Ilkeston Town Walk - Stage 20 - Into Wharncliffe Road
w/e 21 March 2004

Town Hall

Before continuing our walk along Wharncliffe Road (on the left of the image above) we must first examine the Town Hall on the Market Place. It was built in 1867-68 to an Italian-style design by R. C. Sutton of Nottingham under the direction of the Local Government Board, the predecessor of the Ilkeston Borough Council. The original Town Hall has been extended and is now one of several premises used by the Erewash Borough Council. Public access to the building can be obtained via several entrances and above one of them on the side of the building is the Borough Coat of Arms (extreme left above and enlargement right). It was good to see a group of schoolchildren having a history lesson and studying the front of the building when I captured these images.
Commemorative Plaques

The children were paying particular attention to these three commemorative plaques either side of the main door to the Town Hall. The ornate plaque to the right of the door (top right) is a tribute to over 100 men from the Borough who served in the South African War 1899-1902 (i.e. The Boer War) and a memorial to three men named as Privates Charles Spencer, John Goldsmith and Frank Webb who all gave their lives for their country and the Empire. The large plaque to the left of the Town Hall door (left) is to the memory of 1409 Sherwood Foresters (see note below) who gave their lives and the 140,000 of the same Regiment who served with honour during the First World War. On the wall below this (shown here bottom right) is a smaller plaque commemorating 1520 Foresters who lost their lives and their comrades from 13 units of the Regiment who served in World War Two.
NOTE: I have also added to the site three modified pages from my original site about Crich and the Sherwood Foresters. They can be accessed from the Specials Index or by clicking here.

We've now moved into Wharncliffe Road and from the steps of the United Reformed Church on the corner of Albert Street, the Town Hall extension can be seen as we look back towards the Market Place. In my school days, the site was occupied by the town's open air swimming baths. Children from local schools were marched through the streets to the baths in all weathers to have swimming lessons. I have many painful memories of sessions there, shivering in the unheated water or standing on the side of the baths in the depths of winter wearing just a pair of swimming trunks. It's no wonder I never learned to swim. Previously the site had been a reservoir and provided a gravity supply of water into the network.
Regency Rooms

Opposite the Town Hall is the Ilkeston Department Store or the Co-Op as it is still referred to by most Ilkestonians. The white lettering on the blue canopy indicates the entrance to the Royal Regency Rooms. Before the prefix was added the banqueting suite on the top floor was known simply as the Regency Rooms and it was here in 1967, as was the case with many young couples in those days, that our wedding reception was held. Subsequent visits by members of the Royal Family enabled the name to updated to include the word "Royal" although their mode of transport was no doubt more luxurious than those that now deposit and pick up passengers along this part of Wharncliffe Road. Looks like that old cliché - You wait ages for a bus then three arrive at the same time!
Four Royal Ladies

The portraits of three Royal Princesses, Margaret, Anne and Diana plus the Duchess of Gloucester adorn the staircase to the Royal Regency Rooms where at various dates, they all attended charity luncheons.
Old Police Station
Until fairly recently, this building was the town's Police Station and the word "Police" can still be seen on the columns outside (right). It was built in 1905/6 and was designed by the Borough Surveyor at that time, H. J. Kilford. The design incorporated the Borough Coat of Arms (left) and included a mortuary which, when Ilkeston Hospital was built, was converted later into cells. The building in March 2004 had been taken over by the Co-Op and was the headquarters of their motoring division.

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