Ilkeston Town Walk - Stage 18 - Lower Market Place
w/e 18 January 2004

The Roundhouse

We resume the town walk still in the grounds of St Mary's Church overlooking the Lower Market Place but can see graves on both sides of the church wall. (Sorry that's just my sense of humour). Graves, the electrical retailer, stands on the corner of St Mary Street which is where our walk will eventually lead us. The Roundhouse, on the other corner, is actually the first property on Bath Street and many Ilkestonians will remember it before its name change as The Harrow Inn or, as we say in these parts, Th'Arrer. Those that can remember back as far as the sixties when Bob Dylan was just starting to make a name for himself and Donovan, trying to "Catch The Wind" was being put forward as Britain's answer to him, may also recall the Folk Club that was held in one of the upper rooms. Local talent performed there on a regular basis putting their own interpretation on new and traditional tunes. Does anyone remember the words to "Green Stamps", a parody sung to the melody of "Greensleeves"?
Transformer Box

We have to go back even further in time now to 1903 for this transformer box that stands between the guide post and the telephone kiosk. This was installed in conjunction with the town's new tram system to supply electricity to market traders. The last electric tram ran in Ilkeston in 1931. Now the city of Nottingham has just seen the inauguration of a Light Transit Railway system on its streets - that's a tram to you and me - so in another thirty years or so I wonder if they will have progressed to trackless vehicles? Where Ilkeston leads ......
Cast Iron Bridge

Directly opposite the transformer box and joining the Market Inn to the hair salon is a cast iron bridge. The salon used to be Barton's Fruit Shop and it is thought that the bridge was the result of common ownership of the properties in the nineteenth century. In this day and age when pub lunches are in vogue, if Barton's had still been in business, it would have been an ideal route to transfer fresh fruit and vegetables direct to the kitchens.
Butter Market Site

I do not usually go around taking photos of public conveniences, even those that have been refurbished several times. The last change to these toilets saw amongst other things, the doors moved from the ends to the centre of the building. The word "Gentlemen" can be seen at the right hand side of the building above the position of the previous door but the reason for this picture is that the toilets stand on the site of the Butter Market. The Lower Market Place was the site of the original Town Market.
The Observatory

 Lloyds TSB, previously the Derbyshire Trustee Bank, has stood at the eastern end of the Lower Market Place on the corner of East Street for many years. The Observatory, a J D Weatherspoon Freehouse, is a fairly recent transformation having previously been a Kwiksave supermarket but before that the imposing facade of the Liberal Club graced the site. Built in the late 1880s the club occupied the site until 1955, the building being demolished some six years later.
(Search the Picture the Past site for DCER000015.jpg to see a photo of the club).
The narrow footpath by the wall to the right of the Observatory is called Anchor Row and, like the Anchor Inn on Market Street, derives its name from a proprietor Anchor Carrier. This footpath too had a former name, Gypsy Lane, and if we were to follow it, we would soon reach the Erewash Museum, the starting and finishing point for our Town Walk.
Lower Market Place

But our walk is far from over. Next we will walk along St Mary Street on the extreme right of this picture and return via Burns Street to the Upper Market Place outside the Sir John Warren, the building on the extreme left of the picture. On a cold January day in 2004, it is hard to imagine the market traders have bartered on this patch of land for over 750 years but the fact is that in 1252, Hugh de Cantelupe granted the right to hold a Thursday Market here and trading has continued ever since.

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