Ilkeston Town Walk - Stage 24 - Ilkeston
School & Victoria Park
w/e 18 July 2004
As we turn our backs on the Rutland Recreation
Ground (Stage 23) and head off along
King George Avenue we pass Ilkeston School. People of my vintage
will remember this as the Grammar School but prior to that it
was the Ilkeston County Secondary School when opened on 25 June
1914. The opening ceremony was conducted by King George V when
he visited the town with Queen Mary. He pressed a button whilst
standing in the Market Place which opened the school gates, an
explosive charge relaying the success of the operation back to
the assembled crowds in the town centre. The school replaced
a Pupil Teacher's Centre whose claim to fame is that author D.
H. Lawrence, who was born in Eastwood, studied there.
Ilkeston School was built on
a patch of land purchased from the Duke of Rutland. Some years
earlier in 1897, the Duke had gifted to the people of Ilkeston
another area of land, triangular in shape and bounded by Manners
Road, Drummond Road and, as seen here from the end of King George
Avenue, Bristol Road. The gift was to mark the Golden Jubilee
of Queen Victoria and was duly named Victoria Park when The Duke
formally opened the park on 28 August 1902.
Just inside the park these imposing pillars
stand at the end of a rose arbour. The pillars were taken around
1900 from the old Nottingham jail or 'House of Correction' as
it was known and moved initially to Rutland House on Heanor Road,
later being transferred to the park.
I have featured the park on this site several
times previously (see here and here in Spring) and the Bandstand was voted a favourite
(see here) in June 2002
when pictured during Queen Elizabeth's Golden Jubilee. Brass
Band concerts on a Sunday afternoon or evening are a regular
feature here during the summer months with bands from near and
far performing selections of popular and classical music. The
town's own Ilkeston Brass normally
open the season and always attract a good following.
The park is only small but, to coin a phrase, beautifully formed.
Mature trees, many of them labelled to identify the species,
sit side by side with formal gardens and open spaces where children
can play in safety. Hidden behind the hedge on the right in this
picture is the bowling green where a quiet game can be enjoyed
in relative seclusion and very pleasant surroundings.
Our way out of the park is via this broad path that leads to
Manners Road where we will have a choice of routes as we continue
our Town Walk but before leaving the park, there is still
time to see the children's playground that is situated on an
open space to the left (inset).