Ilkeston Town Walk - Stage 23 - Rutland
w/e 20 June 2004
Our walk through the streets of Ilkeston
has brought us to this road junction where West End Drive meets
Oakwell Drive (left) and King George Avenue (right). A look at
old maps of the area reveals that West End Drive, an obvious
continuation of Pimlico which runs from Wharncliffe Road to the
Market Place, was once called Pimlico Lane and the open area
on the left was known as Pimlico Recreation Ground. Our route
is to the right but in this stage we will take a look at the
recreation ground which was improved, renamed "Rutland"
and officially opened as such in 1926.
This should have been one of
the jewels in the crown of the Town Walk but a couple of years
ago work started again to controversially "improve"
the rec. A change of the ruling party in the local council elections
of May 2003 resulted in work being halted on the "Sport
Erewash" project in September and a belated feasibility
study instigated after an expenditure of over £4.1 million.
The report thus produced and summarised on the council's web
site states " ... the facilities have not been used as they
are unfinished, several planning permission conditions have not
been satisfied and parts of the site are unsafe for public use."
The site also contains a number of photos including internal
views of the buildings (which you may recall, I was not permitted
to take a few weeks ago) but the images displayed fail, in my
opinion, to show the actual current state of the ground. I will
admit that not all of the images on this page below and in the
strip immediately above are as a direct result of the project
but do reflect the current state of the recreation ground. The
public are now being consulted and asked to vote for one of three
options to complete the project all of which will cost in the
region of another £2.5 million.
Some of the existing tennis courts have
been replaced by a new indoor tennis centre and the existing
terracing by a weed covered bank. A path used to run all the
way round the cricket pitch but a circumnavigation can now only
be made over uneven ground at the risk of turning an ankle. The
tower in the distance (demolished in early 2008) is at
the Fire Station on Oakwell Drive.
The bowling green is now surrounded by
a high security fence to prevent vandalism of the green.
I believe health and safety issues have
led to the replacement of the children's paddling pool (inset)
in the adventure playground area with the patch of sparse grass
in the centre of the main picture.
A new building between the upper and lower parts of the recreation
ground overlooks both but like the tennis centre has not been
used yet and the proposals put to the public include a change
of use to include a fitness gym. Football pitches on the lower
rec have been replaced by an all weather hockey/football pitch
and a six lane running track. The former pitch and putt course
to the left of the main picture and also the inset left has been
allowed to return to nature and is a weed covered unkempt area.
The mown area of grass front right of the main picture and inset
right was once the site of the 18 hole putting course. Slim Dusty
recorded a song many years ago called "The Pub With No Beer"
and here, at least in this corner, we have a recreation ground
with no games.
One of the improvements of the "Sport Erewash" project
has been alterations to the cricket pavilion. Whilst I have no
political axe to grind I do feel that the exterior appearance
of the pavilion has not been improved by the removal of the terracing
and steps seen in the inset during the improvement work and surrounded
by a temporary fence. Whatever improvements have been made to
the inside, the elegant outward appearance of old has gone and
is now a box like building with litte character.