Ilkeston - The Blue Pig Mystery
w/e 11 August 2002

"The Blue Pig Mystery" is not the title of some long lost Agatha Christie novel although it may take an Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple to solve it. I'll give you some clues.

Canal Bridge

I am indebted to Mr Roy Gregory, an Ilkestonian who now resides in Sierra Madre, California for bringing the Blue Pig to my attention. Roy told me that it was situated at the bottom of Awsworth Road near the Canal Bridge but he didn't tell me what it was. Of all the roads leading into Ilkeston, this one from Awsworth is by far the narrowest and passes over the Erewash Canal via a single track, hump back bridge.
Watching The World Go By

Enquiries suggested the the Blue Pig was an old seat that had now been removed but lo and behold, when I visited the site I found two seats. Three local residents, Doreen and Jack Holmes and Herbert Blount sitting on the newer of the seats, in their own words "watching the world go by", immediately directed my attention to to a low bench with a resounding "That's it."
Midland Foundry

Two cast iron supports bearing the name "Midland Foundry, Sandiacre, near Nottingham" are part of the original construction although it is believed the wooden seat has been replaced. Roy had given me a clue in his email when he wrote that it had "given aid to many a traveller between Ilkeston and Awsworth" and "in its time was the most used object in Ilkeston other than the public conveniences".
Herbert & Jack

So that solves the first part of the mystery - we know what the Blue Pig is but how did it get its name? It transpired in conversation as Herbert and Jack posed for me that Herbert (left) knows Roy - he sends his regards - but neither of them nor Doreen could give me an explanation for the name.
Bridge Inn

I tested the Blue Pig for myself and this is the view from it of the Bridge Inn across the road. Some of the people sitting outside were inquisitive about what I was doing so I went across to talk to them. They too knew the name but not its origin. They proffered a theory that it could be something to do with molten pig iron which sometimes turns blue when cooling but finished by saying, "If Herbert doesn't know, then nobody will."
Stable building

Returning to the Blue Pig, Doreen pointed to an outbuilding at the rear of the Inn and recounted how canal horses used to be stabled there overnight along with their drivers who slept alongside them. She also told of people coming out of the Bridge Inn and either jumping or falling into the canal. I'm sure if the Blue Pig could talk there would be many a tale to tell. It could even tell how it got its name but that will remain a secret for ever - unless of course YOU know different.

Roy has written to me again with some more information but the origin of the name remains a mystery. "It is for sure it has been there for over 100 years. In about 1950 the Corporation replaced the wooden seat. My older sister 81 now, told me that the cast iron ends were painted blue when she was a small girl. I would imagine that might have had something to do with being called the Blue Pig. I remember them being a dark green colour." Thanks Roy for bringing this interesting piece of Ilkeston's history to our attention and for all your help.

Site Navigation

"Pick A Picture"
Weekly Favourites
Latest Images
Holidays &
Days Out
Special Features
The Guest Page
Site search Web search

powered by FreeFind
Jigsaw Puzzles
Recommended Links

Terms & Conditions of Use
This website is copyright but licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence.
Please credit the photographer Garth Newton, or add a link to these pages.