Ilkeston Market Place
 Ilkeston shown within Derbyshire
Population 38,640 (2011) [1]
OS grid referenceSK355785
Shire countyDerbyshire
RegionEast Midlands
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post town ILKESTON
Postcode district DE7
Dialling code 0115
Police Derbyshire
Fire Derbyshire
Ambulance East Midlands
EU Parliament East Midlands
UK ParliamentErewash
List of places

Coordinates: 52°58′03″N 1°18′26″W / 52.9676°N 1.3072°W / 52.9676; -1.3072


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Ilkeston is a town within the Borough of Erewash, in Derbyshire, England. It lies on the River Erewash, from which the local borough takes its name. Its population at the 2001 census was 37,550, increasing to 38,640 at the 2011 Census.[2] Its major industries were traditionally coal mining, iron working and lace making / textiles, but these have all but disappeared in the last few decades.

The town is close to both Derby and Nottingham and is near to the M1 motorway. Although Ilkeston lies within Derbyshire, it is closer to Nottingham than it is to Derby. The eastern boundary of Ilkeston is only two miles from Nottingham's western edge. Ilkeston is considered by the Office for National Statistics to be part of the Nottingham Urban Area.

History and culture

Ilkeston was probably founded in the 6th century AD, and gets its name from its supposed founder, Elch or Elcha, who was an Anglian chieftain ("Elka's Tun" = Elka's Town). The town appears as Tilchestune in the Domesday Book when it was owned principally by Gilbert de Ghent. Gilbert also controlled nearby Shipley, West Hallam and Stanton by Dale.[3] Ilkeston was created a borough by Queen Victoria in 1887.

Ilkeston is one of several places where the distinctive dialect of East Midlands English is extensively spoken. Ilkeston is referred to as 'Ilson' in this dialect. One might greet a friend with "Eh up, me duck!" or "Ah do?".

The American Adventure, a large theme park which closed in 2007, was located on the outskirts of Ilkeston on the former Woodside Colliery adjoining Shipley Country Park.

Stanton Ironworks

One of the biggest and most important local employers was the Stanton Ironworks, later known as Stanton and Staveley - the continuation of a long-standing tradition of iron working in this area. 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. By the mid-19th century there were several blast furnaces and the production rose from around 500 tons of pig iron per month to 7,000 at the end of the century. Steel pipe manufacturing began at Stanton after World War I and later concrete pipes were produced, Stanton being the first in the UK to develop the 'spun pipe' process.

A restored Stanton Wagon, Chalons Way, Ilkeston

In the mid-19th century the works produced 20,000 tons of iron castings per year, 2.5 millions by 1905. Up to 12,500 people were employed during the period when the works were part of British Steel Corporation, of which 7,000 worked at the Stanton works.[4][5] During its long existence the works produced huge quantities of a variety of products, including pig iron, tunnel castings, (used in projects such as the London Underground), pipes and street furniture as well as bitumen, roadstone, chemicals and munition casings. It is likely that if you live in the UK, you are not far away from a S&S manhole cover or lamp post. The works gradually declined, the business being run from 1985 by the French Saint-Gobain Group. The last casting was an emotional event in 2007.[6] The huge Stanton site has been partially given over to business park and the rest of the site is earmarked for redevelopment which is subject to local opposition.[7]

Ilkeston Charter fair

Ilkeston Market Place is the site of a Charter fair.[8] The fair celebrated its 760th anniversary in 2012, the Charter being granted by King Henry III in 1252. This makes the fair older than Nottingham's famous Goose Fair and it is one of the largest street fairs in the Country, indeed in Europe.

The present fair developed from two separate fairs, as another 'agricultural hiring fair' or 'Statutes Fair' was traditionally held on Wakes week in October as well as the original Charter Fair which was held on the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (15 August). The two fairs were combined in 1888 and the one Charter Fair has been held in October ever since.

Since 1931 the fair has been officially opened by the Mayor - first of Ilkeston and since 1974 of Erewash - on the Fair Thursday at noon with the Town Clerk (Chief Executive) reading the Charter from the steps of the Town Hall.


Ilkeston has not had a railway station since 1967, despite its substantial population and the fact that the Midland Main Line (formerly part of the Midland Railway, later the LMS) skirts the eastern edge of the town. Due to recent rail reopenings in similarly-sized towns it is now, by some definitions, the largest town in Britain with no station. Ilkeston once had three stations. Ilkeston Junction station, also known as "Ilkeston Junction & Cossall" was on the former Midland Railway and later LMS Erewash Valley Main Line: this station closed in January 1967. A short branch led from this station to Ilkeston Town station, at the north end of Bath Street, which closed to passengers in June 1947.

Ilkeston's third station was Ilkeston North, on the former Great Northern Railway (later LNER) line from Nottingham to Derby Friargate station, closed in September 1964. A major feature of this line was Bennerley Viaduct, a 1,452-foot (443 m) long, 61-foot (19 m) high, wrought iron structure which still crosses the Erewash valley just to the north east of Ilkeston. Once threatened with demolition, it is now a Grade 2 listed building, though the removal of the embankments at either end have left it an oddly isolated free-standing structure surrounded by fields.[9]

The nearest currently operating station is Langley Mill. Following a long-running local campaign, in March 2013 Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin announced that Ilkeston was one of three sites 'most likely' to get a new station as part of the 'New Stations Fund', costing £5 million and sited close to the old Ilkeston Junction station.[10] On the 15 May 2013 it was announced this new station will be built, which will be named Ilkeston station. It will have two platforms, which can take six trains per hour with up to six passenger cars and will include waiting shelters. A 150 space car park, cycle storage, bus stop, drop off point and taxi rank will also be on the site. The station will be unmanned with automated ticket machines and was originally scheduled to open by the end of 2014. Due to the discovery of great crested newts and flood prevention work means the opening has been delayed by four months, and will not open until 2015.[11]

Ilkeston spa baths

From early in the 19th century the existence of natural mineral waters was noted here and exploited. A local businessman Thomas Potter built, in 1831, the famous Ilkeston Bath at the bottom of Town Street attached to the Rutland Hotel.[12] For over 60 years the baths helped tourism to the town at a time when spa towns like Bath and Harrogate enjoyed popularity. 'If you're doubled in pain and thin as a lath, Come at once then and try, the famed Ilkeston Bath,' was a well known advertising slogan. A mixture of a general decline in the popularity of spa bathing and, reportable, contamination of the waters from mining activities led to the eventual closure of the baths just before 1900. The baths and the adjacent Rutland Hotel, which also enjoyed a revenue from tourism, no longer exist though they are remembered in the name of 'Bath Street'.


Derbyshire County Cricket Club played one or two first-class cricket matches per season on the Rutland Recreation Ground between 1925 and 1994 and one-day matches at the ground from 1970 to 1994.

Local football club Ilkeston Town was disestablished in 2010, after a 114-year history. It was reformed as Ilkeston F.C. in 2011.

Local rugby club Ilkeston RUFC - known as the "Elks" - formed in 1926. The home ground in the town is called The Stute.

There are also two men basketball teams situated in Ilkeston; the Ilkeston Hawks and Ilkeston Falcons. Both are members of the Ilkeston Outlaws Basketball Club, who have teams for ages 4 – 18.

Twin towns

Ilkeston is twinned with:

Notable residents

Ilkeston Skyline

See also


  1. Ilkeston is made up of eight wards
  2. "Town population 2011". Retrieved 27 March 2016.
  3. Domesday Book: A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 2003. ISBN 0-14-143994-7 p.753-4
  4. Ian Scott-Parker [email protected] (10 November 2003). "ODAAT: one day at a time... Mon, 10 Nov 2003".
  5. "Ilkeston & District Local History Society".
  6. "Archived Report - Stanton & Staveley Iron Foundry... the most epic foundry to date - UK Urban Exploration Forums". 20 October 2008.
  7. "fighting to protect the Erewash countryside". Green Squeeze.
  8. History of Ilkeston Fair Archived 19 December 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  9. "Bennerley Viaduct".
  10. "BBC News". 26 March 2013.
  11. "BBC News". 26 July 2014.
  12. History of Ilkeston 1899 page 252
  13. Originally called Châlons-sur-Marne, the city was officially renamed in 1998
  14. "Ilkeston Twinning Association". 11 April 1957.
  15. "British towns twinned with French towns". Archant Community Media Ltd. Retrieved 2013-07-11.
  16. "William Roache MBE | The Official Website".
  17. "Robert Lindsay Biography". 13 December 1949.
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