Ilkeston - Up High But Close
w/e 13 August 2006
All this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490

This page contains another selection from my trip to the top of St Mary's Church tower but all of these resulted from the use of the zoom facility on the camera to give a closer view of the subjects.


The fountain incorporating a horse trough in the north west corner of the Market Place was erected in 1889 to commemorate the creation of Ilkeston Borough two years earlier but it is many a long year since horses made use of this facility. Nowadays it provides a focal point where people can rest their weary legs for a while. We have become accustomed to being watched by CCTV cameras in our town centres but this view gives a whole new meaning to 'spy in the sky' as I doubt that anyone in this image was aware of my presence above.
Toll Bar House

Local architect Harry Tatham-Sudbury, was responsible for many of the notable buildings in the town including Toll Bar House which was built for the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Electric Power Company at the end of the 1920s. The top storey was added in 1937 and for a number of years in the 1970s and 80s it was from there - my desk was next to the first window to the left of the central section - that I could see St Mary's Church on a daily basis. It makes a change to be looking in the opposite direction.

The Catholic Church and the South East Derbyshire College were easily identifiable from from the top of the tower but a closer look at this picture reminded me of a number of changes that have taken place on Nottingham Road since my youth. For example, people of my vintage may well remember Hoyes' sweet shop where the white gable with the black sign is on the left while the new building visible just to the right of the Rutland Garments chimney was the site of Graham Garage and Shentall's grocery shop. The three story building in the foreground where you can now top up your sun tan was Greenaway's and the Co-Op Funeral Parlour next door to the left was Aldred's Bakery shop and the bakery itself was further to the left on Park Road.
Bottom Of Town

Whilst the differences on Nottingham Road are mainly due to a change of ownership or occupancy those at the 'Bottom Of Town' have been much more drastic. Properties have been demolished and road layouts altered to allow for the inner relief road traffic island at the northern end of Chalons Way. In this view, Bath Street continued to the junction of Heanor Road (left) and Granby Street and although the name plate for Bath Street still exists on the 'George's Tradition' fish and chip shop, in practice the alterations mean that the street now ends where the one-way system starts as indicated by the 'No Entry' signs.
Heanor Road

Heanor Road is also visible here where the walls of the bridge over the former railway line can be seen immediately above the pink building that is the headquarters of Weleda (UK) Ltd, the anthroposophic and homeopathic medicine company. To the left of the bridge on the former site of Ilkeston North Railway Station, the town's new Police Station has been built. The railway station, opened on 1 April 1878 by the Great Northern Railway as part of the Derbyshire and Staffordshire extension, closed in the 1960s.

The railway line connected Derby and Nottingham and crossed the boundary between the two counties, the River Erewash, over the Bennerley Viaduct. The viaduct which is one of the last remaining wrought iron lattice-girder bridges in the country was built in 1887-8. Sixteen spans carried the line for over a quarter of a mile across the valley on 56ft. high piers and it is now a listed building. Bennerley Colliery once stood behind the viaduct but this has long gone and the tanks to be seen now are the sewage works at Newthorpe with Newthorpe and Eastwood (author D.H.Lawrence's birthplace) beyond. Above the industrial units in the foreground a corner of the New Manor Ground can be seen, the home of Ilkeston Town Football Club.
Bridge Farm

Although Ilkeston is Derbyshire's second largest town, the countryside is never very far away and farming landscapes have replaced the collieries that once imposed themselves on the area. This is Bridge Farm which backs onto the disused Nottingham Canal and the Willoughby Top Cut that we visited recently. We can also see the houses at Awsworth in the background and also another railway line (this one is still in use) towards the bottom left of the image. This is one of the main routes connecting the north and south of the country and runs at this point along the Erewash Valley at the side of the river.
Ilketon Junction

The trains using this line now speed through without stopping at Ilkeston although there are moves afoot to reintroduce a local station but before Dr Beeching wielded his axe in the 1960s, the station at Ilkeston Junction was between this old mill and the newer industrial units beyond. Those units occupy the site of the former Cossall Colliery and Armstrong's Mill is well know as an outlet for clothing open to the general public. Ilkeston is not the most picturesque area of the UK by any stretch of the imagination but for me this one picture captures the essence of the area - a mixture of architecture with old sitting alongside new, industry and agriculture, one foot in the past and another heading into the future, town and country. St Mary's Church has stood in the Market Place for a long time and the church tower was repositioned in its present location about 100 years ago - I wonder what the views from here will be like in another hundred years.

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