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.

Ransome Band

The Band was formed on the 1st November 1937 as the works band of Ransome and Marles, a well-known bearings manufacturer. Ransome and Marles, located in Newark in Nottinghamshire was a major employer in the town. Many of the Bandsmen were employees of the Company. In its first ten years the band built a reputation of musical excellence both within the brass band world and the public alike. The year of 1939 saw the Ransome and Marles Band make the first of over 500 radio broadcasts.

Such was the popularity of the Band's music that the BBC installed a direct radio link to the works canteen from where many of the popular musical programmes of the time were broadcast. These broadcasts included favourites such as "Music While You Work", "Workers' Playtime", "Friday Night Is Music Night" and "Strike Up the Band". As well as appearances on TV, a particular highlight was featuring in the Oscar winning film "Women in Love" in 1970. 1970 was also notable when at the National Finals at the Albert Hall in London the band gained 2nd place to Grimethorpe Colliery Band, playing the test piece called "Pride of Youth" by Gordon Jacob. In the same year Ransome and Marles merged with Hoffman and Pollard to form a new company called R.H.P. Bearings. Consequently the band changed its name to the RHP Works Band and continued to receive financial support from the company at that time.

Recession loomed and in 1980 the company was no longer able to continue its financial support, but fortunately the Band was able to secure support firstly from Browns Musical of Lincoln and then Airquick (Newark) Ltd. This lasted through the 80's until the early 90's. However 1991 was traumatic in that Airquick (Newark) Ltd was unable to continue with its valuable support. The decline in funds mirrored the Band's rapid decline and it was a struggle to maintain a band at all. At one point there were only 9 stalwart members remaining. In 1992 the heartbreaking decision was made to dissolve the Band and let the traditional Ransome name lapse. The Band's final concert was in the grounds of the Castle in the centre of Newark and the last number they played was "Old Comrades". There was not a dry eye to be seen.

Fortunately news of the Band's imminent demise found its way into the local press. When the town of Newark and the Band's loyal following heard the news, there was an outcry that provoked a very positive action. Newark Town Council and other local representatives got together with a package of support which enabled the Band to continue its championship and concert activity for the next few years. Newark Town Council still continue to be loyal supporters of the Band. In 1994 major sponsorship was received from NSK-RHP (UK) Ltd, who ironically were successors to the original Ransome and Marles. It would seem that fate had completed a circle. It was in 1996 that Brian Grant was appointed as Musical Director and in the November of that year, the Band was invited to attend the 80th anniversary celebrations of N.S.K. in Tokyo, which both the Band and the Japanese audiences hugely enjoyed. In 1997 the Band qualified for the National Finals at the Albert Hall in London by becoming Midland Area Champions for the first time since the 1950s. In the same year the Band qualified for the British Open Championships at the Birmingham Symphony Hall for the first time since 1979 and entered the rankings for the brass band movement at number 32.

As a result of its hard work and dedication the Band is currently in 8th place. During their history the Band have made numerous LPs and during the last few years made 3 CDs which have proved hugely popular with our loyal supporters and the general public. Work will commence this autumn on a further CD which will be released later in the year. 1999 was a very active and successful year for the Band yet again. The first highlight was becoming the Midland Area Champions. This gave qualification to the Finals in October at The Royal Albert Hall, London. Then followed the invitation to compete at the All England Masters Championships, the British Open Championships at the Birmingham Symphony Hall and also the top entertainment contest at Spennymoor in Co Durham. In June the Band was invited to play at the Glen Miller Festival in Clarinda in the U.S.A, which proved a huge success with the audiences. There was also a concert at the Michigan Theatre in Ann Arbour Detroit where the band played for invited guests from N.S.K. Corporation.

In 2000 the Band became runners up at the National Finals at the Albert Hall in London and making them The English Champions. This fantastic result qualified the Band to play at the European Championships in Montreux in Switzerland in 2001 and again, to play in the Nationals in 2001. Through this success they are now ranked 8th in the country. In 2001 the Ransome Band was delighted to appoint Russell Gray as its Musical Director and Professional Conductor. Russell had recently returned to the UK from Norway where he had spent part of his time as Musical Director of the Stavanger Band. He brings with him a wealth of experience and will be working with the Ransome Band to continue building on their growing reputation, also ensuring that they continue to be one of the country's top Brass Bands.