Ilkeston - Festival of Water
w/e 03 September 2017
All of this week's pictures were
taken with a Kodak DX6490
Question: How do you fit a three day Bank Holiday Festival into
about a dozen images? Answer: With difficulty - but hopefully
the selection from The Inland Waterway's Festival of Water will
give a flavour of the event which was held on the Erewash Canal
and adjacent Gallows Inn Playing Field. Aided by three days of
really good weather, the people of Ilkeston turned out in force
to support the event over the weekend.
The Gallows Inn certainly benefited from an increased trade (see
title image) but we followed the "To The Boats" sign
on the opposite side of Nottingham Road to walk along the towpath
where about 120 narrow boats were moored two abreast.
Many of the boats as well as being beautifully painted and decorated
were sporting strings of colourful bunting.
There were at least three boats showing "Boaters Christian
Fellowship" banners and we were invited on board this one
name "Kew". The notice board on the towpath was full
of information about this type of boat which was designed for
utility with a fibre glass top leading to this type of boat being
known as "Blue Tops". The"Kew" was purchased
by the present owners in 1964, can sleep up to 10 people and
although modified and converted, still maintains its original
look as far as possible. The notice on the towpath also advertised
a Sunday service of Holy Communion at 8.30am in the Entertainments
Marquee and a Songs of Praise at 3.00pm on the cricket pitch.
As we walked along the towpath, snapping merrily away as we passed
the boats, a gentleman's head appeared just as I was about to
take this one. He then bobbed down when he saw me but put his
head up again as I took the photo. The name of the adjacent boat
seemed quite apt! We then spent a few minutes talking to him
about the assembly and dispersal of all the boats as they obviously
couldn't all arrive and leave at the same time. The event ran
from Saturday until Monday and as it takes about 15 minutes to
pass through the locks it obviously had to be organised like
a military operation. He told us he had a slot to leave at 10.15am
on Tuesday morning.
The distance between Gallows Inn Lock and Hallam Fields Lock
is just over three quarters of a mile so as most of the boats
were double parked, nose to tail they would have stretched for
about a mile and a half. This is the view looking back from Hallam
As we walked along the line of boats, we noticed several of them
had dogs on board but were surprised to see one with a kitten.
His name is Button and wearing a harness to keep him from wandering
off among the crowd, he seemed quite content to adopt the position
of ship's parrot and sit on his owner's shoulder. When we got
onto the playing field we found another lady also with an animal
around her neck. On a stall with a lot of rescued exotic pets,
she was wearing a corn snake. Personally I'd prefer the kitten.
Another stall had birds of prey on display and another was selling
T-Shirts printed with a picture of the Gallows Inn, the Lock
and with words to commemorate the Festival of Water in Ilkeston
There were more stalls and attractions including one selling
books, maps and guides, another where you could enrol to learn
sign writing, yet another for boat painting and the Waterway
Recovery Group had a mini-digger that children could learn to
operate. Of course there were many more including a number of
food outlets and a bar for the convenience of boaters and the
general public alike and while we were there, a boat horse called
Shreck was being led round.
Entertainment was provided throughout the weekend in a large
marquee with a variety of musical acts and outside there were
roundabouts for the children. All in all there was a real carnival
More music was provided by Chucklefoot the One Man Band and in
the background you can see a single decker bus next to a double
decker - part of a collection of vintage vehicles. If there's
one down side to the event it's that next year the Festival will
be held in St Neots in Cambridgeshire. Let's hope it's not too
long before it returns to Derbyshire and Ilkeston in particular.