In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Ilkeston like this:
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, WhitThursday, 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.
The parish contains also the hamlets of Cotmanhay and Little Hallam. Acres, 2, 290. Real property, £16, 195; of which £1, 500 are in mines. Pop. in 1851, 6, 122; in 1861, 8, 374. Houses, 1, 749. The increase of pop. arose chiefly from the extension of mining, and the operations of a building society. The property is much subdivided. The manor belongs to the Duke of Rutland. Coal and iron stone abound; and lime is calcined. The Erewash canal goes across the parish, and has here, on its banks, manufactories of varions kinds of bricks, stoneware, and common earthen ware. The Nutbrook canal also passes on the W; and the Ilkeston Junction r. station is on the E. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Lichfield. Value, £290.* Patron, the Duke of Rutland. The vicarage of Cotmanhay is a separate benefice.The sub-district contains a1so Heanor and Shipley townships in Derbyshire, and two parishes in Notts. Pop. in 1851, 10, 909; in 1861, 13, 745. Houses, 2, 834.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Ilkeston, in Erewash and Derbyshire | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 25th March 2017
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