Ilkeston - Summer Fayre
w/e 26 June 2016
All of this week's pictures were
taken with a Kodak DX6490
Saturday June 25th was to be the day of the Friends of Stanton Road Cemetery's Summer
Fayre and along with several other optimistic people we turned
up to enjoy and support the event only to be greeted with a handwritten
notice on the banner saying the it had been cancelled due to
the wet weather.
One look up Stanton Road and the dark cloud coupled with the
forecast of heavy showers and possible thunderstorms made the
decision entirely reasonable as no-one would like to be caught
under the trees in the cemetery in the event of a lightning strike.
As we were there though and it wasn't actually raining we decided
to join two or three more people and take a look round.
Immediately inside the entrance gates to the Victorian Burial
Ground is an information board giving details about the history
of the cemetery and some of its occupants - more of that later.
At previous events organised by the Friends group, the Derby
Serenaders have provided musical accompaniment from the land
behind the board and this year it would have been Ilkeston Brass
providing the music.
The main path through the cemetery should have been lined by
stalls and displays by various other groups such as the History
Society, the RSPB and probably other Friends groups such as Swan
Lake Nature Reserve who have promoted their work at previous
Although no longer in use for burials the cemetery contains some
graves of well known Ilkestonians from when it was established
in 1866 to its closure in 1947. One such grave is marked by the
headstone of 23 year old James Tilson which features stumps,
gloves, a bat and ball. This celebrated his short cricketing
life which was tragically curtailed by "inflammation of
the brain". During his short life his skill as a cricketer
had earned him the nickname of Tilson of Ilson.
The cemetery after its closure fell into a state of disrepair
and became overgrown with natural vegetation but the Friends
group has, and still does, a lot of work maintaining the site,
restoring headstones, installing bird boxes and numerous other
jobs to keep it in good order. There is even an engraved wooden
bench where visitors can sit and enjoy this quiet and peaceful
oasis that is only a few steps from the traffic filled roads.
There are numerous other graves in the cemetery which could all
tell an interesting story but the one for Samuel Taylor is probably
the best known. With help from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the
Friends group were instrumental in restoring his headstone who
at 7 feet 4½ inches tall became known in Victorian fairgrounds
as the Ilkeston Giant. With the restoration, his grave appears
to wrap around another impressive headstone.
Nearby and overlooking the graves is the large wooden sculpture
of Samuel Taylor that was created by Andrew Frost as part of
Heritage Lottery project.
A brief biography of the life of Samuel Taylor is included on
the board at the entrance to the cemetery.
And seen here from ground level even if the Giant wasn't quite
as tall as this appears, he must still have cut an impressive
figure to those Victorian fair-goers.
As we prepared to leave the cemetery, it did indeed start to
rain and although we did not have any of those possible thunderstorms
during the rest of the afternoon it seems the cancellation of
the Summer Fayre was well justified.