Ilkeston Town Walk - Stage 30 - Rutland Street
w/e 16 January 2005
All this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490

 Erewash Canal

In Stage 29 of the Town Walk we joined the Erewash Canal at Awsworth Road on a cold and frosty December morning. Now we resume just a few weeks later a little further along the canal on a much milder if somewhat windier day in January. Our immediate goal is the bridge over the canal seen in the distance at the rear of the green buildings that form the Station Road Retail Park.
Site of Railway Bridge

But before we reach our crossing point we must first pass the remains of what was once the railway bridge that carried the line into the Ilkeston Town Station at the bottom of Bath Street (as opposed to Ilkeston North on Heanor Road). Despite its proud history, like many other areas, it seems nowhere is safe from the graffiti.
Canal Bridge

Just beyond the remains of the railway bridge we make a right turn to cross over the canal.

Wash Meadow

From the bridge, the recreational area known locally as Johnny's but more correctly called Wash Meadow stretches our before us to the left. Immediately in front is the path that goes by the name of Slack Lane. This is a reference to the time when coal was carried by horsedrawn trains to be loaded onto vessels at the coal wharf on the Erewash Canal for transportation to Nottingham and beyond.
Wash Meadow panorama

The area around the lower end of Bath Street and Rutland Street has seen many alterations in recent years and the view across Wash Meadow will soon be an addition to those changes as a new road linking the Awsworth by-pass with Rutland Street and Chalons Way is to be constructed across here. One of the leaflets used as a the basis for this Town Walk series was published in 1993 and at this point, it refers to the old Adlington Flour Mill to the right of Slack Lane saying that it is recognisable now by the name of Ilkeston Metal and Waste painted on the wall. Regrettably this is no longer true as the mill, built about 1877, gutted by fire in 1912, rebuilt and used for various activities before ending its life as a scrap metal depot, was demolished in 2002. I cannot therefore show a picture of the mill here but there are two excellent images on the Picture The Past site. Search for DCER000914 and DCER000027.

Rutland Street
The proposed new road will join Rutland Street here at the entrance to Tesco's car park (left). For the supermarket to be built, a number of small industrial units had to be demolished along with a council depot and an omnibus garage. These aforementioned premises all occupied the site of the railway line and Town Station. It was at this point at the side of the large building seen above that the railway line crossed Rutland Street/Slack Lane. The road off to the right is Belfield Street which was the scene of a tragedy in 1912.

Looking back from the side of the supermarket the large building* (sporting the Union Flag and the Stars and Stripes as a mark of respect following 9/11) was once part of the town's Gasworks. An even taller building stood in the gap between that building and the house seen on the left of this picture. Another image taken in 1962 (DCER000915) on the Picture The Past site shows not only the Gasworks but also Adlington's Mill. The 1912 tragedy resulted from three explosions at the Gasworks causing trains to overturn, walls to collapse and homes to be flooded when water storage tanks were ruptured. Only one person died as a result of the accident and that was a nineteen year old domestic servant called Matilda Gough. She was tragically drowned in the cellar of the house in Belfield Street belonging to her employer, Mr Bostock, a Rutland Street beer retailer. Both fires at the Gasworks and Adlington's Mill occurred in the early part of 1912 and even as recently as November 2004 there was another fire in the vicinity. I suspect that there have been several more in the intervening years and the callous among us would probably refer to the Rutland Street area as one of the town's industrial hotspots!

* Demolition of the building began in November 2005 but has still not been fully completed as at April 2008.
Traffic Island

We are now approaching the final stages of the Town Walk. All that remains is to walk up Bath Street to return to our starting place at the Erewash Museum but to attain Bath Street we have to circumnavigate the traffic island at the end of Chalons Way. Any ex-Ilkestonian who has not been in the town for a number of years would now find this area almost unrecognisable. Bath Street has been foreshortened to end at Manners Road which joins the island opposite the realigned Rutland Street. The site where the Rutland Arms once stood on Bath Street is now occupied by the just opened Aldi Superstore - the building on the right hand side of the view above - The Arenawhilst opposite the white building on the left of the picture (Tesco) are the newly constructed premises of the Ilkeston Christian Centre, The Arena (small picture right). Amid all the new development though, there is still a reminder of the town's industrial past. In the middle of the island on a short length of railway line stands a wagon emblazoned with the word "Stanton" (see centre of main picture) - a reference to one of the former major employers of the town's work force, until its demise towards the end of the last century. This brings to an end the "Cotmanhay Loop"extension of the Town Walk and in the next stage we shall resume our walk back on the main route at the lower end of Bath Street.

 Back to Stage 29
 Town Walk Index
Forward to Stage 31

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