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Brass Band Contests at the Glasgow International Exhibition, 1888

  1. Brass Band Contests - History
  2. The Exhibition Contests - Scottish Bands
  3. The Exhibition Contests - Open Contest


Brass Band Contests received their origin in this country in the Yorkshire and Lancashire districts of England, and they may be said to form one of the results of the great revival which took place in favour of music for the masses about the middle of the present century. Arising from small beginnings, and working with crude material, both in players and in instruments, the movement has grown into huge dimensions; but, unlike choral music, which has spread itself all over the country, it has received its development principally in the district of its nativity, and it is there that it flourishes most. This is mainly to be accounted for by the fact that the masters of large works, with which many of the leading bands are connected, take a direct and personal interest in their success. They provide the best instruments, engage good teachers, give every convenience for rehearsal, and do not hesitate to find places in their establishments for men likely to become valuable members of the band. Prior to the well-known Bellevue Gardens contests, held every September at Manchester, there were very few, if any, competitions.

On their establishment in 1853 few bands entered the competition, and even six years later the entries were so few that 1859 stands as a year with "no contest." Matters, however, gradually improved, and the entries became so large that a limit had to be made, and twenty bands selected from among the applicants for the contest. Nor is this all. In 1886 Messrs. Jennison, the energetic managers at Bellevue, inaugurated a July contest, open only to bands that had not won a prize at the September gatherings during the previous four years. There were thirty entries on that occasion, but only twenty bands were allowed to compete.

Among the first bandmasters who contributed to the early growth of the Brass Band Contest movement may be mentioned Mr. Richard Smith, now well known as the popular publisher of band music in London, and editor of the Champion Brass Band Journal, which he commenced in 1859. In 1861 the lllustrated News of the World gave a full notice and portrait of Mr. Richard Smith, in connection with the great contest held at the Crystal Palace in that year, and of him it said: "He has been justly styled the "Champion Teacher of Yorkshire" and the British Bandsman of June 1888 gave an appreciative sketch of Mr. Smith's career, accompanied by an excellent portrait of him. He raised some of the best brass bands, and trained over nineteen of them with great success. His Leeds Railway Foundry Band took the first prize at Bellevue in 1854, and his Saltaire Band, consisting of workmen in the employment of Sir (then Mr.) Titus Salt, was awarded the first prize at the great Crystal Palace Contest, London, in 1861.

Mr. Samuel Longbottom trained the Black Dike Brass Band, and conducted it when it won its first prize at the Hull contest in July 1856. Mr. George Ellis was at the head of the Bacup Band in the years 1869 to 1871, when it gained thirteen first prizes in thirteen consecutive contests. Other well-known teachers were J. W. Tidswell, James Deacon, G. F. Birkinshaw, senior, John Peel, R. de Lacy, and A. Jackson. Mr. Joseph Higham, of Manchester, was the first to give instruments as prizes at these contests. He was followed by Antoine Courtois, of Paris, through his agent, Mr. Arthur Chappell, of London; by Mr. Henry Distin, of London; and Messrs. F. Besson and Co., London.

In 1855 Mr. Enderby Jackson commenced a series of contests in the Zoological Gardens at Hull, and organised and carried out successfully many contests in various parts of the country. He threw great energy into his work, and did much to stimulate the growth of contests in earlier years; and it was under his direction that the great contests held at the Crystal Palace, Sydenham, in 1860, 1861, and 1862, were organised and carried to a successful issue. As competitions became general, several bands made themselves famous, and they won in prizes amounts that look large and surprising. Perhaps the best instance of this on record is the case of the Meltham Mills Band, which, during the period of 1871-1883, and under the baton of Mr. J. Gladney, was awarded prizes to the value of nearly £4000. Like many other musical organisations these bands are not always prosperous, nor do they live for ever. Perhaps no better guide can be obtained to the names of the best bands in different years, and their varying fortunes, than the list of prize-winners at the Bellevue contests. At first selections from oratorio were favourite pieces, but ultimately operatic music took their place, and continues to furnish the favourite pieces.

Twenty years ago there were more prizes offered for soloists - a kind of competition that seems at present to have fallen greatly into the background. They were for cornet, horn, or euphonium, and the competitor had to play an air with variations, which was generally arranged specially with band accompaniment. A competition of bass players took place at the Crystal Palace in 1861, the prize being a sonorophone contre-bass in E flat, with rotary valves. Five players entered the lists, and the prize was eventually awarded to a bass player of the Keighley Band, who played a double B flat trombone of his own invention. The Manchester Guardian said: "This portion of the competition greatly excited the risible faculties of the assembly. The unwieldy instruments, the gruff and deep tones they emitted, the elephantine gambols they were made to execute, and the earnestness of the players, made the scene irresistibly comic."

The most important contests held in the South of England are those that have been given at the Crystal Palace, Sydenham. Of these, the series conducted by Mr. Enderby Jackson, of Hull, in the years 1860, 1861, and 1862, are worthy of mention; and they may be looked upon as a landmark in the history of brass band contests. A few details regarding those of the 10th and 11th July 1860, and described by the Daily Telegraph as the first contest of brass bands ever held in the South of England, will serve to illustrate their character, and show the interest they created by drawing together from all parts of the country the best bands then existing.

Seventy-two bands entered for the first day's contest, and ninety-eight for the second. Forty-four bands came forward and took part in the first day's contest; they were divided into six divisions, and they played in turn before their appointed judges. There were eighteen judges, and they presided at six different platforms, as follows: Platform No. 1, Henry Nicholson, bandmaster to the Duke of Rutland; J. Smythe, Royal Artillery, Woolwich; Mr. Hanson, late of the 39th Infantry. No.2, Wellington Guernsey; George Loder; H. Rogers, Waterford Artillery. No.3, Dan Godfrey, Grenadier Guards; H. Schallehn, late of the Crystal Palace Band; J. A. Kappey, Royal Marines, Chatham Division. No.4, Charles Godfrey, senior, Coldstream Guards; Charles Godfrey, junior, now of the Royal Horse Guards (The Blues); William Miller, 1st Battalion Rifle Brigade. No.5, Herr Koenig, Norfolk Artillery - a brother of the celebrated cornet soloist; William Money, 5th Lancers; M. Hartmann, 10th Hussars. No. 6, H. Basket, 58th Regiment; C. Boosé Royal Horse Guards (The Blues); George Leng, late of the Hull Harmonic Society. Final Referee, Mr. Enderby Jackson. The competition commenced at 10 o'clock A.M., and by three o'clock all the members of these forty-four bands assembled in the Handel Orchestra to play a programme, while the judges were deliberating, and selecting the twelve bands, being two from each platform, that were to compete in the final struggle.

These combined bands formed what is believed to be the largest band on record in English history. It consisted of 1390 performers, and they were arranged in rows according to their instruments. It was composed of 144 soprano cornets, 184 cornets primo, 210 cornets secundo, 83 E flat althorns, 71 D flat althorns primo, 51 D flat althorns secundo, 100 B flat baritones, 74 tenor trombones, 75 bass trombones, 80 euphoniums, 133 ophicleides, 155 E flat contre-basses, 2 B flat contrebasses, 26 side drums, monster gong drum, and the great organ. This mass of instrumentalists was conducted by Mr. Enderby Jackson. They played "Rule Britannia," "Hallelujah" (Handel), "Wedding March" (Mendelssohn), "The Heavens are telling " (Haydn), and "God Save the Queen."

(Click for larger version)
Of this performance the Times said:

"The effect of the combined legions of 'blowers' was tremendous. The organ, which accompanied them, and which on less exceptional occasions is apt to drown everything, was scarcely audible in the midst of the brazen tempest. Nothing less than the new "monstre gong-drum" manufactured by Mr. Henry Distin - to wield the thunder of which required the united efforts of Messrs. Charles Thompson, of the Crystal Palace Band, and Middleditch, of the London Rifle Brigade - could prevail against it. The pieces that pleased the most (perhaps because the best executed) were Mendelssohn's "Wedding March" and the National Anthem, both of which were unanimously encored. The whole performance was conducted with wonderful vigour and precision by Mr. Enderby Jackson, of Hull, a sort of "Delaporte" in his way, who has exerted himself in forwarding the brass band movement among the mechanics, artisans, petty tradesmen, manufacturers, and labourers of the northern and midland counties with almost as much energy and unremitting zeal as M. Delaporte the Orpheonist movement in the provinces of France."

At the close of the performance the twelve selected bands appeared in the Handel Orchestra, and there engaged in the final contest before the eighteen judges. These bands were - The Black Dike Mills Band, conducted by Mr. S. Longbottom; Saltaire Band, Mr. Richard Smith; Cyfarthfa Band, Mr. R. Livesey (Jullien obtained Mr. Hughes, the celebrated ophicleide player, from this band); Darlington Saxhorn Band, Mr. H. Hoggett; Dewsbury Band, Mr. J. Peel; Deighton Mills Band, Mr. P. Robinson; Witney Band, Mr. J. Crawford; Stanhope Band, Mr. R. de Lacy; Chesterfield Band, Mr. H. Slack; Staleybridge Band, Mr. J. Melling; Accrington Band, Mr. R. Barnes; and Holmfirth Temperance Band, Mr. W. Roberts. The prizes were awarded to the first five in the order given here. The proceedings at the second day's contest were similar to those described, with the exception that the Black Dike and Saltaire Bands were debarred from contending, as they took the first and second prizes respectively on the previous day.

Since that time brass band contests have been held at intervals in London. There was one at the Crystal Palace in 1871, when the famous band of the Mounted Artillery, then a brass band, under its well-known conductor, Mr. James Lawson, took the first prize of £50. A proposal to hold one at the Inventions Exhibition, 1885, fell through, apparently owing to there not being sufficient entries. In 1888 a competition was held at the Irish Exhibition, at which the prizes were awarded thus - First day - first prize, Wyke Old Brass Band, conducted by Mr. J. Gladney; second prize, Leeds Forge Band, Mr. E. Swift; third prize, Wyke Temperance Band, Mr. E. Swift. Second day - first prize, Staleybridge Borough Band, Mr. A. Owen; Linthwaite Band; Mr. J. S. Jones; Rushden Temperance Silver Prize Band, Mr. G. F. Birkinshaw.

Brass band contests have frequently been held in Scotland, but they have taken place at irregular intervals, and they have no settled home such as the English bands find in Bellevue Gardens. In some isolated cases bands are connected with large works, but the great majority of them are maintained entirely by the men themselves, sometimes aided by a band committee. Their existence may be said to be a fluctuating one, disturbed by conditions in management that cannot arise when they are attached to establishments such as large works; and their membership is seriously interfered with by those variations in trade that occur in manufacturing districts where brass bands generally exist. The Volunteer movement of 1859 appeared to offer a good opportunity for the formation and maintenance of good brass bands. That, however, only lasted for a short time, as the conductors, who were generally retired army bandmasters, did not rest until reed instruments were added, and had under their control a full military band.

Credit is due to the late Mr. H. D. Douglas, musical instrument-maker, Glasgow, who was Field Bugler to the 1st L.R.V., for having attempted to do something for the improvement of these bands while they were still brass bands. He organised contests in 1862,1864, and 1865, with the view of "increasing the efficiency of the Volunteer and other bands in Scotland."

That of 1864 was probably the most important. It was held at College Green, Glasgow, on 25th June, and was taken part in by twenty-five bands. The prizes amounted in total value to £77. The judges were Herr Weierter, bandmaster, 1st City of Edinburgh Artillery; Signor Operti, late bandmaster, 11th (Prince Albert's Own) Hussars; and Mr. Raskopf, bandmaster, 15th Hussars. The competition commenced at 12 o'clock noon, and the awards were as follows:- First prize - City of Edinburgh Rifle Brass Band, Mr. C. Laubach, bandmaster. Second - l9th Lanarkshire R.V., Glasgow, Mr. G. St. Clair Jones. Third - 7th Dumfriesshire, Langholm, R.V. Band, Mr. N. Anderson. Fourth - Dumbartonshire R.V., Bonhill, Mr. George Park. Fifth - Hawick Brass Band, Mr. Stephen Teal. Sixth 1st Renfrew R.V., Greenock, Brass Band, Mr. C. Denny. Seventh - 25th Lanarkshire R.V., Glasgow, Mr. William Crosbie. Eighth - Auchtermnchty Brass Band, Mr. David Johnston. Ninth – 2nd Administrative Lanarkshire R.V., Glasgow, Mr. Kyle.

The other competing bands were:- Dunblane Brass Band, Galashiels 1st Selkirk Rifle Brass Band, Newmains Reed Band, Kinnaird Instrumental Band, Gartsherrie Thistle Reed Band, Bo'ness 2nd Linlithgow R.V. Reed Band, Crofthead Brass Band, Glengarnock Reed Band, Shettleston Reed Band, Kilbarchan Reed Band, Camelon Brass Band, Airdrie Old Union Brass Band, 1st Linlithgow Rifle Brass Band, Elderslie Reed Band, 4th Roxburgh Hawick Rifle Brass Band, and Omoa Iron Works Brass Band. A "Grand Contest March," composed expressly for the occasion by Mr. M. W. Perry, bandmaster, 1st L.A.V., was played by the combined bands, for which performance a "Sensation Monster Drum" had been made; and the whole proceedings were brought to a close by the bands in mass playing the National Anthem.

The next gathering of note was that held at the Waverley Market, Edinburgh, on 16th April 1877; and it was the first Scottish contest at which the famous English brass bands appeared. Twenty-three competed, and they were limited to twenty-five performers each. The judge was Mr. Charles Godfrey, bandmaster, Royal Horse Guards (The Blues). The proceedings were commenced at one o'clock by the combined bands, representing six hundred performers, playing the National Anthem. After they had played before the judge he awarded the prizes as follows -First prize, £60 Linthwaite Band (Yorkshire), Mr. Edwin Swift, conductor. Second prize, £30, Kingston Mills Band (Cheshire), Mr. J. Gladney. Third prize, £20, Meltham Mills Band (Yorkshire), Mr. J. Gladney. Fourth prize, £10, Accrington Band (7th L.R.V.), Mr. J. Gladney. Two prizes, open only to Scottish bands, were won, the first by the Whins-of-Milton Band (a gold-mounted ivory conductor's baton and a silver-plated and gilt cornet), and the second, for the best euphonium player, to Mr. Joseph T. Lindsay, Coatbridge Band (a Vienna euphonium).

The other contesting bands were - Armadale Brass Band, Newmains (Volunteer) Band, Whitburn Brass Band, Cumbernauld Brass Band (11th D.R.V.), Fechney Industrial School, Perth; 25th L.R.V., Glasgow; 7th L.R.V., Clayton-le-Moors; Staleybridge Old Band, Holm Mills Band 31st L.R.V.B., Langholm Band, Black Dike Mills Brass Band, Jedforest Band, Carluke Old Band, 29th L.R.V. (Airdrie Old Union), Cleland Band, and 10th Forfar Highland R.V. The proceedings closed at seven o'clock by the bands in mass playing a "Grand Contest March," composed expressly for this occasion. Both of the combined performances were conducted by Mr. Harry O'Neil, the famous cornet-player, who is one of the Queen's Trumpeters, and who had the entire management of the proceedings.

Following this, the next contest of importance was that held at the Edinburgh International Exhibition, 1886. It drew together many of the best bands in the country, and was pronounced by those accustomed to attend such gatherings to be as fine a contest as they had ever listened to. Alloa is the only town in Scotland that has the credit of having conducted contests yearly. They were instituted in 1883, and have been visited by several of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Bands. Up to 1888 they had distributed over £600 in Prize Money. Dunfermline has been following in its wake, and among other places, where these contests have been conducted, may be mentioned, Airdrie, Armadale, Bonnyrigg, Bridge-of-Allan, Coatbridge, Dumfries, Dundee, Galashiels, Kirkcaldy, Markinch, Maryhill Barracks, Perth, Stirling, and West Weems. Besides the journals already mentioned, Wright and Round's Brass Band Journal (Liverpool) is an organ connected with the movement.


Judge – Mr Franz Groenings

Instituted 1819 as a reed band. In 1860 brass band formed. In 1871 Wm. Donaldson, who had been conductor for fifty-two years, died. The band then became dormant, but was resuscitated in 1872; began to compete 1879; has attended fourteen contests, and won prizes value £80. Conductor Mr. Charles E. Murdoch, late bandmaster 72nd Seaforth Highlanders, presently bandmaster 1st Lanark Artillery Volunteers.

Instituted 1875; won seventeen prizes, value about £249. Conductor, Mr. George Irvine.

Alloa Colliery
Instituted 10th September 1881. Conductor, Mr. John McBeath.

Formed originally as a military band about fifty years ago. After a varied existence became defunct in 1871, mainly owing to bad trade. Was reformed toward the close of 1871 under Mr. David Johnston, the present bandmaster of the Dunfermline R.V. band. A prolonged strike in the weaving trade broke it up, but it was again resuscitated in 1876 under its present conductor, Mr. James Jenkins. Began contesting 1879; has competed 28 times, and won 25 prizes, value £400, 14s., including prizes won by solo cornet-player and euphonium-player. Conductor, Mr. James Jenkins, native of Stirlingshire; played bombardon in Jullien's band; was bass trombone-player at Bellevue Gardens band, in Charles Hallé's orchestra, DeJong's orchestra, and at Philharmonic Society's Concerts, Liverpool; acted as judge at brass band contests in England. Settled in Stirling 1875, and teaches various brass bands.

Instituted May 1874. Attended two contests; won two prizes, value £5 Conductor Mr. W. B. Howell; presently Bandmaster 1st L.R.V.; a member of band of 92nd Highlanders; rose to be band-sergeant; studied at Kneller Hall. Settled in Glasgow; seventeen years bandmaster of the 6th L.R.V. before receiving his present appointment. Teaches several brass bands.

Instituted 1871 as a reed band. A strike in the foundry put an end to the band, as many members had to leave the village. Re-formed in 1878 as a brass band; began contesting 1883; has attended ten contests, and won six prizes, value £63, 9s. Conductor, Mr. James Jenkins.

Instituted 1882. For first five years could not contest, owing to want of proper instruments. In 1887 had a subscription sale on Art Union principle; realised £190, with which they purchased instruments. Attended Alloa contest in 1888, but did not win a prize. Conductor, Mr. James Jenkins.

All working men, principally miners and ironworkers. Conductor, Mr. W. H. Cole, violinist, Director of Fine Arts Institute Concerts, Glasgow; Conductor Dunfermline Orchestral Society; band-master 1st Lanark Engineers.

Fairfield, Govan
Instituted March 1877. Conductor, Mr. E. Baistow, for twenty years a teacher of bands in England, and conductor of several prize bands.

1st Lanark R.V.
Originally a bugle band, under Mr. Robert Strachan, it eventually took the form of a brass band. At first it acted as band for the second battalion of the regiment, but in 1887 it had improved so much that it was promoted as band to the first battalion, the professional band which had previously existed being done away with, and pipers taking their place with the second battalion. This was the first contest at which the band had appeared. Conductor Mr. W. B. Howell.

4th R.V. Royal Scots
Instituted in 1868. Mr. Alexander McLintock was conductor from its formation till his death in 1887. He was a native of Neilston, and had previously acted as instructor for various volunteer corps in Renfrewshire. This was the first contest in which the band had engaged. Conductor, Mr. George Walker, has taught several volunteer and other bands in the North of England.

Instituted about 1846 as a brass and reed band; only contested recently; won prizes value £25. Conductor, Mr. Thomas Moore, formerly teacher of Tanfield-'lee' Band, Durham.

Hawick Saxhorn
Instituted 1858; has won twelve prizes, value £135. Conductor, Mr. Walter Thorburn; joined this band as a boy of fourteen years; in 1864 joined the band of the 72nd Seaforth Highlanders, and ultimately became solo cornet; returned to Hawick in 1870; rejoined the band as solo cornet, and was appointed bandmaster in 1880.

Instituted as a reed band July 1880. Conductor, Mr. James Stirling, late bandmaster 79th Highlanders.

Instituted 1856. Began contesting in 1864; has attended thirteen contests, and won seven prizes, value £50. Conductor Mr William Calvert; at first a trombone-player, afterwards cornet player; was conductor of choral and orchestral concerts in Yorkshire; played at the orchestral concerts at Leeds and Bradford; played with brass bands, including Black Dike; has conducted various bands; appointed to Langholm band in 1875.

New Cumnock
Instituted 1860; won three prizes, value £7. Conductor, Mr. John Whiteford.

Newmains and Cambusnethan
Newmains instituted 1845; attended nine contests; won six prizes, value £30. Cambusnethan instituted 1870; attended eighteen contests; won thirteen prizes, value £125, 10s. These two bands amalgamated in 1886, but attended no contests until the present one. Conductor, Mr. Robert Booth.

1st Renfrew and Dumbarton Artillery Volunteers
Instituted in 1875 as the Working Boys Brass Band; in 1876 became the Greenock Thistle Brass Band; and in 1880 band to its present corps. The Exhibition competition is the only contest it has attended. Mr. J. Henderson, the conductor, is a teacher of music.

Instituted May 1883; commenced contesting 1887. Attended three competitions, won three prizes. Conductor, Mr C. Reekie, late of the 72nd Highlanders band.

1st Prize  £40     Kingston Mills
2nd£25Galashiels Band
3rd£20Alva Band
4th£15Coatbridge Band
5th£10Alloa Band
6th£5Airdrie Band


Besses o' th' Barn
Instituted 1823 as a string band. As a brass band entered a contest in 1868. From 1868 to 1878 took nine prizes, value £130. From 1878 to present date has taken 119 prizes, value £1356. Conductor, Mr. Alexander Owen, a celebrated cornet-player, and well known as a teacher of brass bands.

Black Dike
Instituted as a reed band in 1816. As a brass band won its first prize at Hull, in July 1856. Value of prizes won to date, £3671, 14s. Conductor, Mr J. Gladney, a well-known teacher of brass bands.

Bury Borough
Instituted 1848. Took fourth prize at the first contest at Bellevue in 1853; since then has won various prizes. Conductor, Mr R. Jackson.

Commenced contesting 1878. From 1878 to 1881 attended twenty-seven contests, won twenty prizes, value £165. Resumed contesting in 1884 and 1885; value of prizes won in these two years, £171, 10s. In the following year the band fell off; owing to loss of members through bad trade. In 1888 attended nine contests; won seven prizes, value £70. Conductor, Mr. Hugh Whitham, has been with the band since its first contest in 1878.

Instituted 1850. From date of formation to 1870 attended 107 contests, won ninety-eight prizes, value £1779, 10s. 10d. Unable to compete for some time owing to want of good instruments, but again took the field in 1887, when they attended two contests and won two prizes. Conductor, Mr. J. S. Jones, was a playing member of the band during the last twenty years; only recently appointed conductor.

Ragley Sunday School Band
The old Ragley Band, formed in 1848 under the late Mr. Booth, of Bolton, existed about two years, being broken up owing to removal of members. Resuscitated under Mr. Briggs of Darwen; escorted the late Earl of Derby at the Preston Guild in 1851, who complimented them on their playing, as also on their uniform, which is described as having consisted of "silk tall hats and white vests." Again came to grief, and nothing heard of it for some time until Messrs. Chadwick Brothers, sewing cotton manufacturers, organised it afresh, and bore all expenses. It plays once a week in the park belonging to the firm. In 1882 received new instruments, and Messrs. Chadwick engaged Mr. W. Wood of Radcliffe as tutor. In 1887 commenced contesting. Has attended five contests, won four prizes, value £50. Conductor, Mr. N. Wood.

Great Horton
Instituted 1877; attended forty contests; won thirty prizes, value £300. Conductor, Mr. G. F. Birkinshaw, was for some time solo cornet in the famous Melthain Mills Band; has successfully taught brass bands for several years.

Haslingden Temperance
Instituted April 1884. Began contesting 1887; attended eight contests, won six prizes, value £52, 10s. Is mainly supported by subscriptions, varying from £5 to 2s. 6d. Conductor, Mr. Charles Woodcock, was a member of the Accrington Old Prize Band, first as a horn-player, afterwards as a solo cornet. Is a teacher of several brass bands.

Heap Bridge
Instituted July 1877. In 1881 became connected with the firm of Messrs. B. & G. Wrigley, woollen manufacturers, Heap Bridge. Mr. John Peers, euphonium-player, being engaged as conductor; commenced contesting same year, and won fourteen prizes to date. In 1882 purchased new instruments at a cost of £400, and uniform £120. Conductor, Mr. J. Gladney, appointed 1887.

Huddersfield Rifles
Began contesting 1887; won three prizes, value £40, 6s. Conductor, Mr. G. Raine.

Kingston Mills
Commenced contesting 1872; has won many prizes, the chief of which were the first prize at Bellevue Gardens, Manchester, in 1885, 1886, and 1887, thus entitling them to the gold medal for winning the first prize three years in succession. Conductor, Mr. John Gladney.

Leeds Forge
Instituted 1882. The members are all workmen in the Leeds Forge Company's Works. The practices take place in the Forge premises every Sunday morning from 10.30 to 12.30; several others are held during the week. Began contesting 1886. This year won twenty-six prizes, value £305, 5s. Conductor, Mr. Edwin Swift, a very successful teacher of brass bands for nearly fourteen years.

Instituted 1868; has taken various prizes. Conductor, Mr. Job Nutter; has been with the band since its formation.

Instituted 1878. In 1880 Mr. Walter Atkinson of Sowerby Bridge appointed conductor, and he remained with the band until the close of season 1887. Value of prizes won, £214, 7s. Conductor, Mr. George Raine, late solo cornet, Linthwaite Band.

Oats Royd Mills
Originally the Luddenden Old Band, it assumed its present name on becoming connected with the firm of Messrs. John Murgatroyd and Sons, Oats Royd Mills, in April 1864, who undertook to maintain the band, and appointed Mr. Joseph Hartley of Halifax conductor. Attended various contests, but ceased to do so in 1870. On 8th August 1884 present conductor appointed, and again appeared at contests. During the last two years has won twenty-one prizes, value £177, 16s. Conductor, Mr. William Heap; was at first cornet-player with the band; is presently conductor of several bands.

Oldham Rifles
Instituted 1865 as a local band; in 1871 appointed to Oldham Rifles. Prior to 1880 won several prizes; and from 1880 to present date inclusive won prizes value £1010, 6s. Conductor, Mr. Alexander Owen.

Rochdale Amateur
Instituted 1879. Value of prizes won since 1883, £240. Conductor, Mr. Alexander Owen.

Instituted 1871. Attended fifty-two contests; won forty-three prizes, value £336. Conductor, Mr. Charles Marsden.

Wyke Old
Instituted 1856. Won in 1888 eighteen prizes, value £260, 16s. Conductor, Mr. J. Gladney.

Wyke Temperance
Instituted 1869. Value of prizes won, £1200. Conductor, Mr. Edwin Swift.

Prize Winners
1st Prize  £40     Kingston Mills
2nd£30Wyke Temperance
3rd£20Besses o' th' Barn
4th£15Leeds Forge
5th£10Wyke Old
6th£5Oldham Rifles

An account by Robert Marr