Ilkeston Town Walk - Stage 15 - The Market Place (South End)
w/e 16 November 2003

Ilkeston Market Place

Our walk around the town has now reached the Market Place which is often the focal point for many and varied activities. Markets are held here twice a week on Thursdays and Saturdays with a Farmers' Market on the fourth Friday each month. The October Charter Fair fills the Market Place and the surrounding streets and the St George's Day parade in April and Remembrance and Christmas services in November and December respectively are also held here. But on the hazy November afternoon that this image was captured, the main interest was centred outside the Town Hall where Christmas lights and decorations were being erected ready for the switching on ceremony later in the month.
Carnegie Library

Most of the southern end of the Market Place is occupied by the library. Built nearly a hundred years ago, the library looks almost the same today, apart from some unsafe pediments that have been removed and the Christmas tree decorations of course, as it did all those years ago. A library for the town had first been suggested as far back as 1879 but it was not until after a gift of £7500 by the Scottish-American industrialist Andrew Carnegie, that the library became a reality. The stone panel above the entrance bears the words "Carnegie Free Library".
Inside The Library

Inside the entrance, on a wall to the right, the opening of the library by the Duke of Rutland in 1904 is commemorated. In 1904, readers selected their books from lists and it was not until 1922 that they were allowed to browse the shelves themselves. Today along with the books, maps, videos, DVDs, music CDs and talking books on both cassette tapes and CDs may be borrowed. The library has a children's section and, on the upper floor, a reference library. Large print editions are available for the visually impaired and a number of PCs throughout the building allow public access to reference material and also to the internet. As the library approaches its centenary, the people of Ilkeston can thank Mr Carnegie for his generosity but I doubt very much that he could ever envisaged the impact his donation would make.
Church Institute

Church Institute - Gable EndAdjacent to the library on the corner of Market Street stands the Church Institute. This building was erected in 1883/4 for the Mutual Improvement Society under the patronage of the Duke of Rutland. Today most people will be more familiar with the Corner Cafe and the Ilkeston Sewing Centre that now occupy the premises even if they have seen the wording on the gable end (left). What is perhaps not so well known though, is the repeat of the words "Church Institute" picked out in terracotta tiles on the side of the building (see below).

Church Institute - Tiles
The Cenotaph

 Immediately in front of the library is the town's Cenotaph. This was erected four years after the Great War in 1922 as a memorial to the Ilkeston folk who gave their lives in that conflict. Now it also commemorates those who fell in Second World War. Two services were held at the foot of the Cenotaph this week aas they are most years and poppy wreaths were laid in their memory (see inset). A Remembrance Day service took place last Sunday and another on Tuesday 11th, Armistice Day 2003.

It was also on Tuesday that the BBC Bus rolled into town and parked, along with the BBC Radio Derby car on the Market Place to cover the Armistice Day service. Traffic restrictions normally prevent vehicles being parked on the Market Place these days except for special events but seeing the bus parked there reminded me that, in the not too distant past, all the local bus companies used the Market Place as a terminus for many of their routes and the northern end was, for a time, marked out as a car park.

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