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This page is part of an archive of historical details from existing or defunct brass band websites. This is being maintained to provide a record of this information in the event of a band folding, its website disappearing or other loss of the historical record. Where possible, and appropriate, the information cached will be updated from time to time - and any corrections or updates are welcome.

Berry Hill Band

In the early 1880's there were two brass bands in the Berry Hill area, one made up of members of a temperance organization and the other of employees of Speedwell colliery.

These combined in 1911 to become the Berry Hill Silver Band when Mr Henry (Harry) Hawkins invited local people, particularly those connected to the Salem Chapel (founded in 1900), to rehearse in his front room.

As numbers increased, there was a need to find other practice rooms and these included:
  • The "Tin Hut" on Joyford Hill
  • A barn at Five Acres
  • The Billiard hall at "The Hut" in Park Road, Berry Hill

The band was based in Salem chapel in the 1930's but then practised in a steel hut behind the chapel. The band used the latter Memorial Hall during the 1960's and into the early 1970's until, at last, the members of the band built their own premises in 1974 on the site of a former scout hut on land adjacent to Salem Chapel in Park Road, Berry Hill, where they remain to this day.

For a time (certainly in the 1950's) they were known as The Berry Hill Silver Prize Band. The band is now known as The Berry Hill Band. Film and TV Appearances

Dennis Potter, who came from Berry Hill, remembered this Band and commissioned it to play for and appear in several of his plays and films including:
  • "Between Two Rivers" - recorded at "The Hut"
  • "The Beast With Two Backs" - recorded at Goodrich Castle at 11pm in mid-February 1968 under floodlights. Patrick Barr starred.
  • "Cold Lazarus" & "Karaoke" - both of these films were recorded in London and Welsh Bicknor Church in 1995, starring Albert Finney and Adam Boreham.
  • "Songs Of Praise" - a BBC production filmed at Newland Church in 1988 with Revd. Roger Royle.
  • "Meet The Ancestors" - filmed at Christchurch schoolrooms in 2002 for Channel 4.

Contest Success since the 1950's

Berry Hill Band has won many contests and prizes from the 1950's onwards as well as performing at Garden Fetes, processions, Schools and Sunday School Fairs.

The following is only a brief record of some of the successes of Berry Hill's Silver Band:

1954 - 3rd Prize in the Gloucestershire Association Contest
1957 - Contests in Bristol, Ruardean, Cirencester, Chepstow - 1st and Best Soloist, Winchcombe, Bream, London and Ross-On-Wye
1968 - Contest in London - promoted to 2nd Section
1969 - Contest in Reading (brass Band Guild) - placed 1st out of 19 bands.
1970 Stroud Contest placed 1st out of 14 Bands; Swindon Contest - Mark Jordan awarded Best Soloist; Gloucestershire Brass Band Association - winners in Section C; Severnsound Brass Band Contest - (Peter Hunt) James Whitson Cup; Stroud Contest - Individual prize to Mark Jordan; Stroud Contest - Band awarded George Roger Cup; Weston-Super-Mare - 1st Place; Hereford - Best Instrumentalist to Jane Hoare; Swindon - Arkell Trophy; (Altogether, five 1st places out of six contests in six months!)
1988 - New instruments purchased
1990 New uniforms purchased. Weston-Super-Mare Regional Finals - Best Soloist awarded to Steve Lewis
2003 - The Bands at Parkend and Berry Hill agreed on a mutual help pact, through which both bands would remain as separate bands, but would assist simultaneously the other band in outdoor engagements, when required. Both bands 'gelled' well and entered the GBBA Contest. Gloucestershire Brass Band Association Contest - winners in Section C