Ilkeston - Back To School
w/e 10 September 2017
All of this week's pictures were
taken with a Kodak DX6490
This set of images certainly is not the most picturesque
you'll ever see but as children returned to school this week
after their summer break, it set me thinking about some of the
streets we walked to get to our places of education. Back in
2003 I added a page to this site titled "Education, Education, Education" and
I toyed with calling this one "Education, Education, What
Education?" That's because the trend in recent years seems
to have been to demolish educational establishments and replace
them with housing developments. Ex-pats or people who have moved
away from Ilkeston to live in other parts of the country may
no longer recognise these streets any more but at one time of
day it's where we walked or rode our bikes to get to school.
Nowadays of course, the "school run" involves parents
driving their children to drop them at the school gates but when
I was at school - we had moved on from quill pens and chalk and
slates by the way - the school run had an entirely different
meaning and usually involved a four or five mile trek to Cossall
and back on a cross country run. That's unless you hid under
the canal bridge to avoid the teacher or made a detour for a
cup of coffee but that's another story for another day!
When I was at Kensington Junior School in the 1950s it was the
time of the baby boom after the war with classes of 40 to 50
pupils not unusual. There was an annex on the other side of St
John's Road. Peering over the wall you would see a playground,
classrooms and the school canteen. Now part of that wall has
been removed to create an entrance to Church View and Larklands
Care Homes and looking over the same wall now presents a very
Another Junior School from those days that I remember was Chaucer
School. That was demolished and replaced with a new school just
around the corner, the vacated site on Chaucer Street being used
There were several Infant Schools in the town and before going
to Junior School the one I went to was called Gladstone. This
stood at the far end of Gladstone Street from South Street which
is where this photo was taken from. The wall at the far end is
where Market Street bisected Gladstone Street and the entrance
to the Infants' School was about as far again. The other half
of Gladstone Street was lost when Chalons Way was constructed.
Gladstone Infants' School stood in the middle of a complex of
schools with the Hallcroft Schools being to the left and Gladstone
Boys' School (for seniors) to the right. Seen here from the aforementioned
wall on Market Street and looking across Chalons Way is the location
of Extension Street which was a short street off Market Street
leading to Gladstone Boys' School.
The bottom end of Market Street also disappeared when Chalons
Way was built but still exists in the opposite direction towards
the market. Above is the view today from Market Street along
Derby Street which again lost some of its length due to Chalons
Way. A school friend lived in a house on the right that was demolished
because of the road construction but although Derby Street led
directly into Hallcroft Girls' School he had to go the long way
round to the Hallcroft Boys' School entrance.
To reach the entrance he had to walk round via Market Street
and Hallcroft Road to this footpath leading through to Vincent
Avenue passing another gate into the Girls' School. The whole
site of all four schools, Hallcroft Boys', Girls', Gladstone
Infants' and Senior are now occupied by a housing estate. The
Hallcroft Schools amalgamated in the 1960s and later after another
reorganisation became Cantelupe School.
The equivalent school for girls to Gladstone Boys' was called
Cavendish and stood on Cavendish Road. Later it became part of
Cantelupe School and later still it was incorporated into the
campus of Derby College which itself had taken over the South
East Derbyshire College of Further Education on Field Road. The
site of the Cavendish building is now, yes you've guessed it,
another housing development.
That fate could also await this site at Cotmanhay where Bennerley
School has been demolished. Many pupils from there had to transfer
to the Ormiston Ilkeston Academy the latest incarnation of what
was originally Ilkeston Grammar School.
Another site that has been developed recently into a small housing
estate is off Stanton Road and this is where the Stanton Vale
School stood. The school is now located in Long Eaton and caters
for children with Severe Learning Difficulties (SLD) or Complex
Learning Difficulties (CLD/PMLD). To remember the former school
the new cul-de-sac is called Scholar Close.
After leaving senior school many students go on to further education
and universities and colleges. One such college in Ilkeston was
the aforementioned SEDC which became part of Derby College. The
Ilkeston campus was moved to the centre of the town and is a
new build on the former Magistrates' Court site while the SEDC
site has been occupied by Morrisons supermarket. Construction
work is now underway on the former playing fields associated
with the college to create more housing.
Now we know there is a housing shortage nationally and we have
a growing population which must surely mean that eventually there
will be more children to educate. That just makes me wonder when
they go "Back to School" in the future, where will
these schools be and how far will the students have to travel?
That puts a whole new angle on the "School Run" which
could well become a "School Marathon".