Ilkeston - Factories .... And Flats
w/e 25 February 2007
All this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490 (unless marked).

Belper Street

CharnosBooth's, Carrier's, Andriesse, Lewis', Tatham's and Charnos along with many more were once familiar names as major employers in the town but many of these have now been confined to history. The Charnos factory on Corporation Road (left) once employed a large number of ladies engaged in their hosiery and lingerie businesses but it now stands empty and is falling into disrepair, although the impressive structure on the Window Detailroof still cuts a dash across the Hallam Fields skyline. Most of their operations have now been transferred elsewhere although they still have a presence in the town in offices in a converted factory (on the left of the image above) on Belper Street. Another old factory opposite belongs to Cluny Lace and is still engaged in lace making which it has been doing since 1845. The purposely designed factory on Belper Street was built to hold the specialised lace machines around the turn of the 19th/20th century and still displays some fine detailed brickwork around its windows (right).

Another impressive factory building is that of Baltex on Burr Lane. The company was founded in 1831 by two brothers William and Francis Ball and today it is renowned as a specialist in producing pure silk fabrics and can process and knit some of the world's most technical fibres. The factory was built about 1845 for the production of hosiery and lace in a Georgian style with red brick and cast iron windows. A world leader in its field, the company still operates from the factory near the centre of town.
Heanor Road

Near the bottom of Heanor Road, a building of similar vintage and appearance is now occupied by Norton Plastics. Although some of the windows have now been bricked up and more recent extensions added, it is still possible to appreciate the skill of the bricklayers and the design of the architects who worked to produce another fine structure that I suspect was originally another of the town's lace factories.
Middleton Street

At Ilkeston Junction on Middleton Street is another building of impressive proportions with a distinctive chimney. Part of this at least is occupied by Armstrong's Mills, well known in the area as an outlet for quality clothing open to the general public. This view is typical of this area of the town and is yet another reminder of Ilkeston's industrial history in the textile, lace and hosiery trades.
Rutland Mills

Back in the centre of town and seen here from the footbridge over Chalons Way, this is a view of the former Rutland Garments factory on Market Street. This was built about 1881 for C. and F. Sudbury as a hosiery and glove works and again although it has undergone a certain amount of modernisation, the skill and care that went into its design and appearance is still apparent. Now known as Rutland Mills at least part of the building is occupied by Derbyshire County Council's Social Services Department.

One of Ilkeston's newest housing developments, still in the course of construction is on the former site of a number of schools and also Ilkeston's tram garage in the early 1900s. The development was severely criticised in a recent report and its design was cited as one of the worst in the country. Whilst all of the factory buildings seen above have a certain elegance, even though most are over a hundred years old, these new flats to my eye at least are not as aesthetically pleasing. They have been likened to a workhouse or Victorian hospital or factory but I think that is doing a disservice to the constructors of those buildings. What we have learnt in the past century about fuel efficiency, double glazing and cavity wall insulation seems to have been at the expense of appearance. I wonder if these flats in 2107 (if they are still standing) will be looked on with the same reverence as the town's factories are today. I very much doubt it.

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