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St Just Silver Band
[an account from 1950]
The present St. Just Silver Band was formed during the 1939-45 war from the remaining members of the Old Town Band and St. Just Boys' Band, whose activities were brought to an end by call-ups and other stresses of war.
The old Town Band dated back to some years prior to the first world war and was known for its good work under the direction of Mr. W. J. Lawry. St. Just Boys' Band was formed after the first world war and, under the guidance of Mr. J. Marks, contributed its share to the musical life of the district.
It was difficult to get back to its former status after such a setback. This difficult period continued until the summer of last year (1949), when a meeting of Trustees and the band was called to decide whether or not to continue. Playing members had dwindled to a mere six or seven and the future of the band looked black.
At the meeting then held it was decided to invite the professional opinion of Mr. A. G. Richards, of Penzance. Within the short period of six weeks the band was re-established, membership grew to 21, and under the direction of Mr T. Richards, entered their first competition, and at Stenalees Band Contest won the two first prizes.
The band is now firmly established, with Mr. Richards as its permanent musical director. It is intended to enter all contests this year and the band is hoping to give programmes to the public in and around the district. The Trustees, supporters and band are determined to leave no stone unturned until the band has risen to the ranks of such as Camborne Town, Falmouth Town and St. Dennis Silver Bands.
THE OLD TOWN BAND
St. Just Old Town or Rifle Corps Band started when the 20th. Co. D.C.L.I. Volunteer Corps was formed in 1860. The first bandmaster was Mr. C. H. Smith, who was later followed by Mr. Henry Roberts, grandfather of the present solo horn player, Mr. W. J. Roberts. Mr Roberts emigrated to the U.S.A., and a Mr. Harry Nankervis was appointed bandmaster. Mr. Nankervis was a mine captain at Levant where, in 1889, he met with a fatal accident. The Band was then taken over by Mr. N. Andrews, solo cornet player, who in August 1898, went to America. Then followed as bandmaster, the euphonium player, Mr. Henry Andrews, a brother of Mr. N. Andrews. In 1905 or 1906, he also went to America, and the band was taken over by another player, Mr. Henry Watters, who had shortly to retire owing to ill-health. Then came yet another player, Mr. W. J. Davey, who carried on until 1908, when the Territorial Army was formed. During that period under review, the band numbered some 16 or 17 players, but it was always a hard job to carry on, on account of members, nearly all of them miners, emigrating to America or South Africa. The Band disbanded in 1908 on the formation of the Territorials, as most of the members refused to sign on under the new Order.
In 1910, the officer in charge of the Territorials found it difficult to get men on parades without a band to lead them, and he approached Mr. W. J. Lawry, offering him the use of the instruments and a room for rehearsals free, if he would form a band; the only condition was that they would attend parades with the Company when required. A few of the old members got together and an Independent band, with 15 members, was formed and was known as St. Just Old Town Band. This carried on, until the 1914-18 war, when for some time it disbanded. Late in November, 1918, the band started up with the earlier bandmaster, Mr. H. Andrews, but he lost his life in the Levant man-engine disaster in October, 1919. Mr. Lawry again took over as bandmaster and in 1925 a set of new and re-conditioned silver-plated instruments was obtained, and during the period 1928-1934, the band took part in several contests with a fair amount of success.
When war started again in 1939, matters were once again upset but, with the help of some members of St. Just Boys' Band, enough players were able to parade on such ceremonial occasions as they were required. In 1945 membership of both the Old Town and the Boys' Bands was very depleted and they agreed to unite and form one band, known as the St. Just Town Silver Band, with Mr. Lawry as bandmaster and Mr. James Marks as deputy; both Mr. Lawry and Mr. Marks resigned in September, 1949.
ST JUST BOYS' BAND
St Just Boys' Band was formed about 1860-1863, the first bandmaster being Mr. Thomas Williams, and the members mostly from Pendeen. In 1900, Mr John Williams took charge, resigning in 1904. On January 1, 1905, Mr. Marks was appointed bandmaster and led the Band until the Territorials were formed on April 1, 1908. The band kept, going as an independent one, and was named St. Just Town Band. When the 1914 war started, Mr. Marks, being mobilised, Mr. H. Andrews, deputy bandmaster, took charge and kept the depleted band going under difficult conditions. After the war, in May 1919, Mr. Marks formed St. Just Boys' Band, and in the following July played at the peace celebrations and one or two other engagements. In 1923-24 the Band made an appeal for funds to get new instruments and with the sale of old instruments acquired first-class plated instruments. The Band had a successful time and won many prizes at contests, notably at St. Ives, Helston, Penzance and Bugle.