I have been interested in family history for a number of years and I am attaching a photo of my grandfather’s cousin Elijah Wheatley who was born in Ilkeston in 1885. Elijah was a jockey, a very successful one too because in 1905 when still an apprentice he was champion flat racing jockey with 124 wins to his name.
In 1913 he won the St Ledger on a horse called Night Hawk. In 1912 he married Maud Grace Wood the the younger sister of Marie Lloyd (Wood) the music hall singer.
Elijah received an invitation to race in Egypt which he accepted and the couple spent the remainder of their lives there. When he retired from racing Elijah became a trainer and in 1933 he was appointed trainer to the King of Egypt.
In 1951 Elijah returned to England shortly after Maud’s death and died in October 1951.
At the time of his death he was living with his sister Mrs Tilforth on Whitworth Road, Ilkeston.
I would love to know more about this famous son of Ilkeston and I am hoping that there are Wheatley family members in Ilkeston that would care to share memories and hopefully photos of this man.
I see from the 1911 census that his parents William and Emily were running the Great Northern pub on Cotmanhay Road.
They state that of 17 children, eight were living. They are Elijah (born 1885), William Liston (born 1890), Laban Lorenzo (born 1894), Evelyn (born 1898), Louisa (born 1901), Emily (born 1902), Frances (born 1908) and Harold (born 1910).
My family line is William Wheatley (born 1826), George Wheatley (born 1868), John William Wheatley (born 1898) and my father Samuel Arthur Wheatley (born 1922). My maiden name was Barbara Wheatley. I was born in 1949 and attended Bennerly infants, Granby Junior and Hallcroft Secondary schools.
I have been living near Blackpool since I was 18 but manage to travel back to Ilkeston on occasion to meet family old and new. So tell me, was there a civic reception when Elijah became champion jockey and does anyone have photos of the Wheatley parade that my father has told me about?
He said there were banners and flags and sundy musical noise provided by clanging dustbin lids. Sounds great fun. So please dear family check out your attic and get in touch.
My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
n To see a picture of Elijah Wheatley turn to Memory Lane on page eight.