Researching the history of brass bands


Listed below are details of those individuals who are engaged in researching the history of brass bands in the UK or overseas in whatever form it may take. Academic research, researching for books and articles, collectors, archivists, curators, local historians, hobbyists, musicologists and more! If you would like to provide your details, with an indication of the particular areas of interest, if any, then please send an email with the relevant information to

Historians and researchers

Gavin Holman - [all brass bands]

Any information about vintage brass bands, their formation, histories, members, pictures, contesting, memorabilia, recordings, publications etc. All material is made available for all to access via this IBEW website. Any contributions of information, pictures or suggestions for further research are very welcome. Research papers and books available at
Contacts:  07864 874593,,,  IBEW Blog

Michael Alcorn - [brass bands in Ireland]

Researching brass bands in Ireland. Part of this research is to obtain a comprehensive picture of banding in Ireland and gather together information about the histories of bands both existing and extinct, gather stories about individuals through oral history projects, archive recordings of bands from contests and broadcasts, and gather photographs, documents and archival materials about bands.

Kim Baston - [circus bands]

I am researching into circus bands and am interested in any links between brass band personnel and circus bands. I am particularly interested in the bands who performed with Bostock and Wombwell's menagerie/circus in the 19th century.

Phil Boardman - [Atherton, Astley, Glazebury, Hindley, Leigh and Tyldesley Brass Bands]

I am researching the growth of brass bands in the Atherton, Astley, Glazebury, Hindley, Leigh and Tyldesley area in the 1860s. I am specifically interested in the process of starting a band from scratch in this era, how the bands were funded, resourced and tutored. The two bands I would particularly welcome information on are the Bedford Church Brass Band (of which my great grandfather was a founder member and conductor) and St. Josephs' Brass Band; which I believe was the first brass band in this area. Another area of research is the movement between personnel playing with the Volunteer Movement bands recruited in 1859, who were also members of other local brass bands.
Contacts:  07754 979222,,

Heather Boothroyd - [Cleethorpes Band]

I am looking to publish a book on the History of Cleethorpes Band. The band has appeared under different names (Kingsway Printers Band Cleethorpes, Cleethorpes Borough Band, Cleethorpes silver prize band - to name but a few). I am interested in talking to anyone who has played with the band. I would also like any further information about the band, including photographs or memorabilia..
Contacts:  07749 286363,,

Alan Brookes - [Cannock Chase Colliery Band]

I am a former member of this now extinct brass band. I have already written and published a book entitled 'The History of the Cannock Chase Colliery Brass Band' in 2004. I would be interested in hearing from anyone who has and information and/or photographs relating to the band please.
Contacts:  01543 502125,,

Carol Brooks - [Australian bands]

I am seeking former players/families and any information/memorabilia on the following Victorian band from Australia - Malvern Municipal Band (formerly the Malvern Tramways Band). This band is now under the name of Stonnington City Brass which will be celebrating 100 years in 2011. Also seeking any memorabilia on the following bands; Collingwood Citizen Band, South Caulfield Model Band and the Nhill Salvation Army Band. My grandfather Harold Henstridge played with the Nhill band around the early 1900's, then later became player/secretary with the Oakleigh City Band in the late 1920's to mid 30's.

Mike Brubaker - [Brass and wind musicians of bands and orchestras from 1850 to 1940]

My interests are in the photographs of brass and wind musicians of bands and orchestras from 1850 to 1940, and I have now expanded my geographic interest to worldwide. The genealogy and musicology research is often the most fun in establishing a history. But there is little reward in the collecting itself, and with the advent of easy (and free) weblogs, I started my own web magazine on these forgotten musicians. I try to add something every week, with a focus on orchestras, bands, and individuals that have some unique catch like an unusual instrument or interesting genre of ensemble. The best ones are when there is an identification that can pin down a person, place, and time. My current research is on the history of British bandsmen who came from London's Foundling Hospital, and the orphanages and workhouse bands of the 19th century.
Contacts:  +1 828 236-3817,,

David Cawdell - [East Anglian bands]

I have been involved in brass bands for nearly sixty years both as a player (ex Band of the Irish Guards) and conductor and writer. The brass band movement in the late 19th century was the greatest example of amateur mass music-making in the country and is a very important part of our social history. The histories of now defunct bands should not be allowed to fade from our memories. I am researching the old bands of East Anglia and collect old band photographs, uniforms, instruments, old band books, anecdotes and all other band memorabilia and am currently writing books and articles on the lost bands of our region. I also give illustrated talks on the subject as 'fund raisers' for local bands. All information would be gratefully received and acknowledged.
Contacts:  ,,

Roland Clark - [Bournemouth and Poole bands]

I am currently researching and writing the history of the Brass and Military Bands of Poole and Bournemouth (The BH Post code Area). I have established that the oldest band was Poole Town Band with a mention pre-1849. Wareham Town Band 1850 and the oldest Salvation Army Band appeared as Poole Christian Mission Band before becoming the salvation Army in 1878. I have records of over 80 current and extinct bands. I am appealing for information and photographs however insignificant. Information before the second world war is the most scarce and anything from this period would be much appreciated.
Contacts:  01202 730723,,

Lynne Cordingley - [Warrington bands]

I am currently researching and writing the history of Brass Bands in and around the Warrington, Cheshire (was once Lancashire) area from 1895 up until the second world war. Any information and/or photographs from this period would gratefully be appreciated.

Steven Craig - [Fife brass bands]

Currently researching the history of all brass bands who are still or were at some point active in Fife with the view to publishing a history booklet. Any information or memorabilia especially photographs would be greatly appreciated especially on bands that no longer exist. Also looking for relevant and informative stories about local Fife bands characters and contests.
Contacts:  01383 511919,,

Jeremy de Korte - [Australian brass bands]

Focusing on band stories, conductors, players and band politics.

Gavin Dixon - [the G bass trombone]

I am researching the G bass trombone and the story of its demise. Any documentary information about G trombones in the second half of the 20th century would be greatly appreciated. I would also be interested to speak to anybody who once played the instrument, is related to anyone who played it, or who remembers any details of its passing.
Contacts:  07946 734480,,

Stephen Etheridge - [South Pennines Brass Bands 1840- 1928]

My PhD explored notions of class and region to explain why and how Southern Pennine brass bands became such a powerful metonym of Northern working-class culture, ca. 1840-1914. I am still interested in the social networks that emerge from musical groups, and, as such, I am researching elements of gender and class. I am looking for any reminiscences of women in brass or military bands, ca. 1940-1960; brass players in local jazz bands ca. 1940-1960 and any experiences of playing in amateur operatic societies ca. 1940-1960. I am also available for public talks and lectures on the history of Northern brass bands ca. 1840-1914

Ray Farr - [The Distin Family]

Contacts:  +47 45808278,,

Gillian French - [Bands of the Scottish Borders]

I am continuing my research into the history of the brass bands in the Scottish Borders with a view to expanding the research already done for my thesis. Any unpublished material relating to these bands such as old photographs, concert programmes, contest results, etc. would be very helpful particularly relating to the nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth centuries.

Andrew Hayden - [Birkenhead brass bands]

I'm researching a chap called Robert Hope-Jones, generally known as the father of the cinema organ. This instrument was a deliberate attempt to emulate a light orchestra, and perhaps more to the point relied heavily on organ 'brass' and 'woodwind' tone for its effects - it was the one-man equivalent of a dance band with many sounds which echoed what you'd expect to hear in such a combination. Hope-Jones started out at Lairds and it's a long shot, but I wondered if he had any connections with a works band there? Much of the biographical material about him is patchy until you get to the formation of the 'Hope-Jones Electric Organ Co.' in the 1890's, but I'm interested in formative influences ie at about age 17, which coincides with the year 1866.
Contacts:  01493 700258,,

Chris Helme - [all brass bands and oral history]

My interest is in collating UK brass band nostalgia - researching the almost forgotten players and bands of the past - writing about them and the stories involving them and then having the stories published. Listening to the tales of former players it is their memories that fascinate me and many others - these stories should not be forgotten or lost in the mists of time. I have written my stories for the Brass Review, 4barsrest and the British Bandsman.
Contacts:  01422 205763,,

Steve Hughes - [Besses o' th' Barn Band]

Conducting research with a view to following up the book which covered Besses' history up to 1892. I hope to complete this to coincide with the band's bicentenary year in 2015. Looking at the band's position in the brass band community and also within the local Whitefield (Manchester/Bury) community. Responses are invited from any former players/members and their families with player names and years of tenure with Besses; memorabilia for photographing; memories/anecdotes etc.

Maureen James - [Bandstands of Cambridgeshire]

Alongside a number of other projects, I am currently researching the history of bandstands in Cambridgeshire. I would be grateful for any information on the existing older bandstands in the county including those at Wisbech, Soham and the Prince's Memorial in Balsham plus anything on the bandstands that have sadly gone.
Contacts:  ,,

Richard Jones - [brass band performance]

Research interests:- A doctoral thesis on the behaviour, attitudes and taken for granted processes that are defined by performance practice and performance rituals. Performance contexts as spheres of influence, displaying varying degrees of prestige, status and identity on both bands and individuals. Analysis of brass band adjudication as a means of developing better performance practice. The development of literature and knowledge of world wind and brass band traditions, specifically the position and influence of bands within their own communities. Future research interests:- Village band traditions in south East Italy and mediterranean and the performance practice rituals and social significance of the brass festival or competition in the Balkans.

Frank Madill - [Tasmanian bands]

Researching the history of Brass Bands in Northern Tasmania.

Richard Marchant - [Cairo Red Shield Band]

I am seeking any history of the Cairo Red Shield Band, any former members, their family who might have programmes, letters, photographs, but most of all anyone who has the record which was recorded on May 17th 1944, on the Radio Services label.

Phil Mather - [Yeomanry Regimental Marches]

I am involved with the Band of the Royal Yeomanry in researching the regimental marches of all the Yeomanry regiments going back as far as we can. I am undertaking the research; the band will put the marches onto CD providing we can find the band parts.
I am looking to contact bandsmen who played in any pre 1967 Yeomanry Territorial Army (TA) Band and who can recall the name of their regimental march. There were twenty Yeomanry Regiments in the Royal Armoured Corps and fourteen in the Royal Artillery at that time. Some regiments had very individual marches written by the bandmaster, the band parts being written out by hand and never published. Many of these marches have been lost over time but may still form part of a present day band's library.
One such example is the Lowestoft Town Band who joined the Suffolk Yeomanry en masse in 1958 serving until the TA stood down in 1967 when the band then reverted to its civilian status. The bandmaster at the time was Douglas Crone who wrote the regimental march entitled "The Suffolk Yeomanry" (possibly retitled "The Suffolk and Norfolk Yeomanry" in 1961). He is also credited with another march "The Suffolk Yeoman". Where are the band parts for these marches now? Does anyone know?
Photographs of Yeomanry bands are also sought as part of the project.
Contacts:  0161 763 9460,,

Cathleen O'Connell - [US Native American bands]

Seeking information on US Native American brass/concert/marching bands. I am an independent documentary producer researching film about Native American bands 1890-present day. Looking for photos, ephemera, oral histories, musicians & their relatives. Here is a brief description of the film - scheduled for completion in 2009. When most people hear the phrase Native American music they don't think of tubas, costumed baton twirlers and Sousa marches. Yet this rich musical tradition has been a part of Native American life for over one hundred years. Combining profiles of contemporary bands with fresh historical research, "Native American Marching Bands" (w.t.) offers viewers a surprising and engaging picture of this little-known Native music scene. The documentary challenges viewers to expand their definition of Native American music and broadens their understanding of contemporary Indian life.
Contacts:  +1 978-430-9469,,

Christopher Osborn - [brass band repertoire]

I research the British brass band movement in the twentieth century and the development of their repertoire. I am particularly interested in the move towards an original brass band repertoire and away from transcriptions of music originally published for other contexts.

Julia Owen - [Barnoldswick Brass Band ]

I am currently researching a history of Barnoldswick Brass Band and having exhausted the libraries resources, I need your help please? If you have any memories or memorabilia of this band or it's predecessor, Barnoldswick Prize Band, please contact the library at where any information will be gratefully received.

Kenneth Owen - [brass bands around Leamington Spa]

I am a Life Member of Royal Spa Brass and am currently writing a book on brass banding in Leamington Spa and the surrounding area and would be interested in any information/photographs before they are lost to posterity. The Leamington bands are Salvation Army 1886-2000, Royal Spa Brass 1901-1913, The Mayor's Recruiting Band 1915, Warwickshire Yeomanry Band 1908-xx, Royal Leamington Spa "Victory" Band 1919-22, and Royal Leamington Spa Silver Band/Royal Spa Brass/Brass 2000 from 1955 to date. Local bands are Bilton Silver, Bishops Itchington, Bishops Tachbrook, Broadwell, Charlecote & Hampton Lucy, Combrook, Cubbington 1887-97, 1900-56 & 1995 to date, Dunchurch Silver, Fenny Compton, Halford, Hunningham Boys, Kenilworth - Tom Brown's, Kenilworth Town, Leamington Hastings, Long Itchington, Marton, Radford Semele, Snitterfield, Southam Town, Southam Works, Stoneleigh, Stratford upon Avon, Warwick Town, and Warwickshire Boys Reformatory. Some of the bands have had name changes such as adding Excelsior, Imperial or Prize to their name. Perhaps you know of a band which my research has failed to find. I am also interested in brass band festivals and contests in the area (the earliest I can find is 1863) and bandstands in Leamington particularly the first one in the Pump Room Gardens which was always referred to as a Kiosk as I have been unable to find any picture or information of it.
Contacts:  01926 313420,,

Bob Pickles - [Wyke brass bands]

Bob is writing a book on the brass bands of Wyke. Wyke Old Brass Band and Wyke Temperance Band. Any information or material about these bands, their players, conductors or related details are more than welcome.
Contacts:  01274 607214, - 32 Worthing Head Road, Wyke, Bradford, BD12 9NP

Sandra Pope - [brass bands in Victoria (Australia)]

I am researching brass bands in Victoria (Australia) from the 19th century to the present day. Any information or memorabilia, especially photographs, would be greatly appreciated particularly on bands that no longer exist. Also seeking information on the South Street Brass Band contests from 1900 to the present and on the Daylesford Brass Band.

The Rowntree Society - [Rowntree Brass Band]

As part of the HLF funded oral history project, "York Remembers Rowntree" we are investigating the memories, histories and stories relating to the Rowntree Brass Band (sometimes referred to as the Cocoa Brass Band or the Nestle-Rowntree Band). We are seeking to record memories of those who played within the Band as well as those who played against them in competitions or indeed watched them perform.
Contacts:  01904 543383,,

Andrew Simpson - [Chorlton cum Hardy Brass bands 1820-1945]

Chorlton cum Hardy Brass bands 1820-1945, and some of the contests they participated in. The band apparently joined the Home Guard en masse and continued as the band grew in size to 60. At the end of the war they did not reform. Before the war they had practised in the school on the green, and during the war in the Masonic hall on Edge Lane.
Contacts:  0161 861 0105,  07808 987110,

Derek Skinner - [Northampton Town Band]

The Northampton Town Band was formed in 1919 by men who had returned from war. They won numerous prizes over the years. Any information or memorabilia to help uncover details of concerts, programmes, photographs, players and contest details would be welcome. A history of the band is being compiled and will result in an archive being deposited in the records office - based at Wootton Hall in Mereway.
Contacts:  01604 761836,  derekkskinner@talktalk,

Brian Stride - [British Columbian bands]

Researching the history of brass bands in British Columbia, Canada. Brass Bands in the Province of British Columbia were a common form of musical expression in the colonial to pre-World War 1 years. In general, the bands were comprised of two groups: those developed by the European colonists, which were primarily community bands, and those developed amongst the First Nations peoples, often in association with a religious organization. This is a research project that continues to develop as new photographs and information are discovered. Anyone with information, corrections, additions, or photos concerning brass bands in British Columbia is invited to contact Brian.
Contacts:,  Brass Bands in British Columbia

David Tierney - [St. Augustine's Orphanage Band (1900-1912), Geelong, Australia]

I am preparing a book about the St. Augustine's Orphanage Band (1900-1912), Geelong, Australia. Over this period this band twice won the Australian Open Aged Championship, and were described by Ord Hume as the best boys band in the world. Numerous prominent UK judges, musicians and bands either judged the band and/or visited the orphanage to hear the band. Given this I understand that there were numerous articles about the band in UK band mags. I am interested in: accessing articles about the band published in UK and Australian band magazines; photos of the band; and any other information.

Matthew Walker - [Greater Manchester bands]

I am currently researching the brass bands of Greater Manchester, collating a brief history and major achievements of every past and present band and a photograph where available. Currently I've completed the Bolton area, this book can be found at under the title of Farnworth and Walkden Band. I've now started on the Bury and Rossendale areas, Bury is particularly very lacking in information and anything would be a great help. But I would be grateful for information on the others areas, as I will be tackling these in the future e.g. Stockport, Trafford, Manchester, Salford, Rochdale, Tameside and Wigan.
Contacts:  01204 465321,,

Craig Wood - [Broken Hill / Barrier ranges (NSW Australia) bands and bandsmen]

Any details about the following bands: Barrier Industrial Unions' Band; Broken Hill City Band; Barrier Citizen's Band; Silver City Ladies Band; Silverton Tramways Band; Broken Hill Salvation Army Bands; Amalgamated Miner's Association Band; Broken Hill Band; Silverton Brass band; Wilcannia Town Band; Bermingham's Band; Bartley's Barrier band; Police Boys Band and Broken Hill Marist Brothers' Bugle Band. Also information on the Newcastle steelworks band with information about Tom Bollen or Tom Nankivell. Any information would be much appreciated and acknowledged if planned publication in book form eventuates
Contacts:,  Barrier Industrial Unions' Band

Information withheld - [Brass & Military Bands of Peterborough and District]

There is someone researching this topic, but sadly there can not be a public acknowledgement in the IBEW as he is not willing to share any details of his work. I suspect his research will never see the public light of day, nor be available to a wider audience.

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