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Linthwaite Brass Band
Let us go back to 1852 in Linthwaite, there were no motor cars (Standard/Triumph car company was only formed in 1900's), the first edition of the Huddersfield and Holmfirth Examiner Newspaper had been printed on Saturday 6th September 1851, Woods music shop had already been open for 3 years and we were still some 30 years away from having a Town Hall in Huddersfield. The Band headquarters was only a few hundred yards away from where we are based today. The local families of Baxters, Mellors Swifts, and Haighs were all involved in assisting the band and today we still have a Baxter associated with the Band. The bands 1st engagement was on the 8th April 1854.
In 1855 Edwin Swift was appointed solo cornet player/conductor at 13 years old and so began a long successful period with the band which lasted until Edwin's death in 1904. Under Edwin's direction the Linthwaite Band attended the Belle Vue Brass Band Championships 22 times from 1869 – 1891 and was placed in the prizes 16 times, 1st in 1874.
Linthwaite Band and Boarshurst Band in the 19th and early 20th century were very similar to each other. Both had outdoor rehearsals using hurricane lamps and often rehearsals were cancelled due to rain and snow. Dobcross Band in 1875 practised on the bank of Eastwood's reservoir in Platt Lane.In 1877 the Boarshurst band walked some 6 miles to rehearse and back home again with their new “Besson's Best” instruments at the home of Alexander Owen, a contemporary of Edwin Swift.
Now how about this, in 1877 Linthwaite Band won 1st prize at Edinburgh and was awarded £60, the highest prize money ever paid at a contest to a brass Band.
The title "Prize Band" was added to Linthwaite at this time for the achievement of winning 1st Prize at the same contest for three years running, and winning three consecutive 1st Prizes at three different contests. At the time competition was very strong as it was thought that over 30,00 Brass Bands were in existence in the UK at the end of the 19th Century.
In 1900 it was printed on the bands letterhead that they had won £5,000.00 in prize money since it's formation. Records show that in 1900 Linthwaite Bands uniform colours were blue with gold trim. Compared with todays uniform of maroon jackets with blue lapels and gold braid trim.
In the early 1900's Linthwaite Band were to give a concert in the Oldham Coliseum and the Secretary, L. Garside, went along to check out the venue before the concert. He missed the train home so he had to walk 11 miles back home and in doing so he sprained his ankle. He then had to arrange train compartments for 50 people from Longwood to Greenfield, a wagonnette from Greenfield to the Coliseum and tea for the band at 5 pennies each.
Another feat of exertion of a certain band member occurred when an anvil was required to be played for a part in the music for a concert up at the Chapel in Linthwaite. The player borrowed the anvil from his work at Blackmoorfoot and carried it all the way to the concert.
There is a old story of some Linthwaite Band players being winched up to the top of the Titanic Mill Chimney in a bucket where they proceeded to play a concert on a stage built across the chimney top. The story is true and a descendant of the firm of Wimpennys, Mr Harry Wimpenny, a past president and very good friend of Linthwaite Band, thank you for the support of your family over the past 100 years. Incidentally, Harry's son Jamie
is the President of our Junior Band
L. Garside, Secretary around 1909 commented “Full up of bandsmen and their ways” indicating the stubbornness of bandsmen, So perhaps not a lot has changed.
From 1896 – 1911 Linthwaite Band took part in the Whit Friday processions by playing for the Salem Moravian Sunday School in Lees, Oldham.
In 1900 as John Henry Isles presented the Daily Telegraph Challenge Trophy to Linthwaite Band in Milnsbridge Baptist School Room it was mentioned that winning on old instruments was OK, but new instruments were desired for the next contest the £1000, Guinness Trophy to be held at Bell Vue Manchester.The instruments were obtained but after the purchase Linthwaite Band were not placed in prizes on that occasion. Two years later they were still not paid for and various discussions occurred over the sum of £306.12.4d which was owed and questions were asked as to whether or not they should have even bought them in the first place.
In 1908 Linthwaite Band held public rehearsals at Lindley Bandroom and Milnsbridge skating rink.
For the 1908 Belle Vue contest it is recorded that 30 rehearsals took place in 6 weeks plus extra sectional rehearsals.
The Linthwaite Band has never been sponsored but during the years 1909-14 indirect help was provided by the fact that some of the influential mill owners gave subscriptions to the band and found jobs for players living outside the area who were able to join the band if they were found a situation. Jobs were found at Josiah Lockwoods, John Crowthers (Milnsbridge) and David Browns Gears at Crosland Moor, Black Rock Mills Linthwaite and Thornton and Ross Laboratories, Linthwaite.
In 1909 the bands new rehearsal room was a lean too shed at the back of the Warren House Inn, Manchester Road, (The Warren House Inn, was the last resting place for the unfortunate Mr. Horsfall a Mill owner who was set upon by the gang known as the Luddites, (commonly called "Ben o'Bucks) as he made his way home to Marsden, and died there 38 hours later from gun shot wounds to the abdomen on 21 April 1813), The band used this facility lit by oil lamps for the next five years till the start of the first world war in 1914. A hand written march composed for the band was discovered in the bands library entitled "Warren House" and was restored and performed at the bands 150 years concert at the St Paul's Hall, Huddersfield.
During the 1939 – 1945 war the Band lost many of its players into the Services, but it was kept going by Mr Jim Wagstaff and his wife, who recruited young people to learn to play, with rehearsals even taking place at the home of one of the players Mr Jim Wagstaff. Sadly Jim is no longer with us, but his wife Dolly and Daughter Maureen and family are still with us. Jim was a stalwart of the Band, a great friend and excellent fund raiser.
Since 1952 the Band has qualified and appeared in the National Finals on 9 occasions, the most recent being 2002, featuring in the prizes on 6 occasions.
Alongside Jim we just have to mention and remember Mr Johnny Morley. Mr Morley as we called him was responsible for the bands success during the 1950/60s and many players will remember attending music lessons at Mr. Morley's shop in Paddock where he taught us how to play slow melodies. He also taught us that in order to play a song correctly we had to know and understand the words. How true that was and what a great debt Linthwaite Band owes to Mr Morley and his friend, composer and our professional conductor Mr. A. Ashpole. How many bands today can say that they have won a contest by 12 clear points as we once did under Mr Ashpole. A hand written March was composed for the band called Colne Valley by Mr A Ashpole and still exists in the bands Library.
It wasn't until 1954 that the Band had their own premises, when they took over the premises of Smith Riding Working Mens Club, Slant Gate, Linthwaite, which was in financial difficulties.
With the help of Tetley's Brewery, the Band took over the debts and for the next 8 years worked very hard to clear the outstanding debts. However, the burden became too great, due to the collapse of a large retaining wall, and other urgent and expensive repairs being required to the building, so the decision was made to vacate the premises and sell the building and adjoining land to a property developer to clear all the debts.
Conductors from 1944 to 2003
1944 Edgar Sykes
1945 Norman Tann
1945 Ives Fieldsend
1948 Leonard Wood
1949 Wood Sykes
1951 Harold Swallow
1952 John W Morley (Alfred Ashpole as Professional)
1969 John S Iredale and Norman Hudson
1970 Herbert H Howarth
1973 Gordon Pulleyn
1979 Duncan Beckley
1982 John S Iredale
1991 David Pogson
1995 Peter Godfrey
1996 Andrew Preston
1999 Steve Platten
In 1952 the Band became a "Registered Band" and again started to enter competitions. Under the tuition of its Conductor, John W Morley and Alfred Ashpole the Professional Conductor, the Band had many successes and became a very strong competitor in the 2nd Section (before the Championship Section was formed).
In 1962 the former premises of the local British Legion at Hoylehouse Fold, Linthwaite became vacant, and the Band took over the premises on a rental basis from the 1950's and early 60's incidentally we still have 6 players in today's band, John Iredale, Gwen Iredale, Haydn Iredale, Bernard T Garside, Peter Swallow, and David Singleton.
In the 1950's Banding started to see some radical challenges in the form of females wanting to play in bands. Linthwaite Band we like to think was forward looking and Gwen Garside joined in approximately 1954, she is still here today so, now called Gwen Iredale. At that time Slaithwaite Band stated that no females were allowed. Lockwood Band had their first female player in the 1970's and even in 1980 a Boarshurst comment was "we do have women but they are more bother than they are worth ! ".
Incidentally on a point of order all the facts I am using are documented and true. Even in Linthwaite Band a comment was made "that the horn was a nice instrument for a lass" to play.
In 1985 an agreement was made with the owner to buy the premises on a "Rental Purchase" basis. At that time the building was lease-hold; the land being owned by a nearby Dye Works. Negotiations on behalf of the Band by the owner of the building resulted in the land being donated to the Band free of charge.
Notable conductors of the sixties and seventies were Mr Herbert, H Howarth, Mr Gordon Pullyen, and Mr Duncan Beckley, who took the Linthwaite Band at the very start of his conducting career.
In 1993 Mr David Pogson and the band gained 1st Place at the Yorkshire Regional Championships held at St George's Hall, Bradford the band then competed at the National Championships held at Wembley Conference Centre on the 2nd October 1993. The band came sixth on that occasion.
In 1999 Mr Steve Platten was asked to conduct the Linthwaite band by Mr Bernard Garside who was band Secretary. The band took part in the Diggle March Contest, winning the best Third and Fourth section Band Prize. Shortly after the band was requested to play for the Greenfield Methodist Church for their next Whit Friday Processions 16th June 2000, an engagement that has been carried on since.
In May 2000 the band won first prize at the Ripon Brass Band Festival and trophy for best March Played. "El Capitan" J P Sousa.The band appeared live on TV's Channel 4 "The Big Breakfast Show". The band were again to win the Yorkshire Regional Championships at Bradford in March 2002 and competed at the National Finals held at Torquay on the 21st September 2002, the band finished in 11th place on that occasion.
Over recent years the Band have fulfilled many prestigious engagements at venues such as "The Royal Armouries", "Harewood House", "Ripon Cathedral", "Wakefield Cathedral" and at "Newby Hall" in North Yorkshire, and Doncaster Races.
The band have recently been involved in the making of informational Video's for the British Korean Veteran's Association, West Yorkshire Branch called "Service for the Dedication of the New Standard" and also "Land of the Leadboilers" as well as many charity concerts, civic concerts, garden parties, fetes etc.
An account of the "Procession of Whitness" on 16th June 2000 by Steve Platten conductor Linthwaite Band - "The day starts at Linthwaite Band Headquarters. The players load up the coach at 7.30am which then makes its way across to Greenfield, the general chat on the coach is of previous Whit Friday engagements undertaken many years ago by the older band members.
The band leaves the Clarence Hotel, Greenfield at 8-15am playing the tune "Hail Smiling Morn" on the march along Chew Vale Road to the Greenfield Methodist Church.
After a service in the church, the band lines up to lead a Church procession to Road End, where a joint service with the procession from St Mary's Church, is held and led by the Boarshurst Band with the playing of two Hymn tunes. The procession then leads off along Chew Vale Road to St Mary's Church, with church banners leading the way, then to Gladstone Terrace, Primrose Bank, Chew Vale apartments, and back to Road End, each band playing two hymn tunes at each stop. The whole procession of about four to five hundred people finishes about 2 hours later with a final service and Linthwaite Band lead the final hymn singing, and march the church banners back to Greenfield Methodist Church.
Refreshments are usually taken by the band members at the King William Pub, the band members along with players from the Honley Band, St Sabastian's Band, will line up outside the pub and applaud Boarshurst Band as they march past on the home return from St Mary's Church to their band room.