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Coordinates: 52°58′03″N 1°18′26″W / 52.9676°N 1.3072°W / 52.9676; -1.3072

014816 6b66a127-by-Garth-Newton.jpg
Ilkeston Market Place
Ilkeston is located in Derbyshire

 Ilkeston shown within Derbyshire
Population 37,550 
OS grid reference SK355785
District Erewash
Shire county Derbyshire
Region East Midlands
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town ILKESTON
Postcode district DE7
Dialling code 0115
Police Derbyshire
Fire Derbyshire
Ambulance East Midlands
EU Parliament East Midlands
UK Parliament Erewash
List of places: UK • England • Derbyshire

Ilkeston (also locally known as Ilson) is a town within the Borough of Erewash, in Derbyshire, England. It lies on the River Erewash, from which the local borough takes its name. Its population at the 2001 census was 37,550. Its major industries were traditionally coal mining, iron working and lace making / textiles, but these have all but disappeared in the last few decades.

The town is close to both Derby and Nottingham and is near to the M1 motorway. Although Ilkeston lies within Derbyshire, it is closer to Nottingham. The eastern boundary of Ilkeston is only two miles from Nottingham's western edge. Ilkeston is considered by the Office for National Statistics to be part of Nottingham metropolitan area.


History and Culture

Ilkeston was probably founded in the 6th century AD, and gets its name from its supposed founder, Elch or Elcha, who was an Anglian chieftain ("Elka's Tun" = Elka's Town). The town appears as Tilchestune in the Domesday Book when it was owned principally by Gilbert de Ghent. Gilbert also controlled nearby Shipley, West Hallam and Stanton by Dale.[1] Ilkeston was created a borough by Queen Victoria in 1887.

Ilkeston is one of the few places where the distinctive dialect of East Midlands English is extensively spoken. Ilkeston is referred to as 'Ilson' in this dialect. One might greet a friend with "Eh up, me duck!" or "'Yup yooth!" and ask if they require refreshing ale with "fancy a pop?".

The American Adventure, a large theme park which closed in 2007, was located on the outskirts of Ilkeston on the former Woodside Colliery adjoining Shipley Country Park.

Stanton Ironworks

One of the biggest and most important local employers was the Stanton Ironworks, later known as Stanton and Staveley. There has been evidence of iron working and quarrying in the area since Roman times and the industry began blossoming into a huge industrial concern in the 1780s. By the mid 19th century there were several blast furnaces and the production rose from around 500 tons of pig iron per month to 7,000 at the end of the century. Steel pipe manufacturing began at Stanton after WW1 and later concrete pipes were produced, Stanton being the first in the UK to develop the 'spun pipe' process.

A restored Stanton Wagon, Chalons Way, Ilkeston

In the mid 19th century the works produced 20,000 tons of iron castings per year, 2.5 millions by 1905. Up to 12,500 people were employed during the period when the works were part of British Steel Corporation of which 7,000 worked at the Stanton works.[2][3] During its long existence the works produced huge quantities of a variety of products including pig iron, tunnel castings, (used in projects such as the London Underground), pipes and street furniture as well as bitumen, roadstone, chemicals and munition casings. It is likely that if you live in the UK, you are not far away from a S&S manhole cover or lamp post. The works have gradually declined, the business being run since 1985 by the French Saint-Gobain Group. The last casting was an emotional event in 2007.[4] The huge Stanton site has been partially given over to business park and the rest of the site is earmarked for redevelopment which is subject to local opposition.[5]

Ilkeston Charter Fair

Ilkeston Market Place[6] is the site of Ilkeston Charter Fair.[7] which celebrated its 750th anniversary in 2002, the Charter being granted by King Henry III in 1252. This makes the fair older than Nottingham's famous Goose Fair and it is one of the largest street fairs in the Country, indeed in Europe.

The present fair developed from two separate fairs, as another 'agricultural hiring fair' or 'Statutes Fair' was traditionally held on wakes week in October as well as the original Charter Fair which was held on the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (15 August). The two fairs were combined in 1888 and the one Charter Fair has been held in October ever since.

Since 1931 the fair has been officially opened by the Mayor - first of Ilkeston and since 1974 of Erewash - on the Fair Thursday at noon with the Town Clerk or latterly the Council's Solicitor reading the Charter from the steps of the Town Hall.


Ilkeston no longer has a railway station despite its substantial population and the fact that the Midland Main Line (formerly part of the Midland Railway, later the LMS) skirts the eastern edge of the town. Ilkeston once had three stations. Ilkeston Junction station, also known as "Ilkeston Junction & Cossall" was on the Midland Main Line: this station closed in January 1967. Plans to build a new station (thought to be close to the former Ilkeston Junction) have often been speculated about and announced, but to date little action has been seen. A short branch from this station to Ilkeston Town station in the town centre closed in June 1947.

Ilkeston's third station was Ilkeston North, on the former Great Northern Railway (later LNER) line from Nottingham to Derby, closed in September 1964. A major feature of this line was Bennerley Viaduct, a 1,452-foot (443 m) long, 61-foot (19 m) high, wrought iron structure which still crosses the Erewash valley just to the north east of Ilkeston. Once threatened with demolition, it is now a Grade 2 listed building, though the removal of the embankments at either end have left it an oddly isolated free-standing structure surrounded by fields.[8]

There are plans to re-build the station at Ilkeston Junction called 'Ilkeston Parkway'[9]

Ilkeston Spa Baths

From early in the 19th century the existence of natural mineral waters was noted here and exploited. A local businessman Thomas Potter built, in 1831, the famous Ilkeston Bath at the bottom of Town Street next to the Rutland Hotel. For over 60 years the baths helped tourism to the town at a time when spa towns like Bath and Harrogate enjoyed popularity. 'If you're doubled in pain and thin as a lath, Come at once then and try, the famed Ilkeston Bath,' was a well know advertising slogan. A mixture of a general decline in the popularity of spa bathing and, reportable, contamination of the waters from mining activities led to the eventual closure of the baths just before 1900. The baths and the adjacent Rutland Hotel, that too enjoyed a revenue from tourism, no longer exist though Bath Street still betrays their existence.[10]

Twin Town

Notable Residents

  • William Roache[12], (who plays Ken Barlow in Coronation Street) holds the world record, unlikely ever to be beaten, as the longest-serving actor to play the same role continuously.
  • Robert Lindsay[13], the stage and television actor probably best known for his parts in "Citizen Smith" and latterly "My Family", was born as Robert Lindsay Stevenson in Ilkeston on December 13, 1949. Before he became an actor he worked at the nearby Stanton & Staveley steel works.
  • Samuel Taylor (1816-1875) the famous 'Il'son Giant' who reached the height of 7' 4" was born nearby at Hallam Fields. His grave in Stanton Road Cemetery was restored by the Cemetery's Friends in 2008.[14]


Ilkeston Skyline

See also


External links


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

ILKESTON, a market town and municipal borough, in the Ilkeston parliamentary division of Derbyshire, England, 9 m. E.N.E. of Derby, on the Midland and the Great Northern railways. Pop. (1891) 19,744, (1901) 25,384. It is situated on a hill commanding fine views of the Erewash valley. The church of St Mary is Norman and Early English, and has a fine chancel screen dating from the later part of the 13th century. The manufactures of the town are principally hosiery and lace, and various kinds of stoneware. Coal and iron are wrought in the neighbourhood. An alkaline mineral spring, resembling the seltzer water of Germany, was discovered in 1830, and baths were then erected, which, however, were subsequently closed. The town, which is very ancient, being mentioned in Domesday, obtained a grant for a market and fair in 1251, and received its charter of incorporation in 1887. It is governed by a mayor, 6 aldermen and 18 councillors. Area, 2526 acres.

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