Ilkeston - Education, Education,
w/e 02 March 2003
Among the many educational establishments scattered around Ilkeston
is this comparatively new school that caters for infant pupils
up to the age of seven and goes by the name of Larklands. It
opened its doors for the first time to an intake of infants from
Kensington School in December 1971.
Kensington then became purely a Junior School, where today, pupils
moving up from Larklands, spend the next four years of their
school lives. The external view of Kensington has changed little
in the half century since I was a pupil there and probably looked
much the same when it first opened back in 1886. The classroom
nearest the camera certainly looks no different to when Mr Jackson
(Jacko) - a teacher of the old tradition - prepared his "top
class" for their first steps into secondary education.
In those days the eleven plus examinations sought to separate
the children into different streams before sending them on to
the next stage of their education. Those that passed went to
either the Grammar School or Hallcroft whilst those that did
less well (I hesitate to say failed) went to Gladstone Boys or
Cavendish Girls. This is the building that was formerly the Cavendish
School. It is now known as the Cavendish Centre and is part of
the South East Derbyshire College campus.
The main college buildings stand on Field Road, a few hundred
yards away from the Cavendish Centre and students from all over
the district partake of many and various full or part time courses
here to extend their learning after the completion of their secondary
education. The two views here show the main entrance and, inset,
from the rear across the sports ground.
This is the building that was formerly known as the Grammar School.
It was opened as a county school, unlike Hallcroft which was
founded and financed by the town, on 25th June 1914 by King George
V but following several reorganisations of the educational system
and mergers and amalgamations of schools, it is now called Ilkeston
For ex-students of the Hallcroft and Gladstone Schools, myself
included, this is probably one of the saddest views in town.
This desolate site close to the town centre was once home to
four separate schools. At the far end stood Gladstone Boys'.
A little nearer was Gladstone Infants' which is where my education
started. In the foreground the footprint of Hallcroft Girls'
School can still be made out and to the left of the line of bushes
where a high wall once acted as a boundary was the Boys' School.
Following an amalgamation of the Hallcrofts in 1960, a merger
of Hallcroft, Gladstone and Cavendish took place in 1976 to form
the Cantelupe School. After a 20 year life, Cantelupe closed,
the pupils coming under the jurisdiction of the newly formed
Ilkeston School on the old Grammar School site. Gladstone Infants'
had closed in 1983. The buildings on the site pictured above
were soon demolished and save for an invasion of travellers and
the consequent clean up operation, the site has been one of dereliction
The Class Of 1956/7
But here is a picture on the same site from happier times when
"amalgamation", "merger" and "closure"
were just words in a dictionary. With form teacher Clifford "Friz"
Dyke (far left) who later went on to become Mayor of Ilkeston
and headmaster Austin Nash (far right), this is one of the classes
that started at Hallcroft in 1956. I wonder who that highlighted
boy could be? As if you didn't know!