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.
The Staffordshire Band can trace its roots back to before the turn of the last century, when it was known as the Walsall Wood Institute Temperance Band.
In the 1920's the band fell on hard times and became bankrupt, but out of the ashes the Aldridge Colliery Silver Prize Band was formed and rehearsed in a large garage in Brookland Road, Aldridge. Their first radio broadcast was on the BBC in the 1930's.
During the Second World War, the band joined with the Bloxwich British Legion and Bescot Bands to become the Walsall Home Guard Band.
In 1954 the band was renamed the Aldridge Town Band and, with the help of a Councellor Owen, were promised uniforms and instruments. Success followed in 1956 when the band was placed 5th at the National Brass Band Championships held at the Royal Albert Hall, Nottingham (the records do not make clear in which Section the band played). A month later, due to economic circumstances, the Council withdrew its promise to provide uniforms and instruments, however in 1957 events change again and the Council are able to present new instruments at a concert at the BRD.
In 1966, when the two local authorities amalgamate, the band becomes the Aldridge-Brownhills Brass Band and in 1968 move into their new Bandroom sited at the playing fields in Rushall, Walsall - premises the band still own.
Aldridge Brownhills Council purchases a full set of new instruments for the band at a cost of £5000 in 1973, which were officially handed over at a concert at Tynings Lane School. In keeping pace with local government boundary changes, the band changed its name in 1975 to the Walsall Metropolitan Band and is one of the few bands in the country to enjoy the support of their local council.
1977 brought the band its first victory at the National Championships in the 3rd Section under the direction of Peter Bright and, because of the honour it brought to Walsall, were invited in January 1978 to a civic reception at the Council House lead by the Mayor of Walsall, Councellor Leadbetter. Enjoy looking back at John Short, Eric Elliott and John Godfrey of the bass section with the winner's trophies.
Promotion to the Championship Section in 1980 lead for the need of commercial sponsorship and Servis Domestic Appliances of Darlaston provided funding for 3 years and the band became the Walsall Servis Band under Musical Director Peter Marnoch.
In July 1983 the band obtained sponsorship via M&B Brewers (West) Limited and became the Walsall Highgate Band. During this period the band's Musical Director was Ralph Hall, until in September 1985 he left to take up a teaching post in Iceland. One feature of Ralph's time with the band was his cleverly-thought-out, 'Themed' Concerts and visually-compelling Entertainment Contest programmes.
In August 1988 the sponsors changed again and for the next 3 years the band was known as the C.I.Group Band. Success and promotion into the Championship Section followed under the band's Musical Director Mike West and in 1991, the band became Midlands Area Champions for the first time, with an invitation to the National Brass Band Championships at the Royal Albert Hall, London.
In 1993, the sponsors for the next 5 years changed to the Staffordshire Building Society co-inciding with the appointment of a new Musical Director - Andy Culshaw, and in 1998 the band qualified once again for the National Finals at the Royal Albert Hall and became the Open Champions at the West Midlands Brass Band Association Contest held in Leamington Spa. This is a photograph of the band taken outside Weston Hall, Staffordshire prior to a concert as part of the Hall's 'Open Days'.
1998 also saw the end of sponsorship for the band and its name changed again, this time to The Staffordshire Band. Further commercial support is still being sought. David Maplestone took over in May 2001 and had considerable success with the band until he left in January 2004. This picture, with all the trophies won by the band, was taken at Walsall Town Hall just before the band performed a 'Golden Jubilee Last Night' concert, together with their guests, the choir from Park Hall Junior School, which was recorded live and is available under the title, 'Crown Imperial'.
2002 possibly became the most successful in the band's history in becoming Midlands Area Champions (First Section), 3rd place at the Senior Trophy British Open Championships Qualifying Contest, 3rd place out of 64 bands competing at the annual Delph Whit Friday March Contest, National Champion Band of Great Britain (First Section) and Wychavon Festival of Brass Entertainment Champions (First Section)!
In March 2004, under Guest Conductor Steve Bastable, the band were runners-up at the Midlands Area Contest, thereby qualifying once again for the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain, held at the Royal Albert Hall in October. At the British Open Qualifying set of Contests held at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool at the beginning of May, the band won the Senior Trophy Contest, guest conducted by John Hinckley, against 18 other top brass bands from all over the UK and with it promotion to the Senior Cup Contest in 2005! After the band's appearance at the Royal Albert Hall for the Besson National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain in October, two weeks later it won the Harry and Margaret Mortimer Championships at Pontins Prestayn for the first time in its history.
Into 2005, this success has continued - becoming runners-up at the Senior Cup Contest, part of the British Open Qualifying Contests, held in Blackpool in May under Steve Bastable - the Band was now one step away from the biggest contest in world brass banding - the British Open itself! In October, the Band retained its Harry and Margaret Mortimer Championships at Pontins, Prestatyn - only the second band in a decade to achieve this.
In 2006, the Band retained its Buxton Open Brass Band Champion title and came an unbelievable 3rd at the Grand Shield Contest in Blackpool in May - one step away from the most coveted brass band contest - the British Open Brass Band Championships at Symphony Hall in Birmingham in September.
2007 saw the Band win the Midlands Area Championships in March and with it an invitation to the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain at the Royal Albert Hall in October and the English National Championships in June 2008.