Long Eaton Town Walk

Part 01 - The Hall to Market Place
w/e 25 March 2018
All of this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490

Information for this series has been sourced from various places including the"Long Eaton Centenary Town Trail" leaflet (CTT) and the"Long Eaton Townscape Heritage Initiative" booklet (THI).

Henry Howitt was a gentleman farmer in one of the most prosperous families in Long Eaton and The Hall was built for him in 1778. This Grade II* listed Georgian building is attributed to the renowned Derby architect, Joseph Pickford. Bushes and shrubbery have only recently been removed from the grounds in front of The Hall to present a much better view from Derby Road.

The Hall was purchased by Long Eaton Urban District Council in 1921 and upon the formation of Erewash Borough Council when the UDC merged with the Borough of Ilkeston and part of South East Derbyshire Rural District on April 1st 1974, the newly formed Council's headquarters was split between Long Eaton and Ilkeston. More office space has been added at the side of The Hall since the merger.

On the other side of Derby Road and seen here from the grounds of The Hall is a theatre built in 1907 that opened a year later as the St James’ Theatre. It has been known variously as Vint’s Picturedrome, the Scala Cinema and in the sixties it became a Bingo Hall. The leaflet published in 1995 following its closure in 1993 states it "is in a sad state of disrepair." Twenty three years later and that statement still rings true although it has been open in the interim as a cinema from 2004 until 2012. It was on the market in 2017 with plans to convert five of its six floors into flats but it failed to reach the asking price and still stands semi-derelict.

Also opposite The Hall at number 21 Derby Road is one of the properties that benefited from the Townscape Heritage Initiative. A grant was made available to restore the shop front to resemble the original facade of the circa 1903 building by local plumber Horace Ball. Now an estate agent's the premises has had several occupants but for many years served the community as a confectioner's shop.
The Green

Derby Road meets the Market Place (straight ahead in this image) at a traffic island, with Nottingham Road to the left and Midland Street behind. This always busy junction that is often gridlocked with traffic but a little more than a century ago was still relatively open ground, is known as The Green.

On the corner of Midland Street and Nottingham Road is the United Reformed Church that was built with Bulwell Sandstone rather than the usual brick as the Congregational Church in 1876.

Moving from The Green into the Market Place several buildings are worthy of mention. At number 1 Derby Road on the corner of Oxford Street is Barclays Bank with the striking turret. This was designed by Long Eaton architect Ernest Ridgeway for the Derby and Derbyshire Banking Company and together with the adjacent properties at nos. 3 and 5 was built in 1899.
Oxford Buildings

On the other corner of Oxford Street is another building with an impressive frontage. Known as the Oxford Buildings this was constructed shortly after the Barclays Bank building as a furniture showroom and offices in 1907. What marks this building as special is the use of terracotta and glazed brick and also the horseshoe arch, a trademark of Clarence Ross, another Long Eaton architect, high up in the terracotta.
York Chambers

Between Oxford Street and Regent Street but on the opposite side of the road, York Chambers designed by Messrs Gorman and Ross were built in 1903. At the moment they are shrouded by scaffolding but the 1995 leaflet says the building is "of Dutch influence with blue and yellow tiling." The later THI booklet expands on this and adds that the two storey building has "circular brick towers flanking a semi-circular arch" but gives the date of construction as 1902. The booklet also refers to the three storey building of 1903 to the left which it says was built for the Midland Counties District Bank which occupied the ground floor and basement whilst the upper storeys were offices connected to the York Chambers entrance. Nowadays the York Chambers name plate is adjacent to the door under the scaffold but the name is also dispalyed in the glass window of the three storey building. Both structures benefitted from a THI grant and are Grade II listed.

Back on the other side of the Market Place is yet another bank on the corner of Regent Street. The NatWest as it is now known or the National Westminster Bank to give it its more formal title, stands where the 1995 leaflet tells us that there used to be "a cluster of small farm buildings and a cottage belonging to the parish clerk."

Long Eaton Town Walk Introduction & Index
Forward to Part 02

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