Archived Histories of Brass Bands 
    
 
Bands Directory   |   Events   |   Products & Services   |   People   |   Organisations   |   Reference   |   About IBEW   |   Contact
 


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.



Enderby Band

Village records show that there had been a temperance band in Enderby since the mid 1850,s but the seeds of the band as we know it were sown in 1893. The band was officially formed in 1895 when some members of the temperance band joined with the new group to form the Enderby Band. Some of the founder members were Job Biggs, who was Jan Osgood's great grandfather, Herbert his son, Bill Freestone and several of his family. The Band in those days comprised of all male members and was seen as a male adult pastime. Many of the members worked at the local quarry although there was a cobbler, shopkeeper and railway worker in the early Band.

The Band was always in demand to play at fetes, garden parties and at the village wakes when the fair came to the village. The favourite job was at Enderby Hall when between sessions they were invited into the refreshment tent and given lots of posh food and drinks, which was quite a treat in those days.

Christmas time was, as now, a hectic time as it was tradition for the band to go round the village on Christmas Eve playing carols. As word got round more and more people invited the band to play and enjoy a nip of whiskey or sherry and a mince pie. This became so popular with the villagers that it was often 7 o'clock on Christmas Morning when the players got home. After a couple hours sleep it was out again to play at some of the outlying farms and big houses in the area. The whole tradition was repeated again on Boxing Day, making it a very busy festive period. This is the tradition which the Band maintains to this day.

It was rumoured that in a parade in the early days Job Biggs, who was apparently not very musical although an enthusiastic drummer but only a small guy, had difficulty seeing over the big drum; so while the parade turned down Mill Lane, Job with the rear of the parade following, marched on down Corporation Street.

In the early days several families had strong ties with the Band. The Biggs' (Garry Sleath and Jan Osgood's great grandfather was Job, and his son Herbert who was a fine cornet player), Frank Biggs no relation - was one of the Bands first conductors about 1909, the Freestones - Bill and John. Bill was still playing in the late 1930s. Jimmy Gilbert played from the early 1930s to 1948/49. Tommy Smith who taught Garry Sleath to play his first notes, played in the late 40's through to the 60's, and there must be many more.

The Band was the pride of the village and was invited to more engagements than it could possibly fulfil. It was not unusual for the Band to play three gigs on a Sunday during the summer; for church in the morning and on a park in the afternoon and evening. As few people owned cars and public transport was irregular players who did not live in Enderby would have meals with one who did.

Enderby Hall Open Day and Fete was always a popular engagement, as the Band were allowed to eat their fill in the food marquee, and partake of refreshment in the 'Beer Tent' as payment for playing.

The band also played each year at Wicksteed Park in Kettering when players and their families piled on to two buses for a day's outing.

Between the two World Wars the Band was very strong and doing well in contests and adopted the title Enderby Prize Silver Band, but with the start of WWII most of the younger players were called up to serve in the forces so the Band suffered somewhat. In 1935, under the leadership of Mr James Gilbert, Enderby Band (then known as the Enderby Silver Prize Band) won the 1st prize in the 1st section (now championship) of the Leicester Brass Band Association Contest, at which time the band where regarded as one of the outstanding Brass bands in the country.

In 1939 when war was declared one band member decided that "Hitler was not going to get his hands on the band's instruments" so he collected some of them and put them down the old well in his garden. Unfortunately he did not return from the war and he had only told a non-banding friend about it in the pub, so the instruments were lost. So if any one in New St or West St in Enderby comes across some unusually shaped scraps of metal in their garden the Band would like to hear from them!

After a period of decline, due mainly to World War II, the band was reformed in 1975 by Garry Sleath (pictured right), great grandson of one of the founding members, Arthur Biggs. In 1982, the band 'pooled' resources with the Leicester Imperial Band for a short period, but the band once again managed to strengthen resources and maintain Enderby Band, and in the years that followed Garry took the band from the bottom of the 4th Section (similar to divisions in football) to the 1st section, winning many prizes during the process.

During the 1980s the number of players and interest in the band grew, and demand for a Junior Band increased. This was formed as a 'safe haven' for younger, less experienced players to gain the neccessary practice in order to move on into the Senior band at an appropriate stage.

At a later date the success of the Junior band grew so much that there was a need to create a Youth band. This was introduced as another phase in a players development process and now forms a stepping stone between the the Junior and the Senior bands.

The nineties witnessed success for all bands, as the organisation, with the respective conductors really began to take off and make an impact. In 1995 the organisation completed its centenery year. This was celebrated with a day of playing in the village to which the band belongs: Enderby, Leicestershire, UK. All players from all bands - junior, youth and senior (including a host of ex-players) - combined to perform a concert with a variety of music to celebrate this momentous occasion. The youngest player was only 6 years old and the oldest 75 which just goes to show that people of all ages can play music!

In 1997 the Enderby Senior Band, under the leadership of John Broadhurst, were promoted to the Championship section (analogous to a brass band premier league!), one of the very few bands to do so without sponsership. During this time the Enderby Youth Band also went from strength to strength. Having achieved back-to-back promotions from the youth section with an influx of players from a host of local schools and colleges the Youth Band became one of the youngest bands ever to compete in the 3rd Section, competing against and beating many adult bands.