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Markham Main Colliery Band
The Markham Main Colliery St-Johns Ambulance Brigade decided to form the band in 1924, and purchased a set of second hand instruments on which the band carried on until a new set of Besson Instruments was acquired in 1929. Up to 1930 the band was only in attendance at local Functions and Church parades.The first Contest was ventured in the same year at Doncaster, the test piece being Marriage of Figarro, under Mr A.S.Grant the Band was rewarded with the third prize. In 1934 the band attended the evening instrumental music classes under the West Riding Country Council with Mr.Tom Eastwood in attendance.
Mr. Edwin Grittiths laid down his bass trombone in 1936 to become bandmaster, and it was his immediate policy to teach youth, thus terminating the Birds of Passage type of imported player, and in doing so, the band continued the hard but sure way and on the bottom rung of the ladder. Not until 1938 did the Band see the contest field, and up to war being declared many successes had been met including Skegness and the Leicester Festivals.
Several members joined the forces when war was declared, but still the Band decided to continue, and attended at all local savings and other campaigns connected with the total effort. During these years no fewer than 8 trombonists were taught among others, due to the call up, and by the time 1945 had arrived, over 75% of the personnel had been taught by our Band Master.
Contests were attended when possible with successes recorded at Blackpool, Bradford, Ossett and Dewsbury. Many engagements were now arriving and fulfilled with efficiency. 1947 recorded the most successful year on record, when 16 prizes were gained with £250 cash. These included the winning of the Daily Herald N. E. Area Section 2. Also runners up in the final at Belle Vue, other venues were Holmfirth, Hinckley, Loughborough, Newark, Tamworth and Darfield. On the concert platform performances were given at Liverpool, Hull, Sheffield, Rotherham, Pontefract, Scunthorpe, Doncaster etc. in addition to our usual obligations at home.
It was the beginning of this successful year that a new uniform campaign was launched, and a Ladies section formed. A total of 832 clothing coupons were collected from local residents, and within a very short time our Ladies had donated £100 to the band funds. Over £1300 was turned over in this year.
The personnel of this combination is rather a family affair with the (B.M.) E. Griffiths and his three sons Edwin (Secretary, 1st Trombone) Horace (Bass Trombone) Haydn (Principal Cornet) the three generations in the Smith family, John (Drummer) his son William (Euphonium) and grandson Jack (Cornet) the father and son Charlie and Harold Heaton (Eb Bass and Baritone).
The greatest ambition was achieved only in February of this year when a weekly wage contribution of 1/2d was granted from the local Branch of the National Mineworkers Union.