In the early months of 2015, more than £55,000 was spent on vital repairs to the front of Ilkeston Town Hall, with grant assistance from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Iron cramps embedded in the stonework had begun corroding, making the balustrades and balcony unstable. The restoration work included the replacement of these cramps, the replacement of eroded bricks and selective repointing. The work was carried out by AJ Restoration of Bulwell; the architects were Anthony Short & Partners of Ashbourne.
The town hall
The town hall was built by Mr Warner of Ilkeston for the Local Board. The design was by Charles Sutton, a renowned Nottingham architect. The foundation stone was laid in September 1866 and the opening ceremony took place in February 1868. The town hall has been altered to suit the changing needs of Ilkeston Borough Council (1887-1974) and Erewash Borough Council (1974-present).
As part of the project, the Ilkeston U3A History Group researched the history of the town hall. Their research formed the basis of a lecture and exhibition at the Council Chamber in February 2015 and a commemorative brochure. The brochure is available for a limited time at the town hall and other council facilities. You can download a low-resolution copy of the brochure below.
At the start of the project, the council and the Ilkeston Advertiser ran a public competition to select an image that would appear on the scaffold banner. The winning photograph (with 30% of the vote) was taken in February 1887. It shows the celebrations to mark the incorporation of Ilkeston as a borough. In second place (with 25% of the vote) was a photograph of the Ilkeston Fire Brigade taken in about 1900.
Craft skills training
During the project, local builders and students from New College Nottingham benefitted from free training in the repair of historic brick and stonework.
The Derbyshire Environmental Studies Service has produced a teachers' resource pack, "Investigating Ilkeston". The pack offers a range of learning activities for inside and outside the classroom, using the town hall and Ilkeston's rich built heritage. The resource pack is best used with pupils in upper KS2 or early KS3, but you can adapt them to suit your needs.
Pupils from Chaucer School took part in a day of learning activities as part of the restoration project.
You can download a summary of the teachers' resource pack below. If you would like a CD with the full resource pack, then please contact the Environmental Studies Service on 01629 533439.