Guest Page No. 11
Ilkeston - Graphic Art
w/e 17 March 2013
All this week's pictures were taken
with a Kodak DX6490
Stephen Millership moved to live near Manchester
about thirty years ago but he still visits family here in Ilkeston
on a regular basis and regards it as his home town. He, like
me, has been saddened by the demise and decline of the town in
recent years which, in the same way as many other similar towns,
has been hit by the recession and the economic climate in general.
We both feel the town and its environs still have a lot to offer
and Stephen cites "the industrial and architectural heritage
and surrounding countryside". Stephen works as a Graphic
Designer and Freelance Illustrator and emailed me recently to
let me know about a series of twelve illustrations he has produced
which are currently on a semi-permanent display in the Erewash
Museum. He also wrote "If you fancy putting your feet up
one week and putting away the camera I don't mind if you use
my images on your site" but rather than putting my feet
up, I decided to accept the self imposed challenge of going out
with the camera and attempting to reproduce similar shots to
some of Stephen's illustrations.
There is obviously no better place to start than at the Erewash
Museum where Stephen's illustrations are on display. The blue
banner currently adorning the facade shows that the museum has
won the prestigious Derbyshire Museum of the Year award for 2011
and 2012 and no doubt Stephen's contribution will aid the museum's
bid to complete the hat trick of three years in a row.
Some of the illustrations were easier to reproduce with the camera
than others but this one of Bennerley Viaduct proved quite challenging.
Not only did it involve a half-mile walk along the Erewash Canal
towpath, I then had to scramble through the undergrowth to reach
the fence bounding the railway lines and still could not replicate
the exact angle of Stephen's illustration.
The Scala Cinema was another where it proved difficult to get
the full straight on angle due to the proximity of the Sir John
Warren pub on the opposite side of the road.
When I was young there was the choice of four cinemas in the
town, the New Theatre on Lord Haddon Road, the King's on Bath
Street, the Scala just off the Market Place on Pimlico and the
Ritz on South Street. The New Theatre and the King's have both
been demolished and only the Scala remains as a cinema as the
Ritz has been converted into a Bingo Hall but its typical 1930s
architecture is still a feature of the town centre.
Stephen's illustration of the bandstand in Victoria Park with
a concert in full swing shows the lush foliage of summer. Although
concerts are still held here in the summer months, at this time
of year the bandstand remains empty and the trees are not yet
in leaf. The good news is that crocuses are coming into flower
in the park so warmer weather is not too far away.
It's a little early in the year too for cricketers to be playing
on the Rutland Recreation Ground although groundsmen have been
seen at work on the pitches. You will notice too that the seating
that was a feature of the pavilion for many years, was removed
when it became the Rutland Sports Park but it's good to see that
people of my and Stephen's generations still refer to the ground
as the Rec.
In his email to me Stephen also said that he was "shocked
by the state of the Saturday market" which for a variety
of reasons has declined in recent years. The Thursday market
however is well attended by traders and customers alike and now
rivals the Saturday market as the biggest market of the week.
The photo to accompany Stephen's illustration was taken through
the winter-grimed window of the upper storey of the Co-Op, an
establishment itself that has announced it is to close several
of its departments due to the economic situation.
I said that some of Stephen's illustrations were difficult to
replicate and this one of Potter's Lock on the Erewash Canal
was in fact impossible. The best I could do was to try and reproduce
a similar effect with two images, one whilst balancing on a fence
to show the lock and the other from the towpath showing the said
fence and the bridge. I was lucky enough to find a boat on the
canal though which was an obvious bonus.
Another one that was impossible to reproduce at this time of
year was the Annual Charter Fair which is held in October so
I dug back in the archives to find one I captured from the balcony
of the Town Hall in 2002. It looks as though the viewpoint for
Stephen's illustration is either from higher up in the Co-Op
or perhaps from the Big Wheel which always stands at the side
of the Town Hall.
My picture here of the ruins of the east window of St Mary's
Abbey at Dale captured in the spring of 2002 is also taken from
the archives and contrasts with Stephen's snowy illustration.
The other two images created by Stephen are of the blast furnaces
at Stanton which no longer exist and a viewpoint of Dale Windmill
which is on private property. You can see them and more of Stephen's
work on his website but if you are able, I would recommend a
visit to the Erewash Museum to see the full size versions.
Link to Stephen's website
Stephen wrote to me "I wanted to produce a sort of propaganda
poster" and an "appealing image" showing what
the town has to offer. The images have taken him over a year
to execute after much research and he says "it was really
a labour of love" which was a celebration of Ilkeston past
and present. I am sure Stephen has succeeded on all counts.
Digital images and text is copyright but licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
The illustrations on this page are Stephen Millership's copyright
and are reproduced with permission.