Ilkeston Town Walk - Stage 07 - Nottingham Road & Stanton
w/e 23 March 2003
We left Stage 6 of the Town Walk at the bottom of
Graham Street but have now progressed to the top end and turned
left into Nottingham Road.
A little way down Nottingham Road we cross Orchard Street seen
here on the right and from a pedestrian refuge in the middle
of the road we can look back on our route and take in the view
of the Catholic Church of Our Lady and St Thomas. (Shame about
the telephone wires!) Continuing across the road we now head
along Field Road (left) and turn right into Havelock Street to
reach Stanton Road.
On the corner of Havelock Street and Stanton Road this building
was formerly the town's first purpose built Fire Station. From
here we make another little detour from the main route of the
walk to explore a little further down Stanton Road.
There are two places of interest I want to point out, the first
we come to being Stanton Road Cemetery. A population explosion
in the 1860s and a growing number of Non-conformists and Catholics
unhappy about the lack of a non-denominational cemetery eventually
resulted in the opening of this cemetery in 1866.
The last burial took place here in the late 1940s since when
it has fallen into a state of disrepair (inset top right) but
a group of people known as the Friends of Stanton Road Cemetery
are now actively involved in restoring and tidying the grounds.
They are also attempting to secure a lottery grant to assist
with the restoration work. The cemetery contains several notable
headstones and monuments and they are a valuable reminder of
Ilkeston's past. Set against a soft focus backdrop of a general
view of the cemetery here are just three of them. They are:
Top left - Builder's tools on the tombstone of George Henry Manners
being reminders of his trade.
Bottom right - The headstone of 23 year old James Tilson's grave
(Tilson of Ilson) features stumps, gloves, a bat and a ball marking
his cricketing prowess tragically cut short by "inflammation
of the brain".
Centre - A simple S.T. in the footstone of Samuel Taylor's grave
hides the story behind the his career as an entertainer. Known
as the Ilkeston Giant - he was 7 feet 4½ inches tall -
he entered show business at the age of 16 and died in Manchester
in 1875 aged 59.
I am indebted to the Ilkeston and District
Local History Society for the above information gleaned from
their publication entitled "Stanton Road Cemetery"
and published in 1999.
*#* July 2010
- See below for more about Th' Ilson Giant *#*
Adjacent to the cemetery is this building that is now a Day Centre.
Not so very many years ago it housed The Pines Youth Club which
was a local haunt of Ilkeston's modern day entertainment equivalent
to Samuel Taylor, Robert Stevenson. Better known as Robert Lindsay, this Laurence Olivier, Tony,
Fred Astaire and BAFTA (among others) award winning actor and
star of many television, screen and stage productions is as proud
of his roots as the Ilkestonians are of him.
But now we return up Stanton Road almost to the old Fire Station
to continue our planned walk. With the tower of St Mary's Church
in the town centre straight ahead, our perambulations will eventually
lead us there but we now turn left into Union Road and we'll
pick up the route again there in the next stage.
Th' Ilson Giant
Anyone compiling a list of famous show business people
born in Ilkeston would obviously include Robert Lindsay and William
Roach but another literal giant in the same business was Samuel
Sam was born in the Little Hallam area of the town in 1816 and
grew to a height of 7 feet 4½ inches. His father too was
a tall man standing at 6 feet 9 inches but his mother by comparison
was only 5 feet tall. His height was the reason that Sam found
it hard to find work in Ilkeston and he went to the Castle Donington
Statutes hoping to find employment in service. Whilst there he
visited a travelling show advertising a "giant" but
the so called giant was over a foot shorter than Sam who was
offered a position in the show and thus began a show business
career. Sam died aged 59 in Manchester after suffering a fractured
Further full accounts of his life can be read on other web sites
including the Friends of Stanton Road Cemetery. The cemetery
is where the life-sized wood sculpture pictured above has been
erected. Suffice it here to say that Sam's body was returned
to Ilkeston and the Ilkeston Brass Band, as a token of respect,
led a procession through the streets to Stanton Road. The impressive
sculpture that now stands adjacent to his grave was created by
Andrew Frost as part of a £47,000 lottery grant for improvements
to the cemetery.
Added to this page July 2010