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Pleasley Colliery Welfare Band
The general consensus is that the band began life around 1883 ten years or so after the first mine shafts were sunk in 1871 – 73, the first coal being hewn in 1875. At that time Stanton Ironworks Company owned both Pleasley and Teversal Collieries. Pleasley Colliery being the second oldest pit in the north Derbyshire coalfield.
The band became firmly established over the next forty years at which time in the 1920's H Lambeth and later Bert Lambeth became musical director with Bert's two sons Les on principal cornet and Arthur on solo euphonium. Other known members of the band at that time were Billy Coupe, Henry Dutton (cornet), Percy Vardy (euphonium / baritone), Harold Eggleshaw (solo trombone), Carey Earp (bass trombone), Joe Coupe (BBb bass), Charlie White (percussion).
Following is an article published in “ The Stantonian” the house magazine of the Stanton Ironworks, July 1936 - “Charles Henry White has for the past 40 years been a playing member of the Pleasley Colliery Band. He was born at Old Basford, Nottingham. After leaving school he started work in the pit. When quite a young man, he left Nottingham to work at Mickleford Colliery in Yorkshire where he joined the Colliery band as a trombone player. After about eight years with the Mickleford Band he came to work at Pleasley Colliery in the year 1896, where he at once threw his lot in with the Colliery band as a drummer, a position he still hold and hope to continue to a few more years.”
The above information is the earliest recorded evidence of a band member of Pleasley to date.
In 1925 new instruments were purchased at a cost of £625
The band contested at various venues from 1893 and made their first podium finish at the Spondon Band contest on 5th June 1926 finishing third. In 1927 the band won the 2nd section at Crystal Palace and continued winning prizes there up to 1930. At Belle Vue on 14th July 1929 they finished third. In 1930 they competed in the 1st section and a year later in the championship section both at Leicester and at Crystal Palace in the Grand Shield. Two years later in 1933 they gained 5th in the Grand Shield. During these years Pleasley Band also featured in a broadcast on the BBC Home Service.
With the intervention of the Second World War it is not known how the band fared, but the musical directors of this period were J. Neale, F. Gaunt, W. Rhodes, W. Glen, H. Lambert, W Sadler and then in 1944 George Wright took over with known band members of the time being Charlie Gale, Peter Smith, Les Stocks, John Tyers, Eric Tyers, Albert Drabble, Arnold Slaney, Ron Farnsworth, Alan Beech, Billy Coupe, Jack Bingham, Derek Rice.
In the following years Brian Eggleshaw, David Eggleshaw, Walter Shaw, Terry Ram, Ian Ram, Bill Snell, Allan Ward, Michael Moult, Brian Swann, Tom Stevens, Peter Western, John Ellis, Bernard Leadbeater, Frank Leadbeater, Pat Revill, Frank Wolley joined the band. Secretarial duties were carried out by Bernard Leadbeater, Frank Western, Albert Drabble, and Frank Woolley
1946 - 48 saw G W Coupe as musical director and then in 1951 Harold Eggleshaw took over and the band was recorded competing again in the Midlands Area (2nd section) 21st February 1953. However fortunes must have declined as four years later they appeared in the Midlands Area (4thsection) 15th March 1958 but they came out on top.
This was the start of a golden period for the band claiming many prizes in the fourth section and appearing in the national finals in 1961 and then the meteoric rise up the sections as by 1964 they were back in the championship section. The principal cornet during these years was non-other than a much revered member of the band, Walter Shaw.
They managed to win numerous trophies and hundreds of pounds and were in huge demand. Perhaps the growing demands in the National Championships which saw professional musicians being employed by such outfits as Grimethorpe, Fodens, and Manchester CWS were too much for Pleasley. Despite having excellent players who had to combine a working life with that of competing at the top level the band struggled against such opposition as they did not have the budget to bring professional musicians into their ranks.
Consequently their last appearance in the championship section was in 1965 dropping into the second section in 1967 and winning the Midlands Area that year and again the following year. However by 1977 they were back in the fourth section but still winning prizes. They eventually got back in the third section in 1989 where they stayed until a major decline in playing members at the turn of the century saw them unable to contest at any level.
Perhaps the closure of the colliery in 1983 when it merged with Shirebrook Colliery started the decline. At the start of the year only one member of the band was employed at the pit although most members were employed somewhere in the coal industry.
The band continued with a reduced number of players, at one point only having eight members. However the band gradually built up and started competing again with a small entourage in 2008 under the baton of Dave Cutting with his wife Helen Cutting on principal cornet.
Gradually the band has gained in strength and is now just one player short of a full band. Keith Buxton has been the musical director since the end of 2009 and he has brought the band back to be a major force in the lower sections with a strong belief that it's only a matter of time before they move up the rankings. Building on successes in 2011 the band gained a second prize finish in the mornings fourth section at the 2012 Leicester Contest following it up with second prize in the afternoons third section, with Nick Harris (euphonium) winning the solo prize. Incidentally Nick is currently the only miner still playing in a English brass band.
2013 January and another 2nd place this time at the 'Butlins' Mineworkers Festival in Skegness
1883 Band formed 'Pleasley Colliery Silver Prize Band
1896 Charles Henry White joins as a drummer
1920 Musical Director, Bert Lambeth. Other known members - Les Lambeth (principal cornet) Arthur Lambeth (solo euphonium), Charlie White (percussion) Percy Vardy (Euphonium/Baritone), Harold Eggleshaw (Solo Trombone) Billy Coupe (Cornet), Joe Coupe (BBb bass) George Coupe, George William Coupe, William Henry Coupe, Harry Dutton (Cornet) and Carey Earp (Bass Trombone)
1920'sCrystal palace competition, first in section playing Henry Geehl's On the Cornish Coast
1924-1944 Musical directors of this period are J. Neale, F. Gaunt, W. Rhodes, W. Glen, H. Lambert, W Sadler
1926 June 5th Spondon competition for the Finney Challenge Cup, Pleasley took third place in each contest. MD Mr H Lambeth, organised by the Spondon Grange Brass Band, Ten bands entered playing Melodious Gems
1927 First prize in second section at Crystal Palace, Pleasley Band won prizes at Crystal Palace each year between 1927-1930
1930's Pleasley band playing on National BBC radio
1944-1946 Musical Director George Wright
1945 Known band members, Charlie Gale, Peter Smith, Les Stocks, John Tyers, Eric Tyers, Albert Drabble, Arnold Slaney, Ron Farnsworth, Alan Beech, Billy Coupe, Jack Bingham, Derek Rice. The next wave of players to join include Brian Eggleshaw, David Eggleshaw, Walter Shaw, Terry Ram, Ian Ram, Bill Snell, Allan Ward, Michael Moult, Brian Swann, Tom Stevens, Peter Western, John Ellis, Bernard Leadbeater, Frank Leadbeater, Pat Revill, Frank Wolley, secretarial duties were carried out by Bernard Leadbeater, Frank Western, Albert Drabble, and Frank Woolley
1946-1948 Muscial Director G.W. Coupe
1947 Worksop competition – Musical Director WM Coupe test piece Recollections of Mendelsohn, no placing for the band
1951-1952 Musical Director Harold Eggleshaw
1960's In the first four years of the decade the band achieved much in competitions and managed to move up into the Championship section from the fourth section. They managed to win numerous trophies and hundreds of pounds and were in huge demand.
1962 February 11th NEMBBA first place, beating Long Eaton Silver Band
1983 Pleasley Band obviously assumed that the date of its Foundation was 1883 because in 1983 they celebrated their centenary. The band secretary at that time was Brian Sanderson. By 1983 only one member of the band worked at Pleasley colliery, although most members were employed somewhere in the coal industry
2008-2009 Musical Director – Dave Cutting - band in 4th Section and re-entered competitions . Principle cornet, Helen Cutting, Trombone John Hudson, Cynthia Briscoe, Trevor Morris, Bass Section Allan Ward, Pete Cartiledge, Roger Holmes, Horn Section, Denise Clark, Frankie France, Walter Shaw, Cornet Section Helen, Geoff Stokes, Lewis Shaw, Steve Nel, Brian Wright, Emily Buxton, Karen Varley, Euphs and Baritones, John Yarker, Jeremy Hill, Glyn Allsop, Alan Kemp, Linda Clarke, Percussion Zed and Lisa Buxton, Samuel Cutting
Sep 2009 Musical Director – Keith Buxton - Players – Helen Cutting, principle cornet, Karen Varley (cornet), Geoff Stokes (cornet), Chris Clayton (cornet), Brian Wright (cornet), Emily Buxton (cornet), Steve Nel (cornet), Steward Brett (repiano cornet) Ray Ward (cornet) Pete Cartiledge (Eb Bass), Allan Ward (Bb Bass), Danny Pizzey (Bb Bass), Liza Buxton (percussion), Nathan Fox (percussion), Jeremy Hill (Euphonium), Glyn Allsopp (Euphonium), Alan Kemp (Baritone), Linda Clarke (Baritone), Trevor Morris (Trombone), John Hudson (Trombone), Cynthia Briscoe (Trombone), Tracey Roker (Flugel), Frankie France (Horn), Walter Shaw (Horn), Steve Emery (Horn), Pat Revill percussion
Nov 2009 One of oldest members of band Walter Shaw passed away two days after playing in a Band Concert at the Welfare.