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. 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?”.
In the tapestry of Ilkeston's story, a medley of cultural gems awaits discovery, weaving together history, nature, and community. Ilkeston invites you to explore its hidden treasures, from its resilient roots to the vibrant present.
As you navigate through the pages of Ilkeston's community hub, let the hidden gems of this town unfold before you. Ilkeston welcomes you to discover its history, embrace its cultural richness, and become part of the vibrant tapestry that is the heart of this unique community.
Ilkeston, a town with a vibrant history, invites you to explore its past. From its humble beginnings as a market town to its industrial revolution, each cobblestone street whispers tales of resilience and evolution. Dive into the historical archives, where stories of the past come alive, shaping the unique identity of Ilkeston.
Ilkeston Arts and Music Festival: Celebrate the town's musical talent and artistic flair at the annual Ilkeston Arts and Music Festival. The festival is a vibrant showcase of Ilkeston's diverse musical landscape from local bands to emerging artists.
Ilkeston Art Trail: Embark on a visual journey through the Ilkeston Art Trail, where local artists display their talents in a variety of mediums. The town becomes a canvas, telling stories through murals, sculptures, and street art.
Ilkeston Charter Fair: Join the excitement at the Ilkeston Charter Fair, an annual event that transforms the town into a bustling carnival. From thrilling rides to savory treats, the fair is a celebration of tradition and fun.
Ilkeston Carnival: Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere of the Ilkeston Carnival, where parades, costumes, and community spirit take center stage. It's a time when the town comes together to revel in joy and unity.
Perched atop a hill overlooking the picturesque Erewash Valley, Ilkeston proudly holds the title of the third-largest town in Derbyshire. Its evolution from a quiet agricultural settlement to a thriving industrial hub has left an indelible mark on its landscape and character.
The town's development was intricately tied to the ebb and flow of industry, with coal, iron, and hosiery weaving their narratives into Ilkeston's history. Unfortunately, a brief flirtation with spa town status, driven by the discovery of a healing spring, was short-lived. Today, only Bath Street remains a whimsical nod to this bygone era.
Evidence suggests that Ilkeston's roots trace back to the Saxons, establishing the town's enduring connection with its ancient past. The market charter, granted by the Lord of the Manor, sparked the inception of weekly markets and an annual fair, both of which still thrive today.
Ilkeston, a town with a vibrant h
Nestled in the heart of Ilkeston, Scala Cinema stands as a testament to the town's cinematic history. The town's first purpose-built cinema with its iconic facade and timeless charm, Scala continues to enchant audiences, offering a cinematic experience that mirrors the evolving narrative of Ilkeston.
Surveying the landscape just beyond Ilkeston, the Bennerley Viaduct stands tall, a testament to Victorian engineering and an industrial legacy. Stretching 1,400 feet, this Grade II listed structure is a reminder of Ilkeston's pivotal role in the Great Northern Railway network.
This historic structure, with its intricate ironwork, spans the Erewash Valley, inviting visitors to stroll along its elevated path and soak in panoramic views of the surrounding beauty.
On the town's streets, a charming relic awaits - the Drinking Fountain and Horse Trough. A nod to Ilkeston's past, this quaint installation not only quenches thirst but also serves as a reminder of the town's enduring spirit and commitment to its heritage.
Nature enthusiasts find solace in the serene beauty of Straws Bridge and the Nutbrook Trail. These havens of tranquility offer scenic walks, bird-watching opportunities, and a chance to reconnect with the natural world that gracefully envelops Ilkeston.
St. Mary's Church, an architectural masterpiece, graces Ilkeston's skyline. With roots reaching into the town's history, the church welcomes visitors to explore its sacred halls and absorb the spiritual essence that has resonated through the centuries.
Ilkeston's library, more than a repository of books, stands as a beacon of knowledge and imagination. A hub for readers, learners, and community gatherings, the library fosters a love for literature and serves as a cultural cornerstone in the town.
Meanwhile, the quirky 'hole in the wall' on Bath Street, initially a practical addition, has become an unexpected local attraction, garnering humorous reviews on TripAdvisor.
Ilkeston's cultural calendar highlights the Ilkeston Charter Fair, an enduring tradition that has spanned over 750 years. Holding the title of the largest street fair in Derbyshire, it seamlessly integrates with the town centre, maintaining its historic roots.
Ilkeston's architectural tapestry reflects its industrial past.
St. Mary's Church, dating back to 1150, stands as a Grade I listed monument, showcasing architectural remnants of bygone eras.
The library, erected in 1904 through a generous donation from Andrew Carnegie, stands testament to Ilkeston's commitment to knowledge and culture.
The town's transport history is vividly portrayed by the once open-topped trams, later replaced by roofed trolley buses in 1931. The Transformer Box by the churchyard wall, a relic from the electric tram era, serves as a silent witness to Ilkeston's evolving transit systems.
White Lion Square, once home to a toll bar, tells tales of road maintenance funding, while the Baptist Chapel, built in 1774, remains one of the oldest structures in town.
Ilkeston Market Square: The town's heartbeat, where locals gather for fresh produce, crafts, and a taste of the community spirit. Dive into the vibrant colours of the market stalls and experience the warmth of Ilkeston's people.
Erewash Museum: Immerse yourself in the captivating displays that bring the history of Ilkeston to life. From local artefacts to interactive exhibits, this museum is a treasure trove for history enthusiasts of all ages. Erewash Museum on High Street invites visitors to delve into the area's social history, earning accolades as Derbyshire Heritage Forum Museum of the Year in 2011, 2012, 2016, and 2019.
Shipley Country Park: Nature lovers rejoice in the serene beauty of Shipley Country Park. A haven for walkers, cyclists, and wildlife enthusiasts, it's the perfect escape into the lush landscapes that surround Ilkeston.
Victoria Park: Nestled in the heart of Ilkeston, Victoria Park is a green oasis where families gather for picnics, children play, and events unfold. The well-maintained gardens and scenic walking paths make it ideal for relaxation and recreation. The town's commitment to preserving its green spaces. This park, a hub of recreational activities and events, showcases Ilkeston's dedication to blending history with contemporary living.
Recreation and Celebrated Sons: A Modern Ilkeston
Rutland Recreation Ground and Victoria Park offer both greenery and sporting activities, reflecting Ilkeston's commitment to a balanced lifestyle.
The birthplace of renowned actors Robert Lindsay and Bill Roache, Ilkeston's cultural impact extends to the small and big screens. Bill Roache's enduring role as Ken Barlow in Coronation Street and Robert Lindsay's diverse career underscore Ilkeston's contribution to the arts.
Each of these landmarks adds a unique chapter to Ilkeston's narrative. Whether it's the silver screen magic at Scala Cinema, the Victorian grandeur of Bennerley Viaduct, or the quiet contemplation by the Drinking Fountain, Ilkeston unfolds its story, inviting all to become a part of its living history.