Archived Histories of Brass Bands 
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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.

Oldham Band (Lees)

Even though the 'Oldham Band (Lees)' is a relatively young band, it's history can be traced back to 1873 when the 'Glodwick Band' was formed. In 1955 the band became the 'Lees and Glodwick Band' and later amalgamated with the 'Cobden Chadwick Band'. The band reformed as 'Oldham Brass 97? and when the band was reduced to a dedicated group of just 8 players, it was agreed that John Collins would take over the helm as Musical Director and bring with him several young players from 'Bare Trees Community Band'. After months of planning and preparation, the band had it's first rehearsal in August 2004 at the Royal British Legion in Lees. 'The Oldham Band (Lees)' was born.

The band is now thriving and is busy performing in concerts and contests nationwide. The band enjoyed a lot of success in the lower sections, including 5 consecutive Area Championship wins and 4 Pontins' titles. In 2011, the band has achieved yet more landmarks in it's history by winning 2 consecutive Championship Section contests, Tameside contest and Fleetwood contest. We are very proud of our contest history which from late 2004 to mid 2011 has seen us gain 19 WINS, 4 SECONDS, 4 THIRDS and 3 FOURTHS. On only 5 occasions has the band finished outside the top 4 in 35 contests and a full list of our results and the pieces we played are at the bottom of this page.

As 'Oldham Band (Lees)' continues to flourish, another venture begins with the formation of the 'Lees Band'. This band provides players of all ages with the opportunity to gain experience of playing in a band under the direction of John Collins.


The Glodwick Band was formed in 1873, or so it says on the old Bass Drum which is still in existence and kept in the upstairs bandroom at the Royal British Legion in Lees. The location of rehearsal rooms in those bygone days and which came first, the Glodwick Band Club or the Glodwick Band, is anyone's guess. But over a period of time the records show the band to part of the Glodwick Social Club or Glodwick Band Club as it was known. The Glodwick Band itself seemed to have dwindled in the early 1900's only to raise its head again in 1935 as the Glodwick Prize Band.

One of the best stories associated with the band is linked to the time that, together with the Besses o' the Barn Band, they attended a St Patrick's Day celebration at The Free Trade Hall in Manchester and the Glodwick Bandsmen noticed the Shamrock laid out on the tables as decoration. Mistaking the Shamrock for watercress they proceeded to eat it, much to everyone's amusement. Therefore, and for quite sometime afterwards, they became known as The Shamrock Band.

During the war years, three quarters of the band were in the Armed Forces. But on their return, in 1945, the band tried their luck at the Bolton Daily Mail Contest and came sixth. There are no records to hand for the years 1945 to 1949 so one can only assume that the band suffered a lean time during this period. The band club meanwhile in 1949 was raided by the local Constabulary, presumably for drinking after hours and subsequently suffered a fine from the courts. The band club, being itself on lean times, called a committee meeting at which the committee decided to sell off the band instruments to pay off the fine. In December 1949 a letter was drafted to the club by the band asking for clarification on this matter, only to be informed that the instruments had been sold to Thomas Reynolds (Snr) and Sons of Manchester and that the uniforms were due to be sold that week.

The band committee, being non too pleased with this turn of events, drafted another letter putting forward their case for the ownership of the instruments and attaching a claims form. This was all to be presented at the club's A.G.M. No records, again, are to hand regarding this meeting. Just one small item appears in the band ledger to the effect that the meeting was very disorderly indeed, as one can imagine. Not to be outdone the band committee called a public meeting, at which it confirmed the bands intention to buy back the instruments and continue with the band.

A house to house collection was organised and with this, and other public subscriptions, the band raised the 200 required to buy back the instruments from Thomas Reynolds. The band, wishing to safeguard itself from this situation arising again, changed its name becoming the Glodwick Public Brass Band (1950). From this point on the band flourished, doing concerts and contests etc., with their first contest being The Daily Herald North West Area Brass Band Championships on April 11th. However, bandroom facilities seemed to be a bit of a problem with rehearsals being held initially over Leesons shop on Glodwick Road kindly lent by a Mr George Dixon (Painter and Decorator). Then a room at the old Co-Op in Retford Street and, together with the Ladies Committee renovating an old house, at the corner of St John Street and the High Street Lees. Minutes of meetings were kept but only reporting in brief one liners, although the band seemed very busy. Until at the A.G.M of the band held on the 6th February 1955 this comment appeared, "It was decided to change the name of the band from Glodwick Public Prize Band to the Lees and Glodwick Band."

From Glodwick to Lees in 82 years now The Lees and Glodwick Band. That's another story...