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Sharpness & District Silver Band
There have been three Sharpness Bands over the years and many failed attempts. The first band was formed before 1900 and was originally called the Sharpness Temperance Band.
This band had its problems: the bandsmen, many of whom were port workers at the local docks, used to practise at the Sharpness Union Church. The problem was that they liked the odd tipple or two and an old minute book disclosed that this was classed as breaking temperance, and many of the band members were asked to leave the band; soon membership became nearly nonexistent - more of the bandsmen were to be found at the pub instead of at the rehearsal! An extraordinary meeting was called and it was decided that the Band's name needed to be changed; they came up with the Sharpness & District Prize Band.
The start of World War I saw the Band disperse with many of the players playing in military bands, but after the War they reunited and became even stronger; a big attraction was a man named Jack Portlock.
He was the Band's drummer and was known for the way he used to throw his batons when he marched; this earned him the name "Gentleman Jack". This band finally gave way to another band under the baton of Matt Francis and then Fred Smith. Many of the existing players stayed, including Cliff Priday on solo cornet and the masterly euphonium player George Short.
The band was enjoying local success when the outbreak of World War II saw the group disband. The instruments and the band room were sold and £600 was invested in War Bonds until a new band could be formed. After the war, many attempts were made to reform the band, but they were all doomed to failure.
In 1970 Mr. Reginald Ridler called many public meetings and he found, against all expectations, a very hearty response. A handful of brass band enthusiasts, aged between 9 and 17 and headed by Reg came together and for 6 months the newly formed band learnt the theory of music from a blackboard before they acquired a few instruments. After 18 months, they were ready to face the world (well, Sharpness anyway!) and the band proved once again to be a local success, and they still going strong today.