Ilkeston - Gallows
w/e 14 April
Stephen and Heather Flinders' excellent book "A
Picture History of Ilkeston" contains a wealth of information
about the town and its development through the ages. In a piece
concerning the legal system in the 17th century, the narrative
recalls how a gallows once stood at the bottom of Nottingham
Road where criminals found guilty of serious misdemeanours would
be taken to be hanged. The gallows have long gone but the name
Visitors approaching Ilkeston from Nottinghamshire
enter Derbyshire as soon as they cross the River Erewash and
one of the first sights to greet them is the Gallows Inn Playing
Fields on the left. Notice also the skyline of the former Stanton
Ironworks site to the left of the rugby goal posts - a reminder
of the industrial past of the area.
The inn itself stands on the opposite side
of the road. For many years it was called the "Horse and
Groom" and more recently the "Lock, Stock and Barrel"
but for as long as I can remember, everyone called it "The
Gallows". The owners eventually bowed to public opinion
and changed the name again. One other point of interest about
the inn is that for a time the name above the door was Ilkeston
born John Tudor. That name
will be familiar to football supporters and especially those
of Newcastle United Football Club where John played in the professional
game for the "Magpies" at the height of his career
between 1971 and 1976.
The inn stands alongside the Erewash Canal
and the Sunday morning sunshine casts its shadow towards the
lock that bears the same name.
A little way along the canal someone has
tended the far bank and made an attractive landscaped area. These
two swans found it agreeable despite the attention of a cat near
the garden bench against the fence. The question is of course,
"Just who was watching who?"
From the other side of Nottingham Road the lock gates can be
seen under the bridge whilst a sloping path on the right is a
recent construction allowing wheelchair access to the towpath.
A plaque in the centre of the bridge on the lock side commemorates
the bi-centennial of the opening of the Erewash Canal in 1779.
Playing fields, a public house and a lock
all bear the name "Gallows Inn" and a little further
up the road, even the sub Post Office sandwiched between Johnny's
Fish Bar and the gents hairdresser sports the same name on the
red sign above the entrance. The bridge over the canal is just
visible at the far left of the picture.