ILKESTON, a parish and market town in the hundred of Morleston, county Derby, 8 miles N.W. of Nottingham, its post town, and 10 N.E. of Derby. It is a station on the Erewash Valley branch of the Midland railway. This parish, anciently called Elchestane, is watered by the river Erewash, and the Erewash and the Nutbrook canals pass through it. It contains the hamlets of Little Hallam and Cotmanhay. Ilkeston of late has considerably increased in importance and become a favourite watering-place owing to the discovery of a mineral spring, the properties of which are said to be different from those of any other spa in England, and to resemble the Seltzer water of Germany.

There are commodious baths adjoining the Rutland Arms Railway hotel. The water is used externally as well as internally. The parish abounds with coal and ironstone, and traces of lead have been observed. The manufacture of stockings and lace has declined, but there are extensive brick and lime kilns, also manufactories of stone bottles, fire-brick, garden pots, and common earthenware.

The town, which stands on a lofty eminence near the river Erewash, commands extensive views of the surrounding country. Ilkeston obtained the grant of a market and fair in 1251. The Notts assizes were held here during the plague, and the town is at present a polling place for the southern division of the county.

Courts leet and baron for the manor are held under the Duke of Rutland. The tithes were commuted for land and money payments under an Act of Enclosure in 1794. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Lichfield, value £290. There is also a district church at Cotmanhay, the living of which is a perpetual curacy*, value £150, in the patronage of the crown and bishop alternately.

The parish church, dedicated to St. Mary, lately restored at a cost of £4,000, has a lofty tower of modern date containing five bells. In the interior are a stone screen and several ancient monuments. There are schools for boys and girls, held in two buildings lately erected at a cost of £800. The parochial charities produce about £120 per annum, of which £60 goes to Smedley's schools and almshouses, situated at various places.

The Independents, Wesleyans, Baptists, Unitarians, and Primitive Methodists have each a chapel with Sunday-schools attached. The British schools, erected in 1845, form a commodious brick building, affording accommodation for 120 boys and 60 girls. The Duke of Rutland is lord of the manor. Market day is Thursday, for pigs, meat, butter, cheese, poultry, &c. Fairs are held on 5th March, Whit-Thursday, and Thursday after Christmas, also a statute fair in October."

from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868


Archives & Libraries

The Artizans' and Mechanics' Library in bath Street was opened in 1834 and held 800 volumes.

The Free Library in the Market Place was opened in 1904.

The Ilkeston branch of the Derbyshire Library on Market Street is open six days a week. It has a Local Studies and Family History section to help you with your searches. The local studies section at Ilkeston Library is housed in the reference library, on the top floor of the building.

In addition, the Library has a learning and training centre with eight PC workstations, Internet connected. Check the schedule before using, because classes may be scheduled.

Cotmanhay, just north of Ilkeston village, is served by the Mobile Library on route 5, which stops at the Monyash Close every fourth Friday in the late morning.



Ann FEATHERSTONE and Beverley KILBY, Ilkeston as it was — Its history in 50 chapters, publ: Ilkeston and District Local History Society, ISBN-13: 978-1526703200.


Business & Commerce Records

Jon CANTRILL reports that the Liverpool Mercury of Monday, 4th February, 1867 reports Bankruptcy: SHAW, Samuel, Ilkeston, Derbyshire, bootmaker.



  • The general cemetery on Stanton road was created as a 2-acre parcel in 1864.
  • The corporation of Ilkeston created Park Cemetery out of 22.5 acres. The first burial here was in 1892.
  • David HALLAM-JONES has a photograph of the Park Cemetery entrance on Geo-graph, taken in January, 2013.
  • The webpage author has a report that the cemetery was closed to further burials in 1947.
  • We have a pop-up window of Cotmanhay register burials in a text file for your review. Your additions are welcomed.
  • The Ilkeston and District Historical Society have created a Portable Document File (you will need Adobe Reader) about the cemetery, its history and some of its occupants. You'll find this at Stanton Road Cemetery.
  • The man in charge of the cemetery in 1895 was William SHAKESPEARE.
  • John BENISTON has a photograph of the Stanton Road Cemetery on Geo-graph, taken in May, 2003.


  • The parish was in the Ilkeston sub-district of the Basford Registration District.
  • The table below gives census piece numbers, where known:
Piece No.
1851H.O. 107 / 2126
1861R.G. 9 / 2436 and 2437
1871R.G. 10 / 3481 thru 3483
1891R.G. 12 / 2664 thru 2666

Church History

  • The Anglican parish church is dedicated to Saint Mary.
  • The church tower and spire were damaged in a great storm in 1714. In 1731 the tower was rebuilt. In 1855 that tower was removed a a new tower was built.
  • The tower was taken down again in 1909, the nave was doubled in size and a brand new tower erected. The bells were recast, too, and the organ renovated. The church re-opened in 1911.
  • The church seats 825.
  • Garth NEWTON has a photograph of St. Mary's Parish Church on Geo-graph, taken in December, 2006.
  • A mission church, dedicated to Saint John the Evangelist, was built in 1893-94 on Nottingham Road. The church was completed in 1911.
  • This church's ecclesiastical parish was formed in January, 1912.
  • The mission church seats 504.
  • Holy Trinity was established as an ecclesiastical parish in 1888. The church of Holy Trinity was completed in 1890 on Granby Street, but was completed with no tower. Mining in the area left doubt that a tower could stand.
  • Holy Trinity Church seats 500.
  • The church of Saint Bartholomew was built in Hallam Fields in 1896.
  • St. Bartholomew Church seats 450.
  • The Church of Christ was built in Cotmanhay in 1847-48.
  • Christ Church seats 600.

Church Records

  • The Anglican parish register dates from 1586, but the years 1676 and 1679 are missing.
  • The register for Holy Trinity church dates from 1888.
  • The register for Christ Church dates from 1848.
  • Marriages at Ilkeston, 1588-1812 are available in Nigel BATTY-SMITH's database of scanned images of Phillimore's Parish Registers.
  • The church was in the Ilkeston rural deanery.
  • The General Baptists had a chapel here on Queen street founded in 1784 which was enlarged in 1842 to seat 500.
  • The Catholic Church, dedicated to Our Lady and Saint Thomas of Hereford, was built in 1862 on Regent Street.
  • David HALLAM-JONES has a photograph of The Catholic Church on Geo-graph, taken in January, 2013.
  • The Independent chapel, Pimlico, was built in 1781 and taken down and rebuilt in 1849.
  • The Congregational chapel, Wharncliffe Road, was founded in 1772 and rebuilt in 1905.
  • There was another Congregational chapel, somewhat smaller, in Kensington.
  • David BEVIS has a photograph of the Salvation Army Hall in Chapel Street on Geo-graph, taken in March, 2013.
  • The Unitarians had a chapel on Stamford Street.
  • The United Methodists had a chapel on High Street, founded in 1700.

Civil Registration

  • Civil Registration began in July, 1837.
  • The parish was in the Ilkeston sub-district of the Basford Registration District.

Description & Travel

The parish is about 125 miles north of the city of London, 8 miles west by north from Nottingham city and 9 miles east-north-east from Derby city. The village sits on a hill overlooking the Erewash Canal. Traditionally, the Nutbrook Canal is the western border of the parish. The parish contains the hamlet of Hallam Fields 2 miles south-east of the town.

Cotmanhay was a hamlet in this parish just north of Ilkeston village. There was also a chapelry of Cotmanhay that included the hamlet and spread over part of Ilkeston and Heanor parishes. This hamlet/chapelry adjoined the Erewash River and Canal, and abutted the border with Nottingham.

The Pewit Carr Local Nature Reserve is a great place to relax and enjoy the views. It comprises a section of the Nutbrook Canal, a pond, carr woodland and a meadow.

Garth NEWTON has a photograph of the Ilkeston Market Place on Geo-graph, taken in August, 2003.

Ilkeston did not have a railway station from 1967 to 2017. Ilkeston once had three stations. A new station opened on 2 April 2017.

You can see pictures of Ilkeston which are provided by:





  • The transcription of the section for Ilkeston from the National Gazetteer (1868) provided by Colin HINSON.
  • We have this transcription of the section for Ilkeston from John Marius WILSON's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales, 1870-72:
"ILKESTON, a town and a parish in Derbyshire, a sub-district partly also in Notts, and all in the district of Basford. The town stands on a hill, at the terminus of a short branch of the Erewash Valley railway, near the Erewash canal, the Erewash river, and the boundary with Notts, 9 miles NE by E of Derby.It was anciently called Elchestane; it obtained a grant for a market and a fair in 1251; it was once, in the time of a plague, the place of the Notts assizes; it possesses freedom from toll in Derby and Nottingham, on the strange condition of keeping a gallows; and it has lately risen into note as a watering place, in connexion with the discovery of a mineral spring. The water of this spring is said to differ from that of every other spa in England, and to resemble that of Seltzer in Germany; and it is used as well for bathing as for drinking. Baths were erected in 1830, and enlarged in 1832; and they stand contiguous to a well appointed hotel. The town has a post office‡ under Nottingham, a railway station, gas works, water works, a church, five dissenting chapels, a Roman Catholic chapel, a town hall of 1 866, and several public schools; and publishes a newspaper. The church comprises nave, aisles, chancel, and chantry-chapel, with lofty pinnac1ed tower; and contains a stone screen in the decorated style, and an interesting ancient monument. A weekly market is held on Thursday; fairs are held on 5 March, Whit Thursday, the last Thursday of Oct., and the Thursday after Christmas; and the manufacture of hosiery and lace is extensively carried on. Pop. in 1861, 3,330. Houses, 709. "


  • There has been evidence of iron working and quarrying in the area since Roman times, and the industry began blossoming into a huge industrial concern in the 1780s.
  • A tramway used to bring coal from the mines above the town to the Rutland Wharf on the Erewash Canal.
  • Ilkeston was granted a charter to have a Fair in 1252. To find out more about this, see  Ilkeston Fair History
  • The Charter Fair celebrated its 760th anniversary in 2012.
  • Market days were on Thursday and Saturday. A hiring fair for servants was held on the last Thursday in October.
  • Jean DURBIN reports that in the Derby Mercury for 18 Oct 1854: "Using threatening language: John BOSTOCK of Ilkeston was charged by John LEE, Complainant said he went to defendants' house to have a glass of ale, when BOSTOCK came to him and put his fist in the complainant's face and said he would cut his head off. BOSTOCK had been in the habit of assaulting LEE when he was drunk for the last 12 years. He was bound over for 12 months with a bond of 15 pounds."
  • The town hall in the Market place was built in 1868.
  • The town received its charter of incorporation in 1887.
  • The Gallows Inn on the Nottingham Road also served as a post office and telegraph office in 1912.
  • The police station on Wharncliffe Road opened in 1906.


You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SK466422 (Lat/Lon: 52.974709, -1.308049), Ilkeston which are provided by:


Medical Records

  • Ilkeston Hospital on Heanor road was built in 1893 with separate wards for children, men and women. It had a single operating room, a mortuary and several outbuildings. This is now the Ilkeston Community Hospital (part of the NHS). Miss Alice DEAN was the Matron in 1895 and Miss M. W. THOMPSON was the matron in 1911.
  • A Municipal Borough Sanatorium was also built in 1893 to hold 18 patients.
  • The author does not know what records have been retained. Hospitals were not required to archive their patient records. And the 1998 Data Protection Act makes sharing recent patient records even more unlikely.

Military History

  • Inside the church there is an altar tomb with the effigy of a Crusader knight sculpted in stone, with a dog at his feet. The figure is intended to represent Nicholas CANTILUPE (c1290 - 1355), Lord of Ilkestone. The stone is from Malta where he reportedly died in 1355 of disease, during a crusade. Tradition assigns to him the construction of the church chancel.
  • In 1895 only half of M Company of the 2nd Volunteer Battalion of Sherwood Foresters was here. Captain M. HUNTER, commanding; Lieut. W. E. WALKER, instructor.
  • In 1912, G Company of the 5th Battalion of Sherwood Foresters was headquarted here at the Armoury on Stanton Road. Captain G. G. BAILEY, commanding; color-srgt. Malcolm McPHERSON, drill instructor.
  • During World War I, the Red Cross set up Ilkeston Hospital, Heanor Road, as a military hospital treating wounded service members.
  • On 31st January 1916 a Zeppelin (airship L20) flew over the East Midlands passing over Ilkeston and the Stanton Iron Works and dropping bombs on the way. Walter WILSON of Station Road Ilkeston and James HALL of Stapleford were both killed by the bombing.
  • There is a photograph of the War Memorial at the Roll of Honour website.

Military Records

  • There is a War Memorial in the Market Place. The names are listed at Ilkeston History.

One name on the memorial is: Thomas John FRISBY, died 1915.

Lieutenant Colonel Brian Duncan SHAW, Phd, 1898-1999, army marksman and explosives expert was born here.


Names, Geographical

  • Ilkeston gets its name from its supposed founder, Elch or Elcha, who was an Anglian chieftain ("Elka's Tun" = Elka's Town).
  • The 1086 Domesday Book name for this place was "Tichestone".
  • Generally the name is pronounced with three syllables, Ilkisstun, not Ilk's tun.


  • You can always see local news at the Derby Telegraph.
  • The Heanor Advertiser was published here every Friday.
  • The local newspaper has been the "Ilkeston Advertiser", published weekly. It is now the Derbyshire Times.
  • The Ilkeston Pioneer was a Conservative newspaper, created by John WOMBELL in 1853 and also published every Friday by Wilfred EDMUNDS. The Pioneer ceased publication on March 23rd 1967.
  • In 1849, Mr. Thomas R. POTTER took on the role of Editor of the Ilkeston Advertiser. In 1856, he transferred his role as Editor to The Ilkeston Pioneer. In 1858, he helped start a new newspaper, the Leicester Guardian.
  • In 1836 Thomas Russell POTTER of Wymeswold, noted poet and prose writer, married Frances Sarah FOSBROOK. He wrote "A History of Charnwood Forest" in 1842. In 1849 Mr. POTTER accepted the editorship of the Leicester Advertiser, In 1856, Mr. POTTER became editor of the Ilkeston Pioneer. In 1858, he left the Leicester Advertiser and transferred to the Leicester Guardian, a new paper, which he assisted to start. In 1865, Mr. POTTER assumed the editorship of the Loughborough Monitor. Mr. POTTER was a fertile writer both in prose and verse on local subjects. He is buried in Wymeswold churchyard.
  • The Derbyshire Library has almost complete files, on microfilm, of all known Ilkeston newspapers:
  • Ilkeston Advertiser 1881 to present
  • Ilkeston News 1855 to 1858
  • Ilkeston Leader 1861 to 1863
  • Ilkeston and Erewash Valley Telegraph 1868 to 1879
  • Nottingham Review 1808 to 1870 (incomplete)
  • Ilkeston Pioneer 1853 to 1967
  • Ilkeston Journal 1896 to 1900
  • Ilkeston Observer 1923 to 1927
  • The Gazette 1933 to 1939
  • Ilkeston and Ripley Trader 1982 to present
  • Ilkeston Express 1989 to present.

Jane TAYLOR in Redcar shares this notice from the Derby Mercury of 16 July, 1801: "MARRIED: On Tuesday, the Rev. Joshua SHAW, Pastor of the Independent Congregation, Ilkeston, in this county, and late student of the Independent College, Rotherham, to Miss MASON, daughter of Mr. Jabey MASON, chandler, of Ilkeston."

Jane TAYLOR has this snippet from the Derby Mercury of 10 Jan 1805: MARRIED: "On Sunday last, Mr. Thomas BRADLEY, watch-maker, of Ilkeston, to Miss Elizabeth BATTELLE, daughter of Mr. Wm. BATTELLE, of Ockbrook, both in this county."

Jon CANTRILL tells us that the Derby Mercury for Wednesday December 19th 1900 mentions a Charles HANFORD, 19 of Ilkeston.



Jane TAYLOR in Redcar offers this snippet from the Derby Mercury of 10 February 1803: "DIED: Wednesday last, aged 30, at Little Hallam, in this county, Lieut. LOWE, of the Marines."

Jane TAYLOR in Redcar contributes this announcement from the Derby Mercury of 22 September, 1803: "DIED: The same day at ... Ilkeston, a child aged 18 months was accidentally drowned in the canal."

Jane also offers this entry from 6 October 1803: "DIED: On the 30th ult. as William TWELLS, a collier employed at the local coal pit at Ilkestone, in this county, was descending into one of the pits, the carriage suddenly gave way and precipitated the unfortunate man to the bottom, (about 30 yards.) He was most terribly bruised, and survived only two days, leaving a wife and seven children."

Jane TAYLOR in Redcar provides this notice from the Derby Mercury of 4 July 1804: "MISC: On the 25th ult. Elizabeth HATTON; a lunatic, poisoned herself by swallowing a large quantity of laudanum at Ilkestone, in this county."

Until recently, the Ilkeston Advertiser caried obituaries on its back pages.


Politics & Government

  • This place was an ancient parish in Derby county and became a modern Civil Parish when those were established.
  • This parish was in the ancient Morleston and Litchurch Hundred (or Wapentake).
  • The Town Hall was built in 1868.
  • The parish formed a Municipal Borough encompassing Cotmanhay in 1887. The town received a charter of incorporation dated 31 Jan. 1887.
  • District governance is provided by the Erewash Borough Council.

Poor Houses, Poor Law

  • Bastardy cases would be heard in the Ilkeston petty session hearings at the Town Hall every Thursday.
  • The Common Lands were enclosed here in 1794.
  • As a result of the Poorlaw Amendment Act reforms of 1834, this parish became a member of the Basford Poorlaw Union.


A National School for boys was held in a room above the Butter Cross in the 1800s and early 1900s. Average attendance was about 80.

A Girls' School was built in 1851 in front of the church. It was built to accommodate up to 130 girls.

A British School was erected in Bath Street in 1845.

The Stanton Iron Works School (mixed and infants) was built in 1879 and enlarged in 1898.