Ilkeston Town Walk - Stage 14 - Back To South Street
w/e 12 October 2003

 The Ritz

Passing along Coronation Street from the previous stage of our town walk, we rejoin South Street where this striking building of a classic 1930's design stands on the corner. Formerly a cinema, it is now a Bingo Hall and Amusement Arcade. Not so very long ago (well, perhaps 40 years ago) there used to be four cinemas in Ilkeston and when the programmes changed mid week, it was possible to see a different main feature film every night for a week - AND still have change from £1-00.
Back And Front

There are two sides to every story and this image of the same building taken from the Weaver Row car park shows just that. The frontage that makes such an impression on South Street is little more than a buttressed wall (see immediately below the inset picture) when seen from the rear. In previous stages of the Town Walk I have mentioned that weavers' cottages once stood around here and The Ritz was actually built on the site of the weavers' pool.
Old Mail House

The building on the other corner of Coronation Street was built some time near or just after the end of the Great War. A photo exists showing the military buying horses on this site for use in the 1914-18 war. (Search for image DCER000145 at Picture The Past). For many years the building served as the town's main Post Office and in more recent times was taken over by the Ilkeston Co-Operative Society being used in the 1990's as their restaurant under the name of "The Old Mail House". At the turn of the century it had been converted to offices for a local Building Society. In 2003 it was standing empty (see above), but later it became a public house.
Post Office Door 

Through all of its identities, it has retained the words "Post Office" over the door. On a personal note, it was from here in the early 1960s during the Christmas holidays from school, that I worked as a temporary employee delivering parcels and earning enough money to buy myself a sheepskin jacket (just like Adam Faith wore) which were all the rage at the time.
Ilkeston Department Store

 When the Co-Op took over the Post Office building, the business transferred directly opposite to take up residence within the Co-Op's premises. The PO sign is visible against the entrance to the supermarket which is the bland brick box in the centre of this image. The whole of this architectural hotchpotch in South Street from the supermarket onwards, which stands on the site of an old Methodist Chapel, houses a number of franchised outlets under the guise of the Ilkeston Department Store. The businesses to the left are still privately owned.
The Co-Op

Despite the new name over one entrance to the store, one of the more interesting architectural portions of the complex still bears the old name and to Ilkestonians everywhere it's still just "The Co-Op".

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