The Ilkeston Giant Statue – Ilkeston, England - Atlas Obscura

The Ilkeston Giant Statue

A wooden statue commemorates a local celebrity who became a national sensation for his height.  

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In the 19th-century, it was rare in England to see anyone taller than six feet. Samuel Taylor was over seven feet and literally stood head and shoulders above everyone, including his father who was himself slightly over six feet.

At first Samuel was met with a lot of discrimination over his height and found employment hard to come by but in 1832, he visited a traveling fair at the nearby village of Castle Donnington and found he was a foot taller than the man being exhibited in the “Giant” sideshow. His presence in the tent caused a great stir in the crowd and he was taken on by the fair’s owner to become a great attraction all around the country.

Upon his death, Samuel was buried in his home town of Ilkeston. His body was moved by train from Manchester, where he died and his massive coffin was met with large crowds and brass bands at Ilkeston station. His grave eventually became neglected until the 20th-century when a local community group (the Friends of Stanton Road Cemetery) restored it and installed the large wooden statue, which can be seen in Stanton Road Cemetery today.

Know Before You Go

The cemetery also has the grave of a famous cricketer, James Tilson. The headstone has depictions of a cricket ball and wicket keepers glove and a set of stumps.

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