Ilkeston - Summer Fayre
w/e 26 June 2016
All of this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490


Saturday June 25th was to be the day of the Friends of Stanton Road Cemetery's Summer Fayre and along with several other optimistic people we turned up to enjoy and support the event only to be greeted with a handwritten notice on the banner saying the it had been cancelled due to the wet weather.

One look up Stanton Road and the dark cloud coupled with the forecast of heavy showers and possible thunderstorms made the decision entirely reasonable as no-one would like to be caught under the trees in the cemetery in the event of a lightning strike. As we were there though and it wasn't actually raining we decided to join two or three more people and take a look round.
Information Board

Immediately inside the entrance gates to the Victorian Burial Ground is an information board giving details about the history of the cemetery and some of its occupants - more of that later. At previous events organised by the Friends group, the Derby Serenaders have provided musical accompaniment from the land behind the board and this year it would have been Ilkeston Brass providing the music.
Main Path

The main path through the cemetery should have been lined by stalls and displays by various other groups such as the History Society, the RSPB and probably other Friends groups such as Swan Lake Nature Reserve who have promoted their work at previous events.
Tilson of Ilson

Although no longer in use for burials the cemetery contains some graves of well known Ilkestonians from when it was established in 1866 to its closure in 1947. One such grave is marked by the headstone of 23 year old James Tilson which features stumps, gloves, a bat and ball. This celebrated his short cricketing life which was tragically curtailed by "inflammation of the brain". During his short life his skill as a cricketer had earned him the nickname of Tilson of Ilson.

The cemetery after its closure fell into a state of disrepair and became overgrown with natural vegetation but the Friends group has, and still does, a lot of work maintaining the site, restoring headstones, installing bird boxes and numerous other jobs to keep it in good order. There is even an engraved wooden bench where visitors can sit and enjoy this quiet and peaceful oasis that is only a few steps from the traffic filled roads.
Samuel Taylor Grave

There are numerous other graves in the cemetery which could all tell an interesting story but the one for Samuel Taylor is probably the best known. With help from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Friends group were instrumental in restoring his headstone who at 7 feet 4½ inches tall became known in Victorian fairgrounds as the Ilkeston Giant. With the restoration, his grave appears to wrap around another impressive headstone.
Wooden Sculpture

Nearby and overlooking the graves is the large wooden sculpture of Samuel Taylor that was created by Andrew Frost as part of Heritage Lottery project.

A brief biography of the life of Samuel Taylor is included on the board at the entrance to the cemetery.
The Giant

And seen here from ground level even if the Giant wasn't quite as tall as this appears, he must still have cut an impressive figure to those Victorian fair-goers.

As we prepared to leave the cemetery, it did indeed start to rain and although we did not have any of those possible thunderstorms during the rest of the afternoon it seems the cancellation of the Summer Fayre was well justified.

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