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