Ilkeston Town Walk - Stage 21 - Albert Street and the URC
w/e 18 April 2004

Briefly leaving Wharncliffe Road in this stage of the Town Walk we turn our attention to Albert Street where the architectural style of the Co-op car park built only a few years ago on a site behind the old Police Station, owes much to the appearance of the United Reformed Church (URC) that stands nearby.

Directly opposite the exit to the car park is the Flamstead Centre (left) and looking back up Albert Street we can see the Drill Hall and the United Reformed Church. The Centre is the base for the Ilkeston District Council for Voluntary Service and is used by several organisations while the Drill Hall is home to 348 Squadron of the Air Training Corps, the Hallcroft Division of the Derbyshire Army Cadet Force and, as the lintel over the door shows (below), provides another link between the town and the Sherwood Foresters.

One of the joys of living in Ilkeston is that, even though rural residents would most certainly refer to us as "Townies", there are numerous places in the town where views of green fields and the surrounding countryside are visible. One such place is the upper level of the Co-op car park where this view over the the Drill Hall is towards Kirk Hallam in the middle distance with Dale Village, Ockbrook and Derby just over the horizon.

From the same vantage point it is easy to see the unique construction of the three levels of the URC, built as it is into the side of the hill. The green spire is a familiar landmark from afar on the Ilkeston skyline but from this distance, more of the construction of the church can be seen. The lower level comprises mainly of a large hall surrounded by schoolrooms and other ancillary rooms. The next level up has more rooms including the minister's office and also features a balcony overlooking and surrounding three sides of the hall. The main body of the church fills the third level with access via a flight of steps from Wharncliffe Road. the large window on the extreme left of this picture is immediately behind the altar.

That same window is seen here from the inside whilst the right of this composite image shows one of a number of foundation stones outside the church bearing the date 1904. Documentation states that the church was designed by H Tatham-Sudbury, a prominent architect of the time and responsible for many buildings in the town. It also gives the date of the building as 1905 (which was probably the completion date) and states that the design is in the Arts and Crafts Gothic Revival style.

Another smaller window in the church is dedicated to the memory of the men of Kensington Mission, a satellite of the Congregational Church later to become the URC, who gave their lives in the First World War. Kensington Mission stood on Nottingham Road and was where I attended Sunday School as a child, helped found and run a Youth Club as an adolescant and was a member of the Chapel until its closure and eventual demolition. For more of my memories of the Mission - with music - click here to view some revised pages from my original web site.

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