Discovering Ilkeston

Yesterday morning I visited Ilkeston Library to deliver a new workshop  introducing people to the various sources available for researching the history a Derbyshire building. It was a quiet session, with only two in attendance – though one had travelled all the way from Aston on Trent which took me quite by surprise!

With the opportunity to handle examples of all the original sources we talked about, learning how to use the record office catalogue and discussing more specific aspects of the research each was undertaking (one doing a history of their own house, the other looking more generally at their street and surrounding area, including a former laundry and former chapel), it was a very interesting and enjoyable session all round.

So what did we look at? There are a number of key sources we would always recommend consulting whichever part of Derbyshire you are researching – not all of these sources exist for all parts, though these are the ones you are most likely to come across either at the record office, your local library or elsewhere. There is one very useful source not mentioned below, and this is the tithe map and award as there was never one created for Ilkeston                                                                                                                         title deeds … enclosure map and award … land values map and domesday book c1910 … photographs … electoral registers … sale catalogues … building plans … local publications … official town guides … rate books … local authority records … (click an image for more information)

We also looked at the census – available to access for free at your local Derbyshire library – and talked about newspapers available across the county.

Many of the sources we used during the session were picked somewhat at random purely as an example of what was available, but the stories we found we really quite fascinating – I can’t go into details now, though I do hope to be able to do so very soon.

If you want to find out more about doing a building history, we will soon be publishing a series of new research guides on our website, including three guides relating to building history. We will also be re-running this introduction to sources for building history in the coming months so keep an eye out for more information in the next Events brochure. In the meantime, do contact us for more advice if you want to get started now.



3 thoughts on “Discovering Ilkeston

  1. Reblogged this on trinityfamilyhistory and commented:
    When tracing your family history we often forget to use local history sources to add to the picture we are building up of our ancestors. This informative blog post is from the Derbyshire Record Office and illustrate the wealth of local history material available if you look for it.

  2. Oh oh oh, I would love to be able to look at these documents, especially the Ilkeston Enclosure map. Are any of the documents available on line? If i send details of property, is there someone who could look them up for me? Many thanks from Australia.

    • Hi Jeanette, I’m afraid none of these documents are available to view online but we can make copies of most items in the collection and send via email. We can also do research for you. The map can be scanned and emailed at a cost of £1; please complete the order for available on our website ( and email to If you would like us to search for information in the award, you could do this after getting a copy of the map and letting us know which plot numbers to search for, or submit a research request at the same time and we can search for the plot numbers on the map first. The search would take 60-90 minutes depending on whether you would like us to search the map for you. If you would also like us to search other sources (as described above), please indicate when completing the research order form how long you would like us to spend and the particular sources you are interested in.

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