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Tickhill Jubilee Brass Band
At the beginning of the 19th century, brass bands had begun to flourish not only in large industrial areas, but also in smaller towns and villages where there was little in the way of entertainment. Tickhill's association with the brass band movement began in 1850, when some members of the Tickhill Troop of volunteers of the West Yorkshire Yeomanry Cavalry formed a band to play at local events. Sixteen years later, the Tickhill Victoria Brass Band, under the direction of Bandmaster, Thomas Watson, a barber of Westgate, gave its first concert at the 'Concert Room' on Northgate; it continued to perform for the next 20 years, until it 'disbanded' sometime between 1885 and 1886.
The following year, plans were underway in Tickhill to celebrate Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee, and a band was needed to perform at events during the two-days of celebrations. Despite advertising in the local area, no bands were available, however, the former members of Tickhill Victoria Brass Band agreed to play if the Local Government Board would provide the instruments - and so Tickhill Jubilee Brass Band was formed. The Jubilee was a huge success, the band, once again under the direction of Thomas Watson, led the parade and played at the sports and the evening dance.
Spurred on by this success, the band flourished, in 1890 it had fourteen members, however following internal problems, Joseph Percy, a tailor of Market Place, was elected Bandmaster; Thomas Watson went on to found the rival Tickhill United Band in 1892, but its success was short lived. The appointment of Charles Thomas Clarkson as Bandmaster in 1896 saw the beginning of his long association with Tickhill Jubilee Brass Band, which, with the exception of two short periods, lasted for the next 37 years. Social activities, in general, were temporarily suspended between 1914-1919 and this extended to band practices, which over the years had taken place in the Club Room at the Carpenter's Arms, the cycle shop on Castlegate opposite St Mary's Gate, a room behind Mr Alderson's shop on Sunderland Street and the warehouse to the rear of Clarkson's shop on Westgate.
Following the cessation of hostilities in 1919 the band regrouped and by the 1920s it could boast 27 members. Charles Clarkson retired in 1933, and his son, Joseph, a trombone player took over as Bandmaster until the outbreak of war in 1939, when the band 'disbanded'; sadly it never re-formed.
Over 52 years, Tickhill Jubilee Brass Band enjoyed continued success, playing at garden parties, fetes and flowers shows, church and chapel events, civic parades and Armistice Day, May Day, jubilees and coronation celebrations, and charitable events, such as Doncaster Infirmary Sunday Demonstrations, which raised money for the provision of Doncaster Infirmary before the introduction of the National Health Service. Tickhill did not, however, have 'first call' on their services; on May 12 1937, they played at the coronation celebrations at Hesley Hall, whilst Tickhill folk were entertained by Tickhill Boys' Club Jazz Band!
Some further information about Tickhill Bands by Den Stockley
The first record of a Tickhill based band refers to the Tickhill Troop Band - the band of an army troop based in Tickhill- parading in Doncaster during the celebration of Cavalry Week in 1850. A few years later the Tickhill Victoria Band was formed, giving it’s first concert in the “Concert Room” in Northgate in 1866 under the direction of a Mr Thomas Watson, a barber who lived in Westgate. This band continued until late ‘86 but was soon succeeded in 1887 with the formation of the Tickhill Jubilee Brass Band, which remained in active existence until the outbreak of World War 2.
In 1887 the Tickhill “Local Government Board” decided that though only a small town, Tickhill should organise it’s own celebration of the forthcoming jubilee of Queen Victoria. It spite of advertising for a brass band to play at events over the two days of the celebration, for the fee of £10.00, it became clear that all local bands had commitments to their own communities. Several previous members of the former Victoria Band proposed to the Board that if the Board would provide money to buy the instruments, the players would be found. This was agreed, - Doncaster Archives contain the minutes of the two Committee meetings which decided this - the Board purchasing most of the instruments but two cornets were purchased by Mr Wright, who lived at the Castle and by the local doctor, Dr G G Philips. This band of around 13 musicians, was conducted by the former conductor of the Victoria Band , Mr Watson. Though the instruments were not called in after the event, they remained the property of the town. One amusing minute states “Tom Clarkson persisted in soliciting funds for what he called a “Jubilee Side Drum” after he had been distinctly warned not to do so on two occasions. ....... the committee minutes show that it was” carried unanimously that the Chairman do call on the father requesting him to stop his son continuing the collection” !
The newly formed band gave worthy performances over the two days of the Jubilee celebration. It is interesting to note that the Jubilee Celebration was such a large event for such a small community to organise, that sub-committees of the Executive committee were formed, including a “Ham Committee”, a Finance Committee”, a “Meat Committee” and even a “Pudding Committee”. Sixty local ladies volunteered to make plum puddings for “The Treat“. More than1000 adults attended the special meal in a marquee 77yards long and 38ft wide. Residents of Wadworth, Stancil and Wellingly were also invited. On the second day over 800 children enjoyed a High Tea followed by sports in the afternoon.
Many concerts were played for charities, notably the “Infirmary Demonstrations” and in fact the first Saturday in May became known as “Infirmary Saturday” in Doncaster, when bands from all over the area led the processions. Parades and church services became regular engagements for the band, including “Hospital Egg Day” at the Methodist Church. The many venues at which the band played, particularly at Christmas, included the Castle, the Friary, Hesley Hall, Sandrock House, Tickhill House and Westgarth. They also played for the August bank Holiday Athletics Meeting and at the Wadworth May Day Celebrations. It is recalled that for King George’s Jubilee Celebration in 1935, the band “played all day from 6.30 am” !
Over the years the band used various Practice Rooms. These included, the warehouse behind Mr Clarkson’s Grocery Store in Westgate, behind Mr Alderson’s shop in Sunderland Street, and in the “Club Room” (now demolished) adjacent to the Carpenters Arms. This room became known as the “Band Room” though auctions were also held there. From there, the band moved to an upstairs room behind the Cycle Shop in Castle Gate, opposite St Mary’s Gate. (This room was later used by the Tickhill Conservatives.) Mr George Hodkin recalled a father and son from Firbeck taking over the Three Crowns public house. Both were brass players with the father being a brilliant cornet player, able to “triple tongue” with ease and hit impossibly high notes with no apparent effort. He was so good other players would stop to listen to him.
The band ran into difficulties when Mr Watson resigned “for various reasons” and formed his own band “The Tickhill United Band”. This band continued playing for several years, during which time the rivalry between the two bands was fierce. Two Clarkson brothers played with the Jubilee Band and in 1896, “Charlie” Thomas Clarkson was appointed Bandmaster. The Clarkson connection with the band was to last for the next 37 years.
One of Thomas Clarkson’s sons became an accomplished musician, playing a variety of instruments and founded a grocery business in Westgate. He built a warehouse behind the shop which was from then on used as a band practice room. A second son, Charles Thomas Clarkson, studied the theory of music and composed and arranged many pieces for the band. (He composed a hymn to be played at his funeral, but died before it could be played or titled. It was subsequently scored for full band by Captain Peter Sumner, MBE, was appropriately titled “Westgate” and was played at the Doncaster Annual Christmas Concert in 1994; all four of his grandchildren were there to hear it). Both his sons, Joseph and Terrence played in the band, the latter standing in as conductor during his fathers many illnesses. (A euphonium player in the band in it’s early years, had the unusual name of “Parry Godley“ who is buried in St Mary‘s churchyard. The name inscribed on the headstone is even more unusual; “Messiah Paris Godley” Mr Stockley’s research uncovered that he was born in Paris in 1871 at the end of the Franco-Prussian war. As government troops re-entered Paris on 24th May 1871, driving out and crushing the communists, “Parry” was born. His mother heard a choir in the square below their lodgings singing music from Handel’s “Messiah”. “Parry” had his full name, Messiah Paris Godley.) The numbers in the band varied, but by 1923, membership of the band had reached 27 players.
Joseph Godley was not only a talented trombonist but also played piano in yet another Tickhill Band, “The Imperial Dance Band” This band played for many dances around the area including in the Dance Hall above the Co-Op Buildings in Castlegate. Joseph was also the organist in the small church at Hesley Hall before and during the early war years.
After the war ended in 1945, in spite of much effort by Joseph Clarkson, and Charlie Winfrey, (Secretary and Treasurer for many years), the Jubilee Band never re-formed. The Clarkson tradition lived on however, with one of Joseph’s grandchildren, playing the cornet in the Western Band of the RAF. (The instruments of the Jubilee band had been stored in an outhouse at the Royal Oak pub where the landlord was a descendant of the Clarksons. However, when found, they had deteriorated beyond repair).