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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.

Watford Band

The Beginning

Mr. J. Hutchinson started the band in 1894 in conjunction with Mr. A. Mead. Originally they had several estimates for second-hand instruments but no funds so they decided on the cheapest set and, being determined to make a start, each of the 32 members decided to buy his own instrument by paying 2 shillings per week to the Band and Instrument Fund. (Remember this was 1894 when the average wage of a tradesman was 16 shillings per week.) Thus the instruments were obtained but there was nowhere to practice. Mr J. Hutchinson invited members to his home, a few at a time, to learn the elementary rudiments of music and scales. After about 8 weeks he managed to get a practice room to play as "The Band"; shortly afterwhich it was marching around the streets playing. The band could only play two easy marches but it was out to collect subscriptions in order to buy more instruments.

The first name of the band was "The London and North Western Railway Band" (there is a reference to some members being employees of that company). After a while the band decided to go contesting but did not achieve success for a time until one day a Third Prize was gained.

The band engaged a professional conductor, Mr. Randolph Ryan from Kettering, and eventually won more Second and Third prizes but a "First" eluded them so it was decided to buy a new set of instruments. These were purchased from Besson and Company of Euston Road. It was also decided to change the name of the band and so it became the "Watford Artisan Silver Band".

Despite all efforts and rehearsal the band still could not get any further than second placing. Mr. W. Greenwood was subsequently appointed as professional conductor and he held the honour of conducting the band when they won their first "First" at a Gravesend contest. The members then decided to again change the name to the "Watford Silver Prize Band".

Mr. J. Hutchinson had by now a son in the band, Mr. R. Hutchinson who, after spells with the St. Albans Band and the world famous Besses O' The Barn Band later returned to become resident conductor in 1933. The founder retained a life-long association with the band (later in an advisory/elder statesman role) his aims having been rewarded with the winning of a major First Prize in 1922 at the Crystal Palace.

The Interlude

The Second World War brought disruption to many lives and organisations with men away in the Forces but the band survived despite changes in accommodation and name. The Minute books of this period have disappeared with the passing of time and addresses but it is known that the band had an association with the Home Guard, the British Legion and the United Ex-Service Men's Club. Records do show the band being known as "Watford United Ex-Service Men's Band" until reverting to the name "Watford Silver Band" in 1967.

The highlight of this era was the winning of the London and Home Counties Amateur Bands Championship in 1944 and 1946 under the direction of Mr. W. Greenwood.

They were known variously as the "Watford Silver Prize and British Legion Band", the "Watford United Ex-Servicemen's Band" and the "Watford Silver Band".

Until this time they had been entirely self-sufficient, receiving no grants or subsidies from the Local Authority or Arts Council, but in 1980 they attracted commercial sponsorship from the construction company Hosier and Dickinson, adopting the name "Hosier and Dickinson (Watford) Band".

Glen Miller's last appearance with the American Air Force Band was at the Bushey Hall, US Fighter Command Headquarters. The Band Club, which is part of the historic site now known as The Lincolnsfield Centre, was renovated by the band members themselves in 1979. The occupation of their own premises facilitated their rehearsal programme and allowed the development of a tutorial section for the coaching of young people and adult learners.

The Present

Skipping forward to 2003 sees the band under new direction with Martyn France taking the helm. Martyn comes to the band from Hemel Hempstead Band where he plays Euphonium and Trombone. Martyn's background in banding runs right through his family and their Salvation Army roots.

It was also in 2003 that Hosier & Dickinson went out of business and the band decided that we should change our name once again to reflect this unfortunate change in circumstances. The band are now known as Watford Band and are extremely grateful for the continued support of our President Geoffrey Hosier.