker) who fell asleep January 16th, 1905, age 83 years.

Interred together January 20th

True Christians trusting only in Jesus Christ their saviour.


The Ilkeston Advertiser’s article then listed the main mourners, describing son William (born in 1861) as the youngest son, although I believe that son James (born in 1863) was still alive, though not mentioned in the account.
(P.S. Albert Johnson of Mill Street was the undertaker … one of the numerous ‘Johnson‘ undertakers knocking around the town at that time !!)

In the same issue — prompted by the relatively advanced ages of both William and Mary — the Advertiser’s Robin Hood pondered the solutions to the question “What is the secret of long life”. Abstemiousness and avoidance of excess were his suggestions — he quoted Lord Gwyndyr, then aged 95, who attributed his longevity to ‘non-smoking, with plenty of outdoor exercise, and moderation in eating and drinking’.
And the absence of genetic disorders were hinted at by ‘Lord Nelson’, then aged 81 (not Horatio !!) — ‘If you have no hereditary disease from the sins of your ancestors, the great secret of a long life is to live, by God’s help, according to His laws’.
Very helpful ….  but if you want clarification, an interpretation is at hand — ‘In other words, the laws that govern corporal health should be studied and obeyed’.
And now you know !!
Finally Robin Hood stressed ‘how important it is to the happiness of the race that the laws of health should be thoroughly known and practised’ but lamented how little that is of lasting value is taught in our schools during the only time when the State endeavours to do anything in the shape of moulding the life and character of its juvenile members’.

P.S. In 1905 ‘Lord Gwydyr‘ was Peter Burrell, 4th Baron Gwyndyr, a member of Suffolk gentry — he died in 1909, aged 99.
Lord Nelson‘ was probably the Tory peer, Horatio Nelson, 3rd Earl Nelson, son of a nephew of Admiral Nelson, the ‘hero of Trafalgar’. He died in 1913, aged 89.


Shop 2: the shoemaking Mitchells

“The middle shop was occupied by Mr. Isaac Mitchell, shoemaker. This family attended South Street Chapel”.

In 1871 this was 57 South Street (renumbered as 18 by 1891)

It was Abraham — not Isaac – Mitchell living here. Originally from Calverton, Nottinghamshire, he had married Ann Campbell, sister of William the tailor, turnpike toll–taker and town poet, in 1830 and had established a boot and shoemaker’s shop initially in Pimlico.
He was described as a man of ‘very quiet and regular habits, respected by his fellow townsmen’.

1867 was an eventful year for this Mitchell family, featuring two weddings and a funeral.

Abraham died on Thursday, March 28th, aged 64.
‘An elderly person, named Abraham Mitchell, a shoe-maker, of South Street, Ilkeston, was seized with illness on Thursday morning last, as he was getting out of bed, and immediately expired’. (DM)
Well it wasn’t quite like that.
In the days preceding the fateful Thursday Abraham had been helping his wife’s brother, William Campbell, and then had assisted his son Fred to flit from Derby Road to Queen Street. These exertions seem to have tired Abraham but he was in good spirits on Wednesday evening, had a piece of bread and meat and a glass of water for supper, and retired to bed at 11 o’clock, with wife Ann.
At a little after five o’clock the following morning Abraham began to complain of rheumatics, with pains in his legs and stomach, lay back in his bed and began to gurgle. This prompted Ann to go downstairs for a little brandy to relieve his distress. When she returned he was dead.
The following day’s inquest concluded that Abraham had died from ‘a rupture of a vessel in the region of the heart’. For 37 years he had been a member of the Rutland Lodge and had never had a week’s sick pay.
The business of selling shoes and boots was continued by wife Ann, helped by her elder daughter, Sarah.

“He had two sons (and daughters)”.

“Fred, who followed in his father’s footsteps.”

In 1857 Abraham had moved into his new shop in South Street, leaving his eldest child Fred in Pimlico to follow the family trade. (See Town Hall cottages).

“Sally was a cripple, having sustained a fall when an infant.”

Sarah (Sally) was the eldest daughter, living unmarried with her parents and after their death, with her sister Jane and family.
On the 1901 census, living at 134 Chapel Street, she is described ascrippled from birth’. She died in that street in April 1907, aged 70.

“Isaac, who became a schoolmaster.”

For a short time, younger son Isaac was a master at Ilkeston British School before he left the town in about 1857 to go to Oakhill in Somerset serving in the same capacity at the British School there. After his move he initially lodged with carpenter George James and family and in 1867 married his host’s only daughter Elizabeth — who may at one time have been his pupil.

In 1871 Isaac lost his first child Eva Mary to bronchitis and 12 days later his mother Ann.

In September 1877 Isaac was presented with a gift by members of the Oakhill Cricket Club, of which he was the founder and to which he had contributed a distinguished service of 20 years… “a very handsome silver lever watch with crystal glass, compensation balance, adjusted to heat and cold, fully jewelled, with a gold albert chain, curb pattern with green stone pendant mounted in gold” and inscribed on the inner case.

At the British School in Oakhill, on New Year’s day 1878, there was an afternoon tea gathering of the friends and colleagues of Isaac, together with about 120 of the school’s children, to celebrate his earnest and successful work at the school over the past 20 years. After the tea and the time when the children were allowed to play, the platform was withdrawn to reveal a Christmas tree loaded with sweetmeats and toys to be distributed amongst the children. Also on the tree, an opera glass to be presented to Isaac. This was followed by another presentation – that of a purse of 20 sovereigns donated by the Managers of the school.

“Jane, the eldest daughter, married Henry Coxon, draper”.

Soon after her father’s death, youngest child Jane travelled down to Somerset to marry Henry Coxon. The couple later returned to Ilkeston but not before witnessing the marriage of her brother Isaac.
On the 1901 census Jane is living with her sister Sally at 134 Chapel Street where she is described as ‘feeble minded’.
As we have seen her husband Henry Coxon was at the City Asylum on Mapperley Road, Nottingham, described as a ‘clothier, lunatic’.


Shop 3: Hannah Horridge, dressmaker

“The third shop was empty for years, and was at last taken by Miss Hannah Horridge, niece of Peter Stanley, of Cotmanhay. She started a dressmaking business with her aunt Miss Stanley, and was very successful. (This was where the large pocket originated.)”

In 1871 this was 56 South Street housing dressmaker Hannah Horridge (renumbered as 20)

Born in 1836, she was the only child of Cotmanhay framework knitter John and his first wife Eliza (nee Stanley), and for over 40 years lived with her aunt Ann Stanley — much of that time in business together in South Street.

In 1859 one of her apprentices was 17 year-old Mary Ann Carrier.

About 1884 they moved into Burr Lane.
Aunt Ann died at Stanley Villa, Burr Lane on Christmas Day 1895, aged 71.
Hannah died at number 11 on February 28th 1918, aged 81.


For one Ilkestonian who signed himself ‘A Sufferer’ at the end of his letter to the Pioneer in 1863, this was a ‘black spot’ in South Street. His correspondence was headed ‘Ilkeston Night Boys’ and began with a few lines of verse…..

‘We’ill mak’ good sport, and run about;
We’ill dance and sing, and rejoice, man;
And many thanks to the muckle black De’il,
That’s danced away with the policeman.’

His letter follows….
Sir — I am sorry to trouble you for a small space in your crowded paper; but really the disturbances in South-street every night render it necessary to appeal to the press for a remedy. A number of boys, from ten to seventeen years of age, are in the habit (now that the nights are getting long) of congregating near the shop windows of a shoemaker, a watch and clockmaker, and those of others, to the no small annoyance of the said tradesmen. The watchmaker finds it impossible to regulate his watches, with such long and continued bumps at his window; and the respected schoolmaster in the same locality also finds it impossible to study, on account of such noises. Remonstrance on the part of such tradesmen is quite useless, being invariably met with insulting and obscene epithets. I ask, where are the police? But the number being limited, we cannot expect them to be in all places. Surely, however, they might visit this place now and then; and, by making an example of some of the boys, peace and quietness would be secured. Hoping this bad state of things will soon be much improved.’

Sounds familiar??


After this succession of shops we arrive at the private houses in Pleasant Place.