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Worksop Miners Welfare Band
A review of local history connects the band with many notable events in the life of Worksop. The ending of Wars, Royal visits to the area, Coronations and Royal Birthdays, together with Whitsuntide marches, Hospital 'Sunday' marches, and the lighting of the town by gas, were fortunately all well recorded and Bands inevitably get a mention in the history books and newspapers.
Unfortunately, the Worksop Guardian did not begin publication until the late 1880's, and so the amateur historian has to begin looking at events as recorded by the Worksop Journal other organisations like the Gas Company, and the Minutes of many other local organisations.
Amongst the most prominent of these are a number of Friendly Societies, who regularly held what they called 'demonstrations', not the type of march borne out of conflict as we might imagine today, but usually a Whit Monday 'demonstration' or a Hospital Sunday 'demonstration'. Many of these were well recorded both in the Worksop Journal and in diaries of local people.
Friendly Societies were voluntary organisations of working men, first formed during the Industrial Revolution in Great Britain, to insure their members against the hazards of industrial life. Weekly payments secured sick benefit when ill, small pensions on retirement and a lump sum for burial. Loans for house purchase were also made. The work of the Friendly Societies has now been largely taken over by the state.
Local Friendly Societies included:
The Old Abbey Club, The Wheat Sheaf Club, The Golden Ball Friendly Society, The Hearts of Oak Friendly Society, The Nottingham Sherwood Order of Oddfellows, The Provincial Provident Society
Cyril Bainbridge in his book 'Brass Triumphant' (Frederick Muller Ltd 1980) describes the origins of brass bands. 'The waits from which brass bands are descended have a history of at least 500 years. They were originally watchmen in palaces, castles and walled towns who, at intervals piped watch on a musical instrument to change guard, to raise the alarm, or to act as a human alarm clock to awaken dignatories by performing soft music outside their chamber doors.'
'Local records show that they were paid a fee or granted tenure of land for their services. It was a period in which there were large numbers of wandering minstrels and the waits jealously guarded their superior positions as employees of royalty, the nobility or municipalities.'
'An Act of Elizabeth I classed all wandering minstrels as 'rogues, vagabonds and sturdy beggars' and required itinerant musicians to wear cloaks and badges of their patrons to denote whom they served - the Ruritanian gold-braided uniforms of modern bandsmen are a legacy of those times.'
'Persecution caused many of the nomadic minstrels to settle down. They banded together in guilds to protect their interests and thus many waits were formed. Their duties were extended to assisting in the performance of medieval plays, by seranading notable visitors and playing along the routes of royal visitors -another ancient duty which is still performed by twentieth century bandsmen.'
Sir John Hawkins in his book 'A History of Music' 1776 gave further description of the waits. 'The musical performances with which the people in general were entertained at places of public resort distinguishing such as were calculated for the recreation of the vulgar. The performers hired to play in taverns were called waits. Their other duties were to parade the city at night, play on market days and any feast days.'
The waits were disbanded as a result of the Municipal Reform Act of 1835.
Visitors to Worksop have traditionally been entertained with style. According to Edwin Eddison in his book 'History of Worksop' published by S.Sissons in 1854, James 1st visited Worksop in 1603. He was on his way to London to ascend the English throne, and was entertained by the Earl of Shrewsbury at his Worksop seat [Worksop Manor]. At Worksop he 'hunted with huntsmen all in greene', was 'received with superfluitie, where every entertainment seemed to excell the other', and listened to 'soul-ravishing musique'.
The Celebration of Peace in 1814 after the Napoleonic War is mentioned in the Worksop Journal. (further detail required)
The Worksop Journal of June 4th 1856 records a previous celebration. On July 18th 1821 a procession took place to commemorate the coronation of George IV, and there is a quote from the diary of a Mr John Froggatt of Shireoaks Hall:-
'This day attended the procession from the Park Gates round the Common and Abbey to the Market Place, in commemoration of the coronation of George IV, when tables were set in the streets of Worksop, and 1,000 men and women dined on roast beef and plum pudding, and the men were allowed three quarts of ale and the women two quarts. A party of gentlemen dined at the Red Lion. The procession was formed as follows: Advance Guard of Yeomanry Cavalry, Clergy, Gentlemen of Worksop, Abbey School Boys 150, Charity Girls School 100, Band of Music, 600 men and women who had tickets for the dinner, Detachment of Cavalry, 600 men and women.'
We do not know whether this 'Band of Music' mentioned by Mr Froggatt was the Worksop Band or not, although it seems probable.
Arthur R.Taylor, in his book 'Brass Bands' (Granada Publishing 1979) says:
'In the Midlands, according to the minutes of the Worksop Gas Company, no less, the Worksop Band were present when town gas was first switched on in the streets on 16th August 1832. The band 'contributed greatly towards enlivening the gay scene by playing several popular airs in superior style'.'
Although 16th August 1832 is well established as documentary proof of its existence at that time, what we don't know is how much further back does it really go? It has to be acknowledged however, that no Band can claim to be a Brass Band before the 1830's because the system of valves had not been invented by Adolfe Sax, and many 'Bands' were in fact wind Bands comprising a variety of woodwind and brass instruments.
The purists would argue quite conclusively that the first real Brass Bands to adopt all valve instruments, with the exception of the trombone, were in Wales, not England. They were the Blaina and Pontybydyran (Conleys Ironworks) Bands, both re-organised and re-equipped in the year 1832, which is just about as early as you could get in order to have the benefit of the new cornopeans, forerunner of the valved cornet, the earliest of the valved instruments. The Blaina (Monmouthshire - now Gwent) Band was subsidised by Brown's Ironworks and the new brass instruments were brought over from Holland by one of the firms commercial travellers.
According to MIchael J.Jackson in "Victorian Worksop" (WA & LHS 1992) the coronation of Queen Victoria was celebrated by all manner of festivities on 28th June 1838. A "morning procession wound its way through the town, headed by flagbearers, the police and a Band." The procession also included the clergy, the organising committee, townspeople, the Society of Oddfellows, children from the National schools and 1200 poorer people who had been given tickets for a free dinner to be served at the tables set out along each side of Bridge Street. This was quite an event for a town which at that time had an estimated population of 6,000.
The end of the Crimean War in 1856 was marked by celebrations on My 29th, recorded in an article in the Worksop Journal in June 4th of that year (reprinted in the Worksop Guardian on 5th July 1919) A number of Bands took part in the procession but unfortunately none were named.
In 1856, there is a record of trains having travelled to Hull, for a Band Contest in the Zoological Gardens on Monday July 4th, among them being a train from Worksop. It seems likely that the Worksop Band entered that competition.
In 1860, there was the first published photograph showing the Worksop Band "after having been placed fourth in a competition at Belle Vue, Manchester." This is slightly incorrect as the competition in which the Worksop Band was placed fourth was the British Open Championship which took place at Belle Vue in 1857.
According to Arthur Taylor in "Brass Bands" (Granada 1979) this was the British Open Championship contest, when the test piece was "Il Travatore" (Verdi) together with one 'own choice' selection. The results were as follows:
1. Leeds (Smith's) (Richard Smith), 2. Dewsbury, 3. Todmorden, 4. Worksop
Between 1866 and 1871 band members included: Messrs W.Boult, W.Booth W.Lockwood (sergeant), C.Coupe (bandmaster), Jennings, Master Walter Lockwood, W.Lockwood, C.Dixon, Highfield, H.Townsend, Whitaker, Stinson and Sturton.
What is known is that many Friendly Societies, namely the Hearts of Oak Friendly Society and the Golden Ball Friendly Society were very active locally and often led the Whitsuntide processions to the Priory Church, accompanied by the Band. Another photograph said to date from 1870 shows Band players standing beneath a banner in Victoria Square.
This may well have been the event reported in the Worksop Guardian on July 15th 1871, when it reported on the annual festival held on the previous Monday (10th) of the various lodges of the Oddfellows. These lodges were connected with the Nottingham Sherwood Order of Oddfellows. The members of the Abbey Lodge No.131 assembled at the house of Mr Joseph Garside, the Priorswell Inn, where about 130 members had a substantial dinner. This lodge was established about 1843. The Lodge was headed by the Worksop Brass Band, who also played a programme of music in a tent. A presentation was made to Mr George Gregory for his services to the Band. This was in the form of a wooden Cornet Box made by Mr Townsend another member of the band.
In the book 'Victorian Worksop' by Michael J.Jackson (WA & LHS 1992) reference is made to Christmas Eve 1887, which describes the attempts by young men coming out of pubic houses to sing carols and hymns, who 'set about making the night hideous'. 'Greater harmony, however, prevailed at midnight when, in the Market Place, the Worksop Brass Band struck up 'Christians Awake!'. They followed this with several other appropriate pieces before marching to Victoria Square and repeating their programme.
The Salvation Army Bands
Chronologically, it is important to mention the Salvation Army Bands at this point in the narrative, as it is the Fry family of Salisbury, Wiltshire who are credited with being the first Salvation Army Band around 1878. This was the beginning of a long and distinguished tradition of Salvation Army banding. The Salvation Army continues to publish the weekly magazine The British Bandsman which began publication in 1887.
The Worksop Salvation Army Band continues to maintain this fine tradition under the baton of 'Shep' Coates. However, it wasn't always plain sailing. The Worksop Salvation Army Band caused a stir around the turn of the century, which resulted in a letter to the Editor of the Worksop Guardian complaining that the Salvation Army Band were playing too close to other religious establishments much to the annoyance of the correspondent.
A 'layman' wrote to the Editor deploring this practice, and asked the captain of that particular body to refrain from blowing their trumpets when passing near other religious establishments. In refering to another town, the correspondent said that orders had been given by the officer in charge that the band must not play when other services were being held. The 'layman' contended that if this plan was acted upon in Worksop, it would save many an uncomfortable and annoying shudder and some uncharitable writings. The writer lived in Park Street, and concluded his letter with the following: 'I do not pen this letter in an angry spirit of uninstitutely to the Army, as I believe they do some good.'
Captain Thomas of 38 Creswell Street replied saying that as far as he was aware, the band did not play near to other places of Worship when divine services were being held.
The Worksop Guardian reported on May 8th 1896, that the Worksop Band under the conductorship of Mr H.Pressley played in the Market Square and Victoria Square on alternate Wednesday evenings, where collection boxes were taken round in order to raise funds for the band.
In 1896 the Worksop Band provided its services on the occasion of the Priory Sunday School Annual Treat. The children and adults congregated on the Market Place at 1.00pm; fair weather prevailed after a cloudy morning and the band played some lively airs.
On September 4th 1896 the Worksop Band took part in the Clowne Hospital Sunday Demonstration, in which various Sunday Schools, Friendly Societies, and other local bands took part. In the evening each band played items in a concert. The Worksop Band rendered 'William Tell' and 'Il Travatore'.
The Worksop Guardian reported on Friday August 9th 1901 that ;the Worksop Band played in the grounds of the Conservative and Unionists Club, Bridge Place, Worksop.
Two band contests took place in Worksop in 1901 and 1903 promoted by Worksop Town Band. For the contest on 5th August 1901 the test piece was 'I Puritani' and the adjudicator Mr H.Barker. The winners were as follows:
1st Grimsby Borough Band Conductor Mr G.White £10, 2nd Creswell Colliery ' Mr W.Hind £6, 3rd Hucknall Excelsior ' Mr J.Cupit £4 , 4th Clowne Town Band ' Mr T.Grey £3
For the contest on 2nd June 1903, the test piece was 'Don Sebastino', and the adjudicator was Mr J.C.Shepherd. Eight bands competed.
1st Kingston Mills Conductor Mr H.Owen £20 + cup, 2nd Lindley ' Mr J.Gladney £12 + cornet, 3rd Pemberton Old ' Mr J.Gladney £5, 4th Rotherham Borough ' Mr A.Owen £3, 5th Lea Mills Prize ' Mr A.Owen £2
Unsuccessful bands were: Chesterfield Temperence, Rushden Temperance, Dannemora Steel Works (Sheffield), In the march contest, the winners were: 1st Lea Mills £3, 2nd Lindley £2, 3rd Rushden £1
Also in 1908 the Worksop Band took part in the Priory Sunday School Treat on the Plain Piece (now known as Bracebridge recreation ground). The children and adults congregated on the Market Place where the band played 'Onward Christian Soldiers'. The procession made its way to the Plain Piece via Sparken Hill. At that time the Band was 16 strong and the conductor was Mr H.Pressley. The children were given tea, after which they enjoyed themselves in games and races. Some of the adults danced to the music of the Town Band.
1910 was a busy year for the Worksop Band. The July 1st edition of the Worksop Guardian made reference to Empire Day Celebrations with Worksop Band in attendance.
On Friday July, the Worksop Guardian gave notice that the 8th Worksop Hospitals Demonstration would take place on the following Sunday and would include the Worksop Town Band and other local bands.
On Sunday July 10th 1910, the Worksop Victoria Hospital
Demonstration took place which included the Worksop Town Band, Dinnington Main Colliery Band, Shireoaks Prize Band and the Worksop Salvation Army Band.
On July 29th it was reported in the Worksop Guardian that Worksop Town Band took part in the annual Military Sunday, along with contingents of Worksop Old Soldiers, College Cadets and a rear guard of Old Soldiers. The Regimental Band of the Yeomanry under Bandmaster T.W.Renshaw, and the Battalion Band of the territorials under Bandmaster Boddice.
In November 1910, Worksop Old Soldiers held their annual Parade. Worksop Town Band led the way, the parade including a new band under the name of Steel & Garlands (Priory Foundry Band) and Shireoaks Colliery Band. This event was reported in the Worksop Guardian on November 18th, with a photograph of the procession passing the Town Hall. In the evening a social concert was given at the Gaiety Theatre, where Captain A.J.Melvyn Montague presided. Worksop Town Band performed under conductor Mr H.Pressley, along with the Priory Foundry Band under its conductor Mr E.Russon. Prizes were presented to the smartest bandsmen. Bandsman Wakefield (Priory Foundry Band) and Bandsman Craven (Shireoaks Band) and Bandsman W.Mills (Worksop Town Band) were the recipients.
In addition to new uniforms a number of new instruments were purchased through the generosity of the late Mr William Allen.
The Worksop Guardian reported on Friday 29th August that the 7th Annual Hospital Demonstration had taken place. There were various floats, banners, the Provincial Provident Society, Worksop Town Band, Shireoaks Colliery Band and Worksop Salvation Army Band, all taking part in the procession.
The Band 'disbanded' during the first World War, during which many musicians were on active service. Three members of the Band did not return, having been killed in action. They were Charles Redfern, James Ratcliffe, and Walter Malkin.
Worksop Guardian - Friday September 17th 1915
"THE GREAT SACRIFICE - Local men killed and wounded
Drummer Malkin, Worksop, Killed
Old soldier's gallant end
Among the brave who have fallen in the fierce fighting at the Dardenelles is Drummer Walter Malkin, 9th Sherwood Forresters, of 32 Abbey Steet, Worksop, and son of Mrs Malkin of Thorpe Hesley, Near Rotherham, and brother of Sgnt. Malkin of the Worksop Territorials. Drummer Malkin had an adventurous career. He had long served as a soldier and was a time-expired man, when he rejoined to fight against the brutal Germans. Worksop people will remember him best by reason of his association with the old Town Band, of which organisation he was, as drummer, a most picturesque and useful asset.
It was a spectacle worth seeing to witness him marching along, with the big drum slung in front of him, and swinging his sticks in masterly fashion. As a drummer he knew his business as well as any drum-major in the Army." Walter Malkin was killed in action on August 4th.
The ending of the Great War in 1918 was followed by annual Peace Day celebrations. The 1919 celebration (reported in the Worksop Guardian on 25th July 1919, makes the following reference:
"As it was the men who fought for us played a prominent part in the days events, the programme commencing with a very successful parade. Headed by the newly-formed Town Band, under Mr H.Pressley senior…"
At Crystal Palace in 1921 the Band was placed 12th out of 21 contestants.
In 1922 new instruments were purchased costing £484. The President Mr C.A.Longbottam gave £50 and lent them another £50 towards the first instalment of £200.
Under the leadership of Mr T.H.Bell who took over the baton in 1920, the Band joined the Sheffield Brass Band Association in 1923. The Band then won two first prizes at Sheffield and the Taylor Cup; first and second prizes at Lincoln, and 3rd at the Palace again out of 29 contestants.
In 1924 the Band won 3rd and 2nd at Sheffield contests, and in 1925 under the baton of Mr Clyde Pressley, the band won at Ripley Rotherham and Sheffield.
The Band was then promoted from Section C to Section B of the Sheffield Bands Association, and in the late 1920's won at most of the festivals in the neighbourhood, as well as at Sheffield, Pleasley, Doncaster and Gainsbrough. It is reported that on more than one occasion the Band held its own against bands competing in section A.
This hectic period of contesting accounts for the trophies now in the Band's possession, two of which were presented by local firms for competition in Worksop.
Success in competition was also reflected in a change of name to Worksop Silver Prize Band but the storm clouds were gathering over the future of the band. 1927 saw a flurry of correspondence with the Worksop Guardian over the cost of servicing a loan taken out in 1922 for the purchase of new instruments and an outstanding debt of £120 + 5% pa.
On Friday 29th April 1927, the Worksop Guardian printed the following letter:
"Dear Sir, I see by the advertisement in the Guardian that the famous Creswell Colliery Band is coming to Worksop on Sunday May 8th, to give two sacred concerts on the cricket ground. To all lovers of music, this should be a great musical treat.
“The hundreds of prizes and trophies the band has won, stamp them one of the best bands in the land, and one who has attended the contests at Crystal Palace several times during the last 21 years.
“I understand the engagement will entail considerable expense but the figure I have had quoted to me seems a very reasonable one for such a talented band, and shows that they are prepared to do their best to help a neighbouring band. Also we cannot forget that they have given their services free to help the Victoria Hospital and the outing fund at Kilton for the old folks.
“The remark has often been made in my hearing that Worksop is not musical, but the facts speak for themselves. The attendance when Creswell Band was at the Miners Welfare Show a few weeks ago, the brilliant success of the North Notts Musical Competitions and the Concert given by Mr Hill and his Orchestra and the Worksop Artistes in the Picture House, speak for themselves, and I know they were much appreciated. Neither do I forget the first contest held by the Town Band, since its re-organisation, when lots of people sat for hours to listen to a repetition of the selection by several bands competing. I say give the Worksop people the right stuff and they will support it.
"I understand the Worksop band are making special efforts to wipe out the debt on their new instruments this year, and are working very hard in that direction. It is up to us who love music to assist them in their efforts by our attendance at concerts and by our subscriptions when possible and I trust that when they are cleared of their debts, they will use their efforts to try to get together a band which will eventually compete in the same class as Creswell. This can be done if the people of Worksop and district will give their support. I trust the weather will be favourable and that the public will turn up in their thousands if only as an appreciation of the Creswell Band, for the many sacrifices they have made for charities in Worksop, and also a reward for the untiring efforts which are being made by the officials of the Town Band"
Yours faithfully G.Sharp
By way of reply, the Worksop Guardian printed a follow-up letter on the following Friday, 6th May, 1927
Dear Sir, Having read in the Guardian a letter signed by 'G.Sharp' last week, I would like to reply through your valuable newspaper. My sincere thanks to the writer of that letter, it gives be great pleasure to know that Worksop has people with real sporting spirit.
There is not the slightest doubt that give Worksop people the goods and they will support it to the utmost, and that is one of the efforts of the Worksop Town Prize Band - to give the people a chance of hearing a band that ranks with the best bands in Great Britain. We have appealed several times to the public to help us wipe off the debt on our instruments, which is holding us back. This done, we shall be able to extend our efforts in the brass band world. It is up to the public of Worksop and district to give Creswell Prize Band a real good welcome to both afternoon and evening concerts. Do as 'G.Sharp' says, come in thousands, support our efforts land hear music as it should be played.
Yours truly, M.E.Dixon (Secretary)
The following advertisement appeared in the Worksop Guardian of Friday April 29th 1927:
"Worksop Silver Prize Band - Instrument Fund. Great attraction. Two Sacred Concerts by the Creswell Colliery Institute Prize Band on Sunday May 8th 1927 on the Cricket Ground Worksop at 2.45pm and 7.45pm. Admission 1/- & 6d
Another letter was printed in the Worksop Guardian on May 13th 1927: "Creswell Colliery Institute Prize Band concerts on the Cricket Ground Worksop in aid of the Worksop Town Band. In view of the wide popularity of the noted Creswell Colliery Institute Prize Band, and the enthusiasm which has always greeted their visits to the town, it was most surprising that the concerts given by the Band on the Cricket Ground on Sunday did not attract larger crowds. The weather was beautiful, both in the morning and in the evening, and under the direction of Mr David Aspinall, the band provided two delightful concerts - a musical treat which fully justified an audience of many 100's. The concerts were promoted by the Worksop Town band in aid of their instrument fund, and it must be disappointing to them that the public did not show greater appreciation of their enterprise.
"The audience in the afternoon was particularly disappointing. This does not mean however that there was any distraction from the music provided. A feature of both concerts was the tasteful variety of items, and the pleasing opportunities given to all the instrumentalists. The noted lightening trombonists Mr Arthur Smith and Mr Peter Fearnley the noted Cornet Soloist, each gave two solo's in the afternoon and Master Joe Farrington (Britains greatest boy Cornet Soloist, and Mr Frank Webb, the renowned Euphonium soloist adding to the excellence of the evening programme. The Band contributed a matter of 10 items in each programme, and justly roused unstinted applause. In the evening they played "Macbeth" arranged by Dr Keighly, the test piece on which they won the Bell Vue Championship, including a £2,000 Gold Shield and a 50 guineas Trophy and £150 cash prize."
A further letter to the Worksop Guardian on May 20th 1927 from the organising secretary of the band Mr E.Dixon reads as follows:
Dear Sir, I shall be more than obliged if you will spare me space once again in your valuable paper. What I really want is the public of Worksop and district to know the exact financial position of the Town Band to date. It is now five years since it purchased a new set of instruments on, in the true sense of the word, the easy payments system. At present we owe the firm £120 with a %5 interest per annum added. The Committee and bandsmen readily agree that we have not paid our account as it should have been paid, as per our agreement. This being a Colliery Town, we had a great setback last year 1926, owing to the Coal Dispute, and I can safely say, the Band did all they could in their playing, to help the Children's Feeding Fund, free of charge. Accordingly I feel sure that no one in Worksop would like the Town Band to surrender their instruments, owing to not being able to meet the payments, and no-one can say the Band and Committee have not endeavoured to reduce that account by Whist Drives, Dances etc. We even went to the expense of engaging the famous Creswell Colliery Institute Band for two concerts, but unfortunately these were not successful.
Since our balance sheets have been sent our, we have had a good response to our appeal. Below I give a list of subscribers and I shall be more than grateful for every penny subscribed to the Band, as our aim is to clear the debt off by the end of 1927.
List of subscribers since January 21st 1927:
Mr J.T.Shardlow £5-5-0
His Grace the Duke of Newcastle £3-0-0
Mr L.H.Allen £1-1-0
Worksop & Retford Brewers £2-0-0
Councillor T.Fullard £1-0-0
Councillor J.White 10-0
Mr F.Lawman 10-0
Messrs F.Atherton, C.V.Berry, F.C.Wellacott, W.Knowles, J.Haslam, H.A.Borrowdale, E.J.Ellis, J.H.Storey, R.T.North, F.W.Welham, A.W.Kirkham all 5/- each. Mr A.Kelley 3/- Messrs J.H.Woodhall, A.Friend, J.H.Smith, C.Godfrey, E.J.White, J.Morrison, W.Gunn, H.Wilkinson, D,Stacey, A.Tank, W.E.Parkin, W.E.Grimshaw all 2/6d each. Messrs G.Warnick, E.Lane, H.Smith, F.E.Black, J.W.Freeman, A.Hunt, J.Stringfellow & Mrs Wilkinson 2/- each. Messrs J.Callaghan, G.Laws, A.Kettingham, H.Ellis 1/- each.
If any Lady or Gentleman would like a balance sheet of the year ending 1926 I shall be pleased to let them have one by applying at the address below, or to Mr F.Handley, Band Secretary, Bridge Street, or Mr G.Lee, 46, Church Walk.
E.Dixon Organising Secretary 10, Welbeck Street.
The situation was clearly resolved in due course and Messrs Boosey and Hawke's account cleared. The crisis also encouraged the Band to appoint trustees to secure the future of its assets, and a legal document was drawn up which remains in force today, requiring the Band to appoint succeeding trustees for that purpose.
On Sunday evening June 5th an open air concert was given by the Worksop Town Band in a field at Woodend, kindly lent by Mr W.Martin. There were collections for band funds and for the Rhodesia Prize Jazz Band Fund.
The Worksop Manor Fete on Whit Monday June 6th 1927 was attended by Worksop Town Silver Prize Band.
On July 30th 1927, the third Annual Brass Band Contest took place in Worksop promoted by the Band. At the time the General Secretary was Mr F.Handley and the Organising Secretary Mr E.Dixon. Thanks were expressed for additional subscriptions to the instrument fund. In addition to the amount previously acknowledged £19-16-6 further amounts had been received from:-
Councillor F.S.Dobbs 10/6d, Mr Woodward 10/-, Messrs G.Tomlinson, B.Wind, A.L.Toyne & Dr A.R.White 5/- each. Messrs Varley, Haywood & Raynor 2/6d.
Between 1925 and 1927 three Annual Brass Band contests were held in Worksop, promoted by the Worksop Silver Prize Band. It was during this period that three more trophies came into the Band's possession.
On 20th March 1931, at the North Notts Music Festival the Worksop Borough Silver Prize Band entered three quartets in the open section with an own choice of music, and the results were as follows:
Worksop Town Band "A" quartet, 90 points, Worksop Town Band "C" quartet, 89 points, Worksop Town Band "B" quartet, 83 points
All the quartets were conducted by Mr Clyde Pressley.
On May 1st the Worksop Guardian reported that the Worksop Borough Silver Prize Band were amongst the competitors who had entered the Manchester Belle Vue contest the following day, Saturday 2nd, and that on the same evening (Friday) they were to play their test piece at the second performance at the Pavilion Theatre.
On Sunday May 3rd the band gave an open air concert in the Market Place conducted by Mr Clyde Pressley.
At the Committee Meeting of "Worksop Silver Prize Band" on August 5th 1931 it was resolved "that the resignation of Mr R.Allison be accepted with regret and that a letter of thanks be sent to Mr Allison in recognition of long and valuable service to the Band of over 40 years." The meeting was also attended by Messrs A.Allison, T.Allison and H.Allison.
The same meeting agreed for the Chairman Mr Sam Martin to interview a Mr R.Allison Junr re becoming a member of the Band. This provides a classic example of how families become involved in brass banding, there being up to five members of the Allison family involved at this time in its history.
It was further resolved "that every Bandsman be notified to be at the French Horn Hotel on August 9th to be measured for uniform."
It was also resolved that "best of thanks be accorded to Mr G.Raynes and Mr W.Finch for their willingness to be bandsmen for £50.0.0 each to the National Bank to enable the Band to obtain new uniforms."
At the committee meeting on August 19th 1931 it was resolved "that the action of the Chairman, Secretary and Financial Secretary be confirmed re uniforms from Messrs Boosey and Hawkes re price etc be accepted as satisfactory."
Twelve days later, and no doubt with a degree of urgency in view of the impending Charter Day celebrations the new uniforms had arrived. The committee meeting on August 31st resolved "that a letter of appreciation be sent to Boosey and Hawkes regarding uniforms as to quality, fitting and time in turning out same."
At the Committee Meeting on 1st February 1932 it was resolved "that the Band Stamp be changed and that a new one be purchased with new name Worksop Borough Silver Prize Band" Clearly this was a reflection of the granting of the Worksop Charter in 1931, where the band decided that the change in name brought a closer association with the local authority of the day.
The generosity of Messrs Raynes and Finch in funding uniforms in 1931, was recognised seven years later when they appeared on the letterhead as President and Vice-President respectively.
Prior to this the band was called Worksop Silver Prize Band, but by 1949 the 'silver prize' had been dropped and the title changed to "Worksop Borough Band". By then the headquarters were the British Legion on Westgate; the Chairman was Mr E.Booth and the conductor Mr H.Dunwell. The Balance Sheet for that year makes reference to the need to purchase instruments, as the last major acquisition was 27 years previously in 1922.
In October 1931, under the conductorship of Mr Clyde Pressley, the Worksop Borough Band figured prominently in the Charter Day celebrations.
In 1932 the Band won the Daily Mirror Challenge Cup at Crystal Palace. Under the conductorship of Clyde Pressley the Worksop Borough Band competed in section 4, junior B contest. There were 24 other bands competing in the same section. Another local band Shirebrook competed in the same section, although the results are not known.
The Worksop Guardian reported on 15th November 1935, that the Worksop Borough Band had led the Armistice Parade the previous Sunday, 10th November, 1935. "The observance of Armistice Sunday was most impressive in Worksop". The assembly took place in the Station Yard and the parade marched to Newcastle Street Methodist Church in the following order; the Police, the Worksop Borough Silver Prize Band, the Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry, the 8th Sherwood Foresters, the St.John Ambulance Brigade, British Legion Branches, Aldermen, Councillors and staff of the Borough, officers of the Victoria Hospital Committee, members of the Friendly Societies, the Boys Brigade, Scouts and Girl Guides.
In May 1938, the Worksop Borough Band entered the contest at Belle Vue Zoological Gardens, and won 2nd prize in Group C, Group 2. In July of the same year they entered another contest and won fifth prize in Class B. Also in 1938 the band entered the first Butlin's Brass Band Festival at Skegness on September 10th and gained Ist prize in the Third Section. The Adjudicator was Mr Frank Wright.
The Band also played at Butlin's second Annual Brass Festival at Skegness on 17th July, 1939. The test piece was "Fidelio" (Beethoven), the conductor was Mr Clyde Pressley, and the adjudicator Mr H.Bennettt.
In 1941 the band moved from the British Legion Club on Westgate to the Club Room at the Swan Inn on Castle Street, and by that time had dropped the "silver prize" from its title, and was thereafter known as the Worksop Borough Band.
The Stalingrad Concerts
When Germany broke its non-aggression pact with Russia in June 1941 and invaded under operation Barbarossa, Russia became an ally of Britain and other nations in the fight against Nazi Germany.
By January 1943, the siege of Leningrad was broken by the Red Army and Stalingrad was liberated by surrender of the German 6th Army.
In an effort to support our allies in Russia, many British towns raised funds to help repair the devastation left in the wake of German occupation. There was the Worksop Committee for Furthering Anglo-Soviet Friendship.
On 20th June 1943, Worksop Borough Silver Prize Band performed a concert on that Sunday evening, to raise funds for the Stalingrad Memorial Hospital Fund. The amount raised came to £9.10s.0d. Not a huge amount by today's standards, but that sum would have been a week's wages to many in 1943.
On 20th August 1943, the Worksop Committee for Furthering Anglo-Soviet Friendship decided to proceed with plans to adopt the Soviet town of Stalinogorsk, "which in many respects parallels Worksop"
On August 29th 1943 there was a Parade and Public Demonstration of support for Soviet Allies. The parade was from the LNER Railway Station to Worksop Town Hall. Worksop Town Band and Firbeck Main Colliery Band were involved. For the demonstration at Worksop Town Hall, the Worksop Band played a selection of Russian airs at the Market Square. A greetings telegram was sent to the people of Stalinogorsk from the citizens of Worksop Borough.
Another concert was held in aid of the same fund on 25th June 1944, announced in the Worksop Guardian newspaper on 23rd June.
"TO COMMEMORATE THE THIRD ANNIVERSARY OF THE ANGLO-SOVIET ALLIANCE A BAND CONCERT will be given in the MEMORIAL GARDENS, WORKSOP 7.30p.m. SUNDAY NEXT, June 25th. Organised by the Worksop Borough Silver Prize Band, in association with the WORKSOP COMMITTEE FOR FURTHERING ANGLO-SOVIET FRIENDSHIP. A collection will be taken for Aid to Russia Funds"
Like many other bands at the time, there was a shortage of players, many of whom were on active service. The minutes show that the assistance of Creswell Colliery Band during this period was clearly acknowledged. Stalingrad is now known as Volgograd.
The Panorama Museum Volgograd (Stalingrad)
Recent discussion via e-mail with Dmitry Belov, Senior Scientific Officer at the museum, has revealed further information about funding from the UK during this period.
The museum charts the history of "The Battle of Stalingrad", and the archives reveal two albums of data relating to the Stalingrad Hospital Fund, listing the towns and villages, citizens, organisations, trade unions and Anglo-Soviet Committees who sent money to the Hospital Fund, and those who donated wards and beds. Money was received from some 290 towns and villages in the UK.
Dmitry believes the idea for setting up the Stalingrad Hospital Fund was discussed at a meeting between the then Soviet Ambassador J.M.Minsky and Anthony Eden.
On 4th May 1943 at a meeting of the Joint Committee for Soviet Aid, the Chairman, the Rt Revd Hewlett Johnson, Dean of Canterbury, stated that the aim of the committee was to organise the collection of donations to provide a hospital in Stalingrad with 500 beds. At the time one bed cost £150.00 and a ward with 10 beds £1500.00. The aim of the fund was to raise a total of £75,000, but in the end it raised £223,837, which was enough for three hospitals.
The other members of the Joint Committee for Soviet Aid included: (Vice-Chairman) Mrs D.N.Pritt, (Hon Treasurer) Sir Peter Chalmers Mitchell, CBE, FRS, (Hon Medical Advisor) The Lord Horder, GCVO, (Chairman of the Executive Commitee) A.T.D'eye, MA, Lady R.MacRobert,(Chairman of the Comforts Committee) Mrs Henry Martin, (Secretary) Mrs B.Rothman.
The Executive Committee included: D.Brown, C.E.Fearn, Mrs Oscar Kleeman, Miss Judith Todd, E.N.Brown, Mrs Ursula Goldfinger, J.Lonsdale, Miss Moira Turner, Mrs Isabel Brown, Mrs Beatrice King, W.J.R.Squance, Dr T.Gourlande, Mrs Carmel Haden Guest and Albert Inkpin.
The first donation of £5,000 was sent from the National Union of Mineworkers, and there is a record of a donation from the crew of a submarine. Pupils from the Oxford School of Art designed posters for the Stalingrad Hospital Fund. In the museum there is an interesting memorial tablet from Wales.
"To the Glory of God and as a tribute to the steel-hearted defenders of Stalingrad the memory of whose unflinching bravery will live forever. This ward has been presented by the people of Neath Borough and Neath Rural District, West Wales, Great Britain, 1944"
Of all the funding organisations, the largest in terms of funds raised was the Aid to Russia Fund, headed by Clementine Churchill, who visited Stalingrad on 15th April 1945. In Moscow she was awarded the Red Banner Order of Labour.
In April 2002, the Council of Volgograd presented Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother with the title "Honorary Citizen of the Hero-City Volgograd", in recognition of her help to Stalingrad during the war years.
At the end of the Second World War, the Worksop Borough Band performed as part of the Victory Day celebrations in Worksop.
The Worksop Band became one of the founder members of the North East Midlands Brass Band Association, formed in 1946, and remains a member to this day.
Also in 1946 the Worksop Borough Band played "Songs of England" at the National League of Bands Association Festival at De Montfort Hall, Leicester, when the adjudicator was Mr J.A.Greenwood.
The Worksop Guardian reported in 1947 that "it is some years now, since a brass band contest was held in Worksop, and considerable interest was taken in the competition which was held in the grounds of the British Legion Club, Westgate." The contest was arranged by the North East Midlands Brass Band Association, and was the first to be organised by what was then a newly formed Association. The test piece was "Recollections of Mendlesohn", and the adjudicator Mr G.Hespe of Sheffield. The results were as follows:
First Section Ist Prize: Grantham Town, Conductor Mr H.G.Sale, 2nd Oremonde Colliery, Conductor Mr J.Webster, 3rd Stanton Ironworks, Conductor Mr H.Ball, 4th Huthwaite Prize, Conductor Mr C.A.Cooper
Second Section : 1st Prize Worksop Borough, Conductor Mr N.Brown, 2nd Teversal Colliery, Conductor Mr S.Smith, 3rd Killamarsh, Conductor Mr C.Shimwell, Mansfield Borough, Conductor Mr M.---, Shirebrook C.W., Conductor Mr J.Brotherhood, Pleasley C.W., Conductor Mr Wm.Coupe, Langwith C.W., Conductor --------
In 1949 re-conditioned jackets and trousers were purchased at a cost of £202.18s.6d. At the 1950 Annual General Meeting held on 27th January at the British Legion Club on Westgate, it was reported that the Income for the year had been £432.9.11 and the expenditure £350.16.6. The retiring Chairman was Mr W.J.Lindley, the elected Chairman was Mr C.Brooks, Vice-Chairman Mr G.Outlow, Conductor Mr C.Pressley, Assistant Conductor and General Secretary Mr H.Dunwell. It was further stated that a learners class had been started with a Mr William Bend in charge.
In 1951 W.Lindley was honoured by the National Brass Band Club by the award of a certificate of Honorary Life Membership for over 50 years service to the Brass Band movement. It is interesting to note that the certificate is signed by the legendary Harry Mortimer, who at the time was its President, and who died in 1992.
On the death of His Majesty King George VI, the Worksop Borough Band was engaged to play on the day (Friday 8th February 1952) when the Mayor of Worksop read the Royal Proclamation of the Accession to the Throne of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The ceremony took place in the Market Place and the band played a fanfare, "Abide with me" and the "National Anthem". The Band's expenses amounting to £41.2s.6d. were paid by Worksop Corporation.
On Coronation Day, Wednesday May 12th 1952, Worksop Borough Band were again engaged along with Shireoaks Colliery Band to play Dance music on the Cricket Ground until about 9.30pm.
In March 1959, the band purchased 24 Blazers and badges from Worksop Co-operative Society Ltd, Eastgate, for £230.15s.6d.
Having been secretary for some years Herbert Dunwell took over as conductor when the Band became Worksop Miners Welfare Band in the early 1960's. Mr Dunwell Had previously conducted the LMR Band at Sheffield. Worksop Miners Welfare Band competed in 1962 at the Thoresby Miners Welfare Hall in the North East Midlands Brass Band Association contest. They competed in Section 2, for which the test piece was "La Traviata", thirteen bands competed and the adjudicator was Mr J.R.Major.
Also in 1962 Worksop Miners Welfare Band was placed third at the Chesterfield contest. It also competed in the North East Midlands Brass Band Association contest at Thoresby Welfare. This was on 18th November, when the test piece was "Il Travatore" (Verdi)
Under the conductorship of Mr H.Dunwell, the band took part in another contest when the test piece was "Little Suite for Brass" by Malcom Arnold. This was on 3rd March 1968. The band competed in the Third Section against nine competitors and the adjudicator was Mr W.A.Scholes.
On 5th March 1978 at Sheffield City Hall, the band again competed in the Yorkshire Welfare Committee of the Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation 29th Annual Brass Band Festival. The Band competed in the Third Section under the conductorship of Mr K.Morgan. The test piece was "Call of the Sea" by Eric Ball and the adjudicator was Mr E.Denton.
In the late 1980's a German Band sub-group was formed known as “Die Munchen Muncheners Spasskapellar”, undertaking engagements from a repertoire of German Bierkeller music brought in by the then MD Tony Dowd (former bandsman with the Royal Green Jackets) who had served in Germany. This sub-group still performs today.
In 1993 the band was fortunate in acquiring a set of quilted waterproofs, funded by the Chairman of Bassetlaw District Council's Annual Appeal fund.
In 1998 after adopting a new Constitution, the Charity Commissioners granted the Band Charitable Status (Registered Charity No 1069527)
Reg Alletson, who had been Band Secretary for 36 years stepped down as Secretary to become Band Librarian in March 1998, and Richard Chapman took on the role of Secretary.
At the Basetlaw Chairman's Charity Concert in February 1999, Solo Cornet Player Tony Beech and First Cornet Player John Raynor also received Long Service Awards.
Between 1995 and 1999, the Band was fortunate to receive grants from several sources, enabling not only purchase of the music stand banners, but also a full range of waterproofs for outdoor engagements (Bassetlaw District Council), uniforms for young players (Focus on Young People in Bassetlaw, Charity on Wheels and Bassetlaw Disrict Council), leather music folders (Stones Brewery), and financing for a replacement euphonium (Bassetlaw District Council)
Now, as a band concentrating its efforts on entertainment rather than contesting, the band goes further afield, and has performed twice at Peasholm Park, Scarborough in 2000 and 2001. Both were successful events and a good day out for the band.
Other Bands in the Worksop area from 1856
The Worksop Journal reported that on Whit Monday 1856, when three Friendly Societies formed a procession, three Bands took part. After the procession to the Parish Church and Divine Service, they dined at various hostelries. The Old Abbey Club dined at the Corn Exchange where Mr Marshall of the Greyhound Inn catered for 240 persons. The Mosbro' Band attended and played appropriate airs after each toast. The Golden Ball Friendly Society dined in their large room.... and the Sherwood Rangers Band contributed to the pleasure of the day. The Wheat Sheaf Club dined at the club room of the Wheat Sheaf Inn, and the Sutton Brass Band very much delighted the Society with their performances.
1871 was a busy year for the Band of the Worksop Rifle Volunteers. In the 20th May edition of the Worksop, Retford and Gainsborough Times, it was reported that the 2nd detachment of the 7th Hussars arrived in Worksop, en route from York to Aldershot. They arrived in Worksop on the Saturday and stayed until Sunday. At 10.00am they paraded in front of the Corn Exchange and marched off to the Abbey Church. The Band of the Worksop Rifle Volunteers kindly lent their services.
On June 3rd of the same year, the Whit Monday processions were headed by three Benefit Societies. The Golden Ball Club was headed by the Band of the Worksop Rifle Volunteers, and on reaching Wheat Sheaf, the Wheat Sheaf Club fell in and was headed by the Harthill Band. Subsequently both Clubs joined the Abbey Sick and Friendly Society, the whole forming an interesting procession, and were marched to the Abbey Church where a very appropriate service was preached by the Reverend E.Hawley.
In 1878 upwards of 100 men and horses of the 20th Hussars arrived in Worksop from Mansfield on their way to Leeds. As they marched into Worksop, the music of their excellent band heralded their arrival. They drew up in front of the Lion Hotel, and the men were despatched to their various Billets. The officers stayed at the Lion Hotel, and in the evening a large group congregated outside the officers mess, expecting the band to provide some entertaining music, as was the usual custom. On this occasion they were disappointed. It was later understood that the officers had been entertained by a Worksop gentleman, and the services of the band was utilised to entertain the officers. At about 6.00am on Tuesday morning, the men mustered outside the Lion Hotel, and shortly afterwards started for Doncaster, the band playing them out of town.
It was reported in the Worksop Guardian of May 8th 1896 that members of the 4th Nottingham Rifle Volunteers held their annual Volunteer Church Parade at the Priory Church. The Battalion Band comprising some 22 performers, under the direction of Bandmaster Belcher headed the procession. In the afternoon the band played a selection in the Marker Square.
Another band in Worksop was Steel and Garland Priory Foundry Band, whose conductor was Mr E.Russon. On November 18th 1910, the Worksop Old Soldiers Association held their Annual Church Parade, and the Priory Foundry Band took part in the procession, along with the Worksop Town Band and Shireoaks Band. In the evening a concert was given at the Gaiety Theatre. The Priory Foundry Band played selections. Brandman Craven of the Priory Foundry Band received first prize for the smartest Bandsman.
During the same period there was a Druids Church Parade at Worksop. The Smith Pride Lodge of the Sheffield Equalised Independent Druids whose headquarters were at the Market Hotel, held its annual demonstration on Sunday on a large scale. The members numbered 160, they gathered at the Hotel and, headed by the Handsworth Woodhouse Prize Band paraded the streets. They proceeded along Bridge Place, Eastgate, Priorswell Road, Potter Street to the United Free Methodist Church. After the church service the procession continued through Bridge Street, Westgate, Norfolk Street and Newcastle Avenue to the cricket ground, where the Handsworth Woodhouse Band gave a concert, which included such items as:
March - The Roman, Selection per Astra Fideles - Mayerbeer (with cornet solo), Variations - played by Mr E.Trout, Selection "Comfort ye my people" - Handel, Selection "Kyrie & Gloria" unknown composer
It was mentioned that the band had taken part in four contests that year and had won 5 prizes.
Indeed, on the previous Saturday the Handsworth Band had won 2nd prize at Pleasley in the 'selection' and Mr E.Trout won a silver medal for the best cornet player in the test piece. Much of the success of the band was attributed to the conductor Mr J.W.Coupe. There was a further parade at 5.15pm which proceeded via Bridge Place, Potter Street on to the cricket ground, where the band gave another concert. The programme included the following items:
March - The Cornet, Selection - Warce - R.Smith, Selection - Lucretia Borgia - H.Round, Selection - Trill the Lark - Metcalf, Selection - Mozart - H.Round, March - George the Fire - R.Smith
In 1901 the Worksop Guardian reported on Friday June 7th that the 7th Yeomanry Band under bandmaster H.Holmes was out for the Sunday Church Parade. The men numbered 300 and were inspected by Lord Galway. On July 18th of the same year the Worksop Guardian reported that at Osberton Gardens Mr Paske and his Yeomanry Band provided a musical treat.
On 29th July 1910, the Regimental Band of the Yeomanry played in Worksop under Bandmaster T.W.Renshaw, together with the Battalion Band of the Territorials under Bandmaster Boddice.
Worksop Bands which no longer exist
The previous pages make reference to several Worksop and district Bands which no longer exist:
The Band of the Worksop Rifle Volunteers
The Steel and Garland Priory Foundry Band
The Sherwood Rangers Band
Bands which have formed, disappeared and survived since 1831
Distribution of Bands within approx. 15 mile radius of Worksop. * denotes the Band is in existence at the time of writing.
- Rawmarsh Band
- Rotherham Town Band
- *Whiston Brass Band
- *Maltby Colliery Band
- *Harworth Colliery Band - now Harworth RJB Band
- *Dinnington Colliery Band
- Firbeck Colliery Band
- * Killamarsh Band
- Harthill Band
- *Whitwell Colliery Band - now Whitwell Band
- Shireoaks Colliery Band
- *Worksop Salvation Army (Worksop Citadel Band)
- *Worksop Town Band - now Worksop Miners Welfare Band
- Band of the Worksop Rifle Volunteers
- Steel & Garland (Priory Foundry) Band
- Retford Town Band
- Clowne Band
- *Creswell Colliery Band - now Creswell Rexco Band
- 19 *Welbeck Estates Band
- Bolsover Colliery Band
- *Pleasley Colliery Band
- *Shirebrook Colliery Band
- *Thoresby Colliery Band – now Thoresby (UK Coal) Band
- Tickhill Band
- Bawtry Band