Ilkeston Town Walk - Stage 23 - Rutland Recreation Ground
w/e 20 June 2004

Recreation Ground

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.
Recreation Ground Panorama
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.

Tennis Centre

Some of the existing tennis courts have been replaced by a new indoor tennis centre and the existing terracing by a weed covered bank.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.
Bowling Green 

The bowling green is now surrounded by a high security fence to prevent vandalism of the green.
 Adventure Playground

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.
No Games Allowed

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.

 Back to Stage 22
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