Irwell Springs (Bacup) Band - Jubilee Souvenir 1864-1914
The little town of Bacup busily engaged in the cotton-spinning industry, has long been noted for its musical traditions. For a very lengthy period it has always possessed a fairly good band. As far as can be ascertained, no one has ever accused the river Irwell, as we know it, of possessing even a semblance of musical charm, nor does it seem to have been suspected that the merest romance could ever exist upon its banks; yet, it is significant to note that when the "Irwell Springs" came into existence the then Bacup Old Band was in the 'hey-day' of its prosperity. This was in the year 1864, when the present organisation was established. The records of the band are not of too full a character, but it is safe to say that the organisation of the band arose in the above-named year as the result of a conversation between some half-dozen Weir residents returning from Belle Vue Contest. These were Messrs. Joseph Lord, A. Mitchell, G. Law,, S. Law, L. Hey and John Nuttall. There were no extensive means of advertising in those days, but the gentlemen mentioned caused it to be circulated that a meeting with the object of forming a new band would be held during the ensuing week. This meeting took place at Mr. Joseph Lord's house near to Corner Dyeworks and 15 persons were present, this being considered a capital response. There was no formality and no chairman was appointed, the gathering taking the form of a " Good old-fashioned fireside chat " and after talking the matter over those present decided to take steps for the formation of the hand, and the following readily consented to become its first members: Messrs. J. Lord, A. Mitchell, G. Law, S. Law, L. Hey, John Nuttall, T. Gornall, J. Wilkinson, H. Nuttall, T. Haworth, H. Rushton, A. Croot, J. Taylor, T. Croot, W. H. Heap, R. A. Law, W. Mitchell, S. Shuttle, and P. G. Law.
As can only be imagined funds were scarce, and as an initial step the members decided that a contribution of so much per week should be paid by each one. Among the first rules one finds the following: "That every member receives his instrument in order and fit for use, and if afterwards it wants repairing to do so at his own expense." Another rule appears to have been conceived with the idea of "drawing in the shekels" rather than a desire to cultivate their musical abilities: "That every member pay £1, the member paying most money to have the first chance." "That each member pay 6d. instead of 1/- per week except the members who have not paid their £1." Other rules were as follows: "That each member pay £1 and if anyone should fail before he has paid the pound he shall forfeit the money paid except in cases of necessity. That each member pay 2/6 for every 5/- over £1 and so on. All music shall belong to the band, whether in books, sheets, or cards. Any member failing shall return all his music to the remaining members." On another page of this torn and tattered, but precious green paper-covered exercise book we found, on close examination amongst its shattered pages, the names of the men who laid the seed for what has proved to be the growing up of "England's Premier Band." The band's first practice was held in a house near to Corner Dyeworks, when only three playing members could put in an appearance, the bedroom being used for the purpose and the bedstead being utilised as a bandstand. Mr. G. Law was appointed first bandmaster and Mr. R. A. Law took up the duties of Secretary for the time being. But thanks to their self-sacrifice, at the end of the first month eight instruments had been received, while in only three months' time the band consisted of thirteen playing members. Christmastide was now upon them and the band decided to go out carolling. For a new band they met with gratifying success. Here we append the names of those who, under the name of Irwell Springs, appeared in public for the first time on this Christmas morn: L. Hey, T. Croot, J. Nuttall, H. Nuttall, M. Proctor, S. Law, R. Law, T. Haworth, A. Mitchell, and J. Wilkinson; and who played the following selections, viz.: "Christians Awake," "Last Wish," "Duke Street," "Old Sarah" "Old Warrington," and "Old Glory,": the last named it is recorded seemed quite difficult for the band to play. Mr. Samuel Law was officiating as leader at this time, and the efforts put forward from now to Whitsuntide were so successful that on this, most popular day the band could boast of nineteen playing members. An entry in the earlier records which strikes the keynote and discloses the secret of the band's success, reads as follows: Name, L. Hey; choice of instrument, "Aught." Could anything be more accommodating? Yet this commendable spirit existed in a marked degree, and has remained with the band through failure and success to the present day. It is interesting to relate that during its earlier days, besides trying to attain financial soundness, musical proficiency was another of their principle objects aimed at, for when the band consisted of only the following instrumentalists: Soprano, H. Nuttall; Solo Cornet, Geo. Law; Cornet, L. Hey; Second Cornet, T. Haworth; Repiano, W. H. Heap; First Horn, W. Mitchell; Second Horn, R. A. Law; First Euphonium, Joseph Lord; Second Euphonium, Abraham Mitchell; First Bombardon, Peter George Law; Second Bombardon, James Wilkinson, they received professional tuition for the first time, from Mr. John Lord, of Bacup, (subsequently Councillor, and father of one of the present playing members of the band).
In the early part of 1865, Mr. Charles H. Seiber, ex-Manager of the Irwell Springs Dyeworks, provided a very good room at the Dyeworks for the band to practice in. Mr. S. Law now took the official position as Secretary, Thomas Croat, who was carpenter at the Dyeworks, made the music-stands; James Bentley ('Wotel') the Blacksmith, Thomas Haworth ('Tommy Dennis'), the dyer, and W. H. Heap, the engineman, (all for the dyeworks), fitting the gas-piping necessary for illumination, and the room was heated with steam.
The bandsmen continued to attend very energetically to the rehearsals and at length, in 1866, secured their first public engagement in shape of playing for the Oddfellows' Club "Dinner Day" at Deerplay. For this they received £1-1-4½.
A local celebrity with the sobriquet "Blind Edward " was also in attendance. He was recognised as an expert on the portable organ and also as a vocalist of no mean ability. He was a well-known figure in the district and his efforts proved very popular.
At this time the band found the necessity of two drums very pressing as is shown by the following appeal to the residents of Weir Village, issued by the Committee on June 15th, 1866:
"Respected Neighbours and Friends,
We, the members of the Irwell Springs Band, beg to appeal to you on behalf of ourselves to help us a little in subscribing towards the purchasing of two drums which we are yet in want of, as the instruments we have got has been all at our own expense, we can assure you it has been very hard for us, being (as you know) all working men, but we were determined our little village should have something to enliven it. We think if we only wait upon you, you will do a little towards helping us in getting the same, which will cost upwards of £5. Hoping you will excuse
It is interesting to relate that the appeal had the desired effect, and notwithstanding the fact that the drums cost more than the estimated amount, the whole of the money was publicly subscribed.
Under the instructorship of Mr. John Lord, of the Bacup Band, the band got along finely, and in 1869 found it desirable to leave the bandroom at the Dyeworks. They adopted the Weir Hotel as their headquarters: the large room being placed at their disposal for practices. In the year previous, Mr. Joseph Lord departed for America, and in the early part of 1869 Mr. Samuel Law resigned leadership of the band. Thus, early in its existence, the band was confronted by a common experience in musical organisations, namely, changes in its personal constitution; a fact which was accentuated by the resignation, in May, 1869, of Mr. W. H. Heap and Mr. Peter G. Law, both of whom, like Mr. Lord, emigrated to America. Mr. James O. Heap was the first small drummer of the band who, however, left later to join the well-known Kingston Mills as Tenor Horn player; thus, it will be readily realised that the Committee were confronted with many difficulties.
In the year 1869 the income of the band was £4-2-3, and the expenditure £2-16-0. In the early years of the band the revenue was almost entirely derived from members' subscriptions; but, in 1870 the band adopted a method of appointing collectors to solicit public donations, and this had the effect of very materially helping the finances. The efforts of the collectors realised £17-14-10, for which the Committee were indebted to Messrs. James Lord, Charles Croot, "Noddy Ash," Peter Burton and Hartley Edmondson, who undertook the work. With Christmas playing (£11-18-8) and the proceeds of an engagement at Stubbylee (£2-18-0) the receipts in 1870 amounted to £41-10-8, while the expenditure was only £9-12-6. The band continued with humble perseverance and gradually began to make its presence felt in the musical life of the neighbourhood. The men themselves were thoroughly in earnest, and by dint of much personal energy and sacrifice, each succeeding year brought improved financial and social satisfaction. Mr. Wright Mitchell was appointed the bandmaster during this year. A perusal of the earlier balance sheets afford amusing reading, items such as "Postage, 2d." (for the whole year) and "Drink at Deerplay Inn, 1/4" being faithfully recorded. What a contrast to present-day accountancy and bookkeeping! The methods of the old pioneers were primitive, but they were nevertheless sound and thorough.
The year 1870 brought a very notable success, for in May the band attended a contest at Halifax. "Arolda" was the test-piece and "Springs" were awarded the fifth prize. There were twenty-six competing bands and the Bacup lads looked upon their success as a glorious triumph. Mr. John Lord was the Conductor on that occasion. This was the first appearance of "Springs" on the contesting stage. One of the earlier difficulties of the bandsmen, however, was playing on the march. This was a real poser, but with commendable earnestness the men used to practice march-tunes on the old highway on the moors away from the gaze of the public. Those were the days of the old circular bass instruments and the determination of the men can be better imagined than described. With the advent of 1871, Mr. H. Nuttall took up the position as Secretary.
The only one object aimed at in those days was the success of the band. No sacrifice was too great if this could only he accomplished, and for the next three years many were the difficulties which had to be overcome. Music, tuition and new instruments were the chief items which had to be faced, but the keen determination of the band may be somewhat realised, for during this short period the members alone raised close upon £100 as the result of a well devised scheme of subscriptions. Here, too, we catch a glimpse of other struggles from which the band emerged. Although they were all working men they never thought their day's work was done until they had put in several hours of hard, solid practice, which shows how deeply "love of music" had ingrained itself into the men, and how "work and play" when yoked together for social temperament such as this, makes for harmony in more directions than one. Well might it here be said, We know the fate of him that hath "no music in his soul." During these years the band came more into public prominence and made steady progress. Although no notable successes were gained the income derived through the efforts of the band's engagements, &c. were about £130. It should also be related that during this last year the bandsmen, committee and supporters had been most busily engaged in the construction of a new bandroom in Captain Street, situated behind the Co-operative Store, Weir, the entire place being built by the men themselves. This new and more commodious building was opened about February 5, 1875, when the deeds for same were left in the hands of the following trustees: Messrs. James Holland, Hargreaves Nuttall, James Lord, Geo. Ashworth, Richard Ashworth and John Nuttall.
Many had been the self-sacrifices of the men towards the band during the last 11 years and it can be easily imagined how proud they now felt in possessing a good bandroom entirely their own property Once at their "own fireside" the men now sought to improve their financial position. Although the rehearsals were numerous they were capitally attended and their combined efforts again secured due rewards. Numerous engagements began to appear on their books, while on May 22nd. 1875, the band appeared for Heald School in their first uniform, which cost over £62. The uniform was known in those days as "Pill Boxes" this being caused through the peculiar style of caps and the eccentric way in which they were worn. It is particularly interesting to note that this year the band for the first time showed a balance sheet of over £100, the income being £104-6-6, while the expenditure amounted to £104-0-9, other chief items being music, tuition, travelling expenses and bandroom; thus, after a record year the band was left again in humble circumstances, only having 5/9 on hand with which to carry on the next twelve months' working. The bandroom was early proving a good asset, the same being let out for singing classes, auction sales, and a fiddler's class, which fairly increased the income of the band. For the next five years slow and steady progress was made. The band first entered (but did not compete) at the Belle Vue Contest in 1877, while from 1878 to 1881 they fulfilled many engagements in the old Public Hall in Burnley Road, which was at that time being utilised as a skating rink. These together with their other engagements and the working lip of a public prize draw, caused the men to be fully occupied. This draw took place on May 14th, 1881, there being 64 prizes which included both meat, drink, and wearables, the tickets for same being sold at 6d. each. The extra efforts put forth during this period realised a fairly good amount, which was devoted in clearing the extra expenditure.
One little incident which occurred in 1881 chews the scepticism with which the committee viewed the method of paying for goods by means of postal orders or cheques, etc. They had made a purchase from a London firm, and when the transaction was completed, found themselves in a dilemma: they had the goods and also the money, but were in a difficulty as to how the latter could reach London safely. Ignoring all postal facilities, they decided to send it by personal messengers, and three of the officials were specially deputed to journey to the Metropolis to meet the vendors and discharge the account. Notwithstanding such pardonable extravagance the band sheaved a profit of £41 odd. So that the quaint holiday in London did not engender a deficiency.
For the following five years neither the band nor Committee relaxed their efforts, and this had the desired effect upon the men whose musical abilities were becoming more popular amongst the inhabitants and from whom they were now receiving fairly good support. In 1883, Mr. W. Mitchell resigned the bandmastership, and Mr. W. L. Crossley, a Rochdale man who was at this time schoolmaster at Doals, succeeded Mr. Mitchell, and under his tuition, although the band was not contesting, every effort was being 'put forth for the laying of a good foundation. The following year brought the band its first engagement in Scotland. They made the journey in company with the Irwell Springs Football Team on to Renton, near Dumbarton, for the purpose of opening the new ground at that place, and the selections played fairly roused the Scottish audience, to whom they gave entire satisfaction. Mr. Ben Lord, the present chairman of Committee, was the solo cornetist for Springs at that time, and was acknowledged to be one of the foremost instrumentalists in Lancashire. He fairly enraptured the Scotish people with his "triple-tongueing" in a masterly rendering of the "Eclipse Polka." So dexterous was his execution that the audience expressed the conviction that "Benny" as he is familiarly called, had peas in his instrument. Afterwards the band played through the streets to the railway station accompanied by thousands of people who gave them an enthusiastic send-off. Another event which had a lasting impression on the men was the great Liberal Demonstration at Todmorden, October 2nd, 1884, on which date the "Springs" walked from Weir to Cornholme, from whence they formed part of the procession into Todmorden. No sooner had they started than a tremendous thunderstorm came on, and although simply drenched, the band played and the crowd marched on. The thunder was so severe that the men could not hear one another play, and the lightning flashed with such rapidity round their silver instruments that before the field could be reached, the bandmaster was compelled to stop them, the men being in a shocking state; and, the saying is to-day, no band ever played under such terrible and terrifying conditions, neither before nor since. From now to 1885 the band continued to devote all their energies to solid practising with such gratifying results that they now appeared in public far more than hitherto. This being the case the Committee again turned their attention to new uniforms, the same being forthcoming in 1886.
They first turned out in their long frock coats and plumed helmets on May 25th, Whit Monday, at Holmes Chapel. During this year the band for the first time had their photopraphs taken, these being so much admired that they are still being preserved by a few former members of the band. This year also found the band opening out new ground, and engagements were being booked at various places for the first time. This was a step in a forward direction which was very pleasing to both Mr. W. L. Crossley, their undaunted bandmaster, as well as the members themselves. The latter continued to receive their instructions from Mr. Crossley with a marked degree of success up to 1889, when Mr. Crossley was compelled to retire, this step being received with great regret. With the advent as bandmaster of Mr. Ben Lord (who is to-day the Chairman of the band), the advisability - nay, the necessity - of engaging a good professional tutor, stems to have been more clearly recognised. There seems every reason to believe that the years of hard toiling were now beginning to show forth good results, so the Committee, with that enterprising spirit which right from the start had been such a commending factor, Again showed their determination for still greater progress by securing the services of Mr. George Raine, of Huddersfield, a most accomplished Cornetist in those days.
Mr. Raine was appointed to the position on February 13th, 1889, and held it until July 27th, 1891, during which time the band took a more active interest in contesting. During all these years the bandsmen and supporters displayed much mutual helpfulness, and typical of other acts may be mentioned the valuable kindness of Mr. R. Law, who not only provided the men with meals to save the band funds, but took upon himself the duty of cleaning, dusting, and the general oversight of the bandroom for a long period. When Mr. Raine resigned he was succeeded by Mr. Edwin Swift, a gentleman exceedingly well known in musical circles, who was appointed to the post in December, 1891. He held the professional reins for about three years.
In the year 1892 Mr. Hargreaves Nuttall; father of the present bandmaster, and who had worked in one capacity or another since the formation of the band, relinquished the duties of Secretary after 21 years' service in the position, and was succeeded by his son James - "a worthy son of a worthy sire." The name of Nuttall and Irwell Springs Band have been synonymous since the very start, and the amount of ardous toil and self-sacrificing devotion rendered by members of the Nuttall family has been a bright and striking feature during the whole progress of the band. Mr. Walter Nuttall early evinced commendable aptitude as a leader of men, and grasping the foundation so splendidly laid by Mr. Raine and Mr. Swift, improved the band's calibre and carried it to the highest pinnacle of fame in the brass band world. In 1893 the band made its first appearance at the Belle Vue Contest, and gave a remarkably good performance, considering it was their initial attempt to capture "big fry." Mr. Swift was in charge as professional conductor. In the same year the officials issued their first printed balance sheet, which showed an income of £145-16-11, and the expenditure £138-11-8. Amongst the chief items of revenue were £37-14-0 for Christmas playing, and £33-16-0 for engagements. On the other side tuition and players' expenses absorbed £62-0-10, and a loan of £20 was also repaid. At this time there was still an outstanding loan of £30.
A particularly interesting appointment also took place in 1893, Mr. Walter Nuttall, present bandmaster, being appointed to the position in consequence of the resignation of Mr. Ben Lord. Volumes could be written of Mr. Nuttall's skill and influence in raising the prestige of the band, but one comment only is necessary - "Excellent!" In 1894, Mr. Hargreaves Nuttall, who, since his retirement from the secretaryship, had officiated as chairman of committee, was appointed treasurer in place of Mr. Thomas Haworth. A new atmosphere came over the band, and the obvious endeavours of leader and officials to take a further step forward was very manifest. A determination to raise the organisation to the first flight of musical prowess took deep root, and with a view to the seal of success being set upon their ambitions, the band, in July, 1896, engaged the services of Mr. William Rimmer, of Southport. A better choice was never made and it is certain that Mr. Rimmer's name will ever be linked with undying fame to the band's progress. His advent was the turning-point, and the band not only took a new lease of life, but improved upon it, going from strength to strength, and from victory to victory. The engagement of Mr. Rimmer was no light matter financially for a band of the then status of "Springs," but the difficulty was surmounted by the practical and regular generosity of the following gentlemen: Messrs. J. Hopkinson, E. Suthers, R. Hartley, J. Ogden, G. H. Pilling, John Kershaw, E. H. Priestley. John Crompton, John Oldfield, C. Parker, Ed. Priestley, John Cropper, James Law, J. Dyson, C. Turner, G. Lord, and John Nuttall. These men by frequent contributions of varying amounts, guaranteed for a certain period the expenditure incurred by Mr. Rimmer's appointment. The latter gentleman soon began to crystalise the spade work of previous instructors, and under Mr. Rimmer the "lads" began to display rapid improvements and marked ability. The outcome of a very definite forward policy found the band figuring regularly at contests, which hitherto could not inappropiately be described as fitful. They started off with taking a third prize at Blackpool with the test-piece "Maritana," at which contest the judges were Messrs. Valentine and Keswick. On Good Friday, 1897, they gained a first prize at Ardwick, followed by a similar award at Rawtenstall, third at Heywood, first at Boothfold, and a fifth at Littleborough. In the latter part of November, 1897, however, the organization suffered a great loss by the death of its much-esteemed and wisely-respected Treasurer, Mr. Hargreaves Nuttall. The band, augmented by representatives of other musical bodies, attended the funeral, which was of a most impressive character, and a sterling tribute to the labours of the deceased. The late Mr. Greenwood Lord was persuaded to fill the vacancy in the treasurership, and he occupied the position with unostentatious zeal and sound practical interest.
Inspired by their material progress, the band in the following year again made an essay at the famous Belle Vue Contest in July, and great was the joy of their supporters when they returned home with the second prize of £12 and a Silver Medal and Cornet. The band were always characterised with commendable feeling towards charitable objects, and, as at present, were never averse to lending their support in a good cause. One such occasion occurred in 1898, when during a contest at Silverdale the stage collapsed, and most unluckily one of the competing bandsmen was instantaneously killed. The band at once shewed their practical sympathy by forwarding 30/- to the relief fund which had been opened on behalf of the poor man's family.
Coming to 1899, the band figured twice at Southport being awarded a first and a fourth prize, third at Nelson, fourth at Kidsgrove, and third at Hawes, the total amount of prize money this year being £47. Under Mr. Rimmer's careful and able guidance the band continued to make gratifying progress, a solid determination and well-proportioned unity characterising the efforts of tutor and tutored. In 1900 Irwell Springs again figured amongst the best bands at the foremost competitions in the country. Again appearing at the Belle Vue Contest, they were awarded the fifth prize, and other successes which fell to their lot were a division of the fourth and fifth prizes at Southport, third at Rochdale and four Silver Medals for best set of basses, first and second at Cliviger, and first and second at a subsequent Rochdale contest. In the early part of the succeeding year (1901), another change in the official element took place, Mr. James Nuttall, the present Secretary taking over the duties in succession to Mr. J. H. Law, who had creditably held the position for about six-and-a-half years. This particular year turned out one of the best in the history of the band so far, in respect to the successes gained on the contesting stage. It was notable for the band's first appearance at the Crystal Palace competition, and be it said to their great credit the bandsmen returned home with the second prize and a twelve-guinea cornet. How near "Springs" came to winning the chief honour on their first appearance at the Palace may be realised from the fact that only two marks separated them from the winners of the gem-studded trophy. Amongst other praiseworthy performances in 1901 were first at Rawtenstall, first at Hawes, first at Belle Vue (July) and trombone and two medals, second at New Brighton, second at Colne, second at Urmston, first and second at Rochdale, fourth and trombone and medal at Belle Vue (September) together with other satisfactory awards. The total amount of prize money which fell to the lot of "Springs" in 1901 was £197-15-6; a fitting and appreciable reward to honest endeavour and whole-hearted ambition on the part of all concerned.
In recognition of carrying off the premier honours for the first time at Belle Vue, Mr. John Hoyle presented each man with a souvenir in the form of a Musical Dictonary, published by Messrs. Hart & Co., London, and the compiler of which was Mr. John Hiles. The same to-day is looked upon as a most treasured memento.
Unfortunately, Mr. Rimmer's health began to fail, and to the great regret of "Springs" and his admirers in Bacup, he had to relinquish for a time his honoured association with the band. The weight and character of Mr. Rimmer's influence on "Springs" is noticeable in the fact that although capable successors were found in Mr. Alex. Owen and Mr. Alf. Gray, the band did not meet with the same success as under the musical genius of Mr. Rimmer. Nevertheless, a fair number of prizes were added to their now long list, these including second at Dumfries, second .at Hawes, fourth at New Brighton, fourth at Cliviger, fifth at Wolverhampton, fifth at Newtown, fifth at Preston, and fifth at the Crystal Palace, whilst at the Belle Vue September contest they secured the fourth, a trombone, 24 medals, and the Belle Vue Medal. In 1902 the prize money realised the sum of £151-19-0.
Mr. Rimmer's condition, in the meantime, had happily improved and the following year (1903) again saw him in command of the "Springs." His influence soon began to have full effect, and it is significant to record that at the first two contests at which "Springs" were present under his baton, viz.: At Kidsgrove, and Cliviger, the Bacup band came out "top dog." The prizes (both firsts) gained at the above-mentioned places amounted the sum of £42, which was a truly magnificent commencement of an auspicious season. The bandsmen and officials took heart accordingly, and visits to other contests resulted in the band being awarded second and medal at Bacup, fifth at New Brighton, first and second at Hawes, first and cornet at Rhosllanerthrugog (Wales) first and fifty-guinea cup at Nelson, fourth at Workington, third, cornet and medal at Belle Vue. The prize money surpassed any previous year, and amounted in all to about £220.
In 1904, prizes were again won at Nelson, Cliviger, New Brighton, Crystal Palace, Kirkcaldy, and Hawes. The following year (1905), "Springs" incomparable tone and inextinguishable enthusiasm made their presence felt throughout the entire universe, the band creating the unique record of winning in the same year the chief award at Belle Vue and the Championship of Great Britain and the Colonies at Crystal Palace. The rejoicings of the townspeople can be better imagined than described. When the band came home from Belle Vue they were accorded a vociferous welcome, but the demonstration was nothing compared to that which awaited them on the arrival from the Metropolis on that memorable Monday evening. Though the time was near the bewitching hour of midnight, dense crowds of people lined the streets and the enthusiasm of all Bacup knew no bounds. The town was decorated and "en fete." The band had been engaged at concerts in London on the Sunday, and were met at Accrington the following night about nine o'clock by gaily-decorated waggonettes containing a large contingent of their supporters. The journey to. Bacup was in the nature of a triumphal procession, and all along the route large groups of people loudly acclaimed their distinctive triumph. At the Borough boundary at Thrutch, the band were given a civic welcome by the then Mayor (Alderman J. H. Maden, J.P.) and Corporation, and the cavalcade of the "conquering heroes" proceeded amid salvos of boisterous enthusiasm to the residence of Mr. Shepherd, the President, at Holmes Villa. It was a great occasion, and a fitting wind-up to a glorious season. Lovers of omens may find some consolation in the fact that the band were drawn the same number at both big events, viz.: No. 17.
The year 1905 was undoubtedly the most glorious period in the whole history of the band, and in addition to the outstanding performances just alluded to, great successes were also achieved at Darwen, where they gained the first prize; Bentham shield, baton, and two medals; second at Blackburn; first and cornet at Southport; first and cup at Nelson (where by their third successive victory the band won outright the fifty-guinea challenge trophy); fourth at Warrington; and fifth at New Brighton. A particular triumph was also achieved in 1905, the band winning no fewer than four firsts, on Whit-Friday - quite a remarkable distinction in itself. It is worthy of mention that the award at Belle Vue comprised £50 in cash, a cup valued fifty-guineas, a bombardon, and three gold medals, while at Crystal Palace the holding of the thousand-guinea trophy carried with it a cash prize of £40, a special euphonium, twenty-five bronze medals, and a first-class certificate. The prize money this year reached a stupendous sum, - an amount never previously registered, and which it is not easy to approximate in exact value.
The great success which had already been gained under Mr. Rimmer's baton had fairly enhanced his popularity both amongst the bandsmen and the Bacup public; and, as a practical tribute the Committee, on November 25th, showed their appreciation for the untiring and energetic services so devotedly rendered by Mr. Rimmer towards the band, that he was presented with a handsome silver rose-bowl: truly a well won memento for such excellent results. In the memorable year of 1905 the bandroom in Captain street, Weir, which had served its purpose well, was found to be inadequate to increasing requirements. The officials were on the look-out for more commodious premises, and ultimately the present structure was erected and opened with due enthusiasm on August 12th, the estimated cost being about £240.
The succeeding two years were inordinately quiet compared to the blare of trumpets previously experienced. It seemed as if the band was resting on its laurels, so to speak, for in 1906, only two triumphs were recorded, these being a fifth prize at Belle Vue September contest valued £10, and a sixth (valued £9-15-0) at Crystal Palace. But the true reason of non-attendance at contests, however, is to be found in the great demand which was made for the band's services in other respects. The reputation of "Springs" had been established far and wide, and engagements were "thick and heavy." In 1906 the band undertook a memorable Southern Tour, which extended from July 25th to August 26th, and included performances at most of the popular resorts of the South. The bulk of engagements left little time for rehearsals for contests, but a laudable determination to attend the big events was marked by success, though not outstanding, of creditable character.
The year 1907 likewise proved a very modest season, but the four contests the band attended at Darwen, New Brighton, Newtown and York yielded the sum of £64-5-0. A highly interesting presentation took place at the latter end of November, 1907, when the officials, committee and bandsmen showed their appreciation of the long and faithful services rendered to the band by the president (Mr. Abraham Shepherd) by presenting him with the handsome cup which had been won outright at the Nelson Contest in 1905.
The following year (1908) saw a wonderful return to notoriety as is evidenced by the following extract from a report by "Cheshire Bred" in "Brass Band News," March, 1908, regarding a Concert given by the band at St. George's Hall, Liverpool, on February 23rd: - "The moment they sounded the first two notes of the Concert (the opening to the Overture "Peace and War") they held the audience. The perfect method of attack, the compact tone, the dead tune, the perfect blend, the absolute absence of all effort rivetted the attention of the audience. The effect of those two notes was magical. "Peace and War" was the most perfectly played piece of the Concert. It is a fine ensemble piece, and Irwell Springs is the finest band in ensemble we have ever had in Liverpool - Besses, Wingates, and Dike not excepted. It was the best played opening piece we have ever had at the Sunday Concerts. Best yet. The "Balfe" Selection was also well played, the Soprano playing like an angel. All the ensemble movements were splendidly played, in fact it is a great pity that they had not a great Chorus on the programme, for this is the music above all else that this Band would shine above all others in. On behalf of Liverpool Bandsmen, I beg to thank the Band for the treat they gave us, and trust that this Concert is only the first of many more." "Springs" were again redividous and finished a notable season with the feat of once more carrying off the Crystal Palace Championship. There was no particular outward demonstration on this occasion, chiefly because the band returned home in the peaceful quiet of the Sabbath morning, but the joy of the Bacupians was nevertheless very real, and the bandsmen received numerous congratulations from many sources. A damper was also put upon the feelings of the bandsmen by the misfortune which befel a brother of the solo trombone player who had the ill-luck to fall from the railway carriage near Crewe. Fortunately, the mishap did not terminate fatally, but the circumstance had a depressing effect on his companions. By this magnificent success the bandsmen became known as "Silver Medallists," each man receiving such an emblem in recognition of this feat at the "Pallis." Besides the thousand guineas trophy and medals, a certificate, and high-class euphonium were also brought away from the famous rendezous at Sydenham. This by no means comprised the signal achievements of the band during the year. Other noteworthy triumphs were gained at New Brighton, where they carried off for the first time the handsome challenge cup, a baton, and £30 in money. Their performance at New Brighton can be best realised by appending the following letter which was received from a well-known Liverpool musician:
"Irwell Springs notes at New Brighton ought to be printed in letters of gold, and hung up framed in every house in the Bacup District. 45 years have we been following contests, and it was the most perfect performance we have ever heard. From the first note it was a winning performance, no band that ever we have heard has such a tone as "Irwell Springs" has at present - it stands alone."
Mr. Richard Stead, who was the Adjudicator, had the following remarks: No. 14. Andante maestosa: opens out stylish, and tone brilliant; everything splendid; I cannot find words to properly convey my impressions as I ought for the magnificent performance given by this combination; accompaniments, solo, and the soul-stirring music was portrayed in a magnificent manner. it is not possible that any band can always play like this. It only happens occasionally, and reminds me of a similar performance at Preston Guild by the Black Dyke Band. I do not remember ever having heard three trombones so beautifully played, and what beautiful effects can be produced when in good hands, and carefully manipulated. I shall carry this fine performance In my mind a long, long time, and although band No. 6 gave a magnificent rendering, it lacked in soul-stirring phrases and the grip which gets hold of you and keeps you spell-bound throughout the whole performance. The rich, brilliant tone was perfectly balanced, and the intonations as perfect as any music I have ever heard.
A second prize valued £25 was also.won at Newtown, a third (£30) at Newcastle, and a third (£10) at Matlock. Then, together with minor awards at Darwen, Whitworth, Shanter, Shaw, Heyside, Bradford, Shrewsbury, and the sixth award at Belle Vue (£5 and a cornet), made up a total of £146-15-0
The following year was comparatively quiet as far as contests were concerned, though the band was by no means quiescent or subdued. The lists of engagements claimed the major part of their attention, and it is safe to say that by exceptional tone quality and diligent application the band created a "name" wherever they went. In their own town an improved taste for a higher class of music was strikingly created, and has been maintained ever since. There is now no necessity to engage a professional vocalist to fill up the programme and provide additional attraction, the band being quite competent in proficiency and repertoire to exclusively provide an entertainment for even the most fastidious instrumental demands. In 1909, however, the band repeated their feat of carrying off the principal honours at New Brighton, the first prize gained here and £9 at minor events constituting the whole of the prize money gained at competitions.
The band, however, again figured Belle Vue, where they were awarded sixth prize. The topsy-turveydom of "Springs" success at Messrs. Jennison's famous grounds is a subject for frequent comment. First the band would be well up in the list; and the succeeding season placed very low. It is significant of record, however, and well worth remembering when discussions take place, that since the year 1901, "Springs" have never failed, except on three occasions (1904, 1907, and 1910) to figure in the prize list. This, of course, refers to the September contests only. The July competitions is regarded as in the nature of a preliminary or qualifying stage and it is well worth noting that after 1893, three years elapsed before they had another try. The Band was then under Mr. Rimmer, but were unsuccessful. A year later, however (1898) "Springs" were awarded Second prize and by virture of gaining a prize in July, were entitled to take part in the succeeding September event, when they were awarded the consolation prize (a set of 24 belts and pouches). In 1899 they were again unplaced, in 1900 they secured fifth, but in 1901 the Bacup lads came out winners, they were thus debarred from further competition at the July event, and as evidence of the gradual improvement which had been developing for a few years, the band signalised their entry into the charmed circle by capturing the fourth prize.
In the latter part of 1909 a very regrettable severance took place between the professional conductor and the band, Mr. Rimmer, in consequence of the acceptance of the guidance and control of the Southport Municipal Band, relinquishing his connection with all other bands. An affinity akin to the sacred attachment of David and Jonathan had grown up between the two parties, and great was the sorrow of "Springs" at losing not only the instruction but the comradeship of a truly gifted and respected musician. The officials, so unexpected was Mr. Rimmer's retirement, were for the time being somewhat in a quandary, but eventually an arrangement was come to with Mr. Walter Nuttall, for him to take sole charge and thus dispense with outside professional tuition. Mr. Nuttall took up the cudgels with commendable zeal and loyal devotion, and it is gratifying to relate that under his baton the band carried off the championship cup and two gold medals, together with £20 in money at Barnoldswick on Easter Saturday. The officials were so pleased with this particular success, that in recognition of his unselfish and untiring labours, Mr. Nuttall was presented with the handsome cup which now occupies an honoured place in his household. About this time there appeared in the local press a sonnet eulogising the bandmaster and appreciating the high standard of the band:
SAY, should we praise a man, or pass him by
Uncheered by word or smile, when day is won?
Though some it spoils to praise, he is not one;
His modest mein again would soar on high,
Inspired to greater things; his noble soul -
Of Music's realm, portrayed in Music's guise, -
Must lead; while Verdi lives, nor Weber dies,
Or Wagner's plumes raised at his fervent call.
Pillar of Rimmer's Art, whose temple brings
Perfection's far horizon close to view,
And, mounting up their rough-hewn path is "Springs,"
His cherished care: their tutor, constant, true,
Whose magic wand, in harmony impels
The sounds of charm that in the mem'ry dwells.
J.M. - Bacup.
The band also appeared at New Brighton under Mr. Nuttall, and gained the fourth prize (£12) and a first and third totalling £14 at Newtown. When the time came for the rehearsals for the annual Belle Vue and Crystal Palace contests, Mr. Nuttall found the strain of daily occupation and tutoring a musical combination such as "Springs" had become, too great a strain, and after mature consideration it was decided to engage Mr. Alex. Owen for a short spell. The latter gentleman put them through "Acis and Galatea" for Belle Vue, but "Springs" met with no reward, but at the Palace the band again secured second place after a praiseworthy effort.
Mr. Owen was retained until the end of December, 1911, which was characterised by quiet, unobservant work - little or no contesting successes being recorded - but in 1912 the band again sprang into wider prominence. The talented Mr. W. Halliwell who had rapidly come to the front in the brass band world, was engaged as professional tutor, and such an appointment proved a splendid impetus to the determination of the band. They started off with two first prizes at Burnley, valued at £18, gained the sixth prize at Belle Vue, and eclipsed the season's work by again capturing the honour of runners-up at Crystal Palace. The title of three times winners at London thus narrowly missed the grasp of "Springs" again, but, as subsequent events proved, such a veritable triumph was only resting in the lap of the gods. The officials were perfectly satisfied with the care and guidance of Mr. Halliwell, so much so that his services were immediately requisitioned for the forthcoming year.
This was destined to furnish the crowning glory to the ambitions of the bandsmen and supporters alike in the winning for the third time of the Crystal Palace Championship and thus earning the gold medals for the first time in the history of the contest. The triumph was all the more remarkable because of the changes which had taken place in the personnel of the band. The officials, particularly this year, had to contend with a full quota of vicissitude and adversity in this respect, and no fewer than seven instruments changed hands. In substantiation of this assertion, it may be pointed out that so great had been the withdrawals and removals - 75 per cent in eight years - that only eight of the competing bandsmen at Crystal Palace were adorned with the bronze, silver, and gold medals. The filling in of the vacancies incurred by the afore-mentioned migration had to be conducted with essential tact and judgement. Training had to. be exercised on sound and fruitful lines, and it speaks volumes for the attitude of the rising musicians, and the quality of the encouragement and practical advice of those in authority that the whole resuscitation, so to speak, should turn out triumphant. A victorious band is not suddenly thrust into wealthy opulence. There is much preliminary drilling, coaching, and leading, and it is a tribute to the "esprit de corps" between all concerned that the response was so brilliant and resplendent with distinction and success.
As a forerunner to the outstanding triumph at the Palace, the band gained. sixth prize (£5) at New Brighton, 3rd (£15) at Newtown, and 3rd (£20) at Belle Vue. Then it was all hands on deck for a determined effort to claim imperishable renown at the glass house at Sydenham. The test piece, as everybody knows, was Fletcher's tone poem, "Labour and Love," a musical arrangement calculated to bring out into full perspective the peculiar and outstanding traits of "Springs." How well they interpreted the spirit of the composer all the brass band world knows. Much has been written in the musical press, and many laudatory comments passed on their wonderful performance, and it can be pardonably claimed that every line was well justified. Playing No. 5, the band gave a soulful, inexpressibly effective and characteristic performance - a performance enhanced with musicianly genius and superlative feeling and taste. They were without parallel that day, as is evidenced by the closing remarks of the composer himself, speaking of the rendering by "Springs " Mr. Fletcher said: "... solid, heroic, big organ tone, wonderful attack and release: an inspiring and arresting performance with which I was delighted in every way."
After they had left the contesting stage the "Springs" bandsmen and supporters were pardonably confident, and great was the rejoicing of their followers in Bacup, when the news was flashed over the wires that "Springs" had gained the summit of their ambition.
BRAVO, SPRINGS! BRAVO!
By "Shepster" (W. Hargreaves, Bacup).
BRAVO! Well done Springs! England's champion band!
On Fame's high pedestal now you take your stand;
Won fair and square, you're foremost in the race,
Merit alone has put you in that place.
Three times you've done it, thrice this trophy won,
No other band this honour boasts, not one;
To this high point all others cast their eyes,
And own you winners of this premier prize.
Accept our greetings, all throughout this vale,
From lofty hills, o'er which the clouds oft sail;
Down its deep valleys, rolling right along,
Is heard this gladsome, welcome, greeting song.
All greet you, the aged with hoary hair,
Mingle their welcomes with the young and fair;
Schoolboys and girls know what great things you've done,
And prattling infants lisp - "Our band has won."
"Labour and Love" - so was this music named,
That brought together bands renowned and famed;
You've worked and won, and now you stand above,
You had the Labour first- now take the Love.
Oft have we read upon our history's page,
Of conquests won by war's fierce lust and rage;
But this is nobler, better far are these
Grand triumphs in this victory of peace.
Music, most sacred of all Heavenly gifts,
Angels know well thy art, their voices lift
In praises to that Being throned afar,
Who called a chorus from the morning stars.
Often when lofty eloquence has failed,
With strong and weighty words the foe assailed:
Thundering around, and filling men with fear,
It is thee - Music - that can draw the tear.
Once more then greeting, strangers may have shown
Their wealth of welcome, and you may have grown
Used to their praises, as you journeyed through,
But here's a welcome, honest, homely, true.
Your welcome here is best; raised is each voice,
In loud hurrahs! both friend and foe rejoice;
From every corner of this hill-bound land,
We proudly greet you - England's Premier Band.
A glorious reception followed, as was only to be expected after such an unprecedented triumph. The band stayed in London on the Sunday, playing at the Islington Hall, and on the Monday had the unique distinction of playing for the Marathon Gramophone Company. Starting for home shortly after noon, the bandsmen reached Rawtenstall, where they detrained about seven o'clock in evening. Here they were met by, gaily-decorated motor cars and large wagonettes containing the officials, wives, and sweethearts of the bandsmen, and their supporters. The band favoured a dense crowd in Queen's Square with a sprightly selection, and then journeyed to the residence of Colonel Craven Hoyle, at Leabank Hall, Cloughfold. At Waterfoot centre there was a boisterous display of enthusiasm; and at Rockeliffe House, the residence of the President, they were graciously received by Mr. and Mrs. Maden. The procession then proceeded along Ncwchurch Road, and Market Street - where one or two stops were made - to Holmes Villa, the residence of the late Mr. James Shepherd and Mr. Abraham Shepherd - a fitting recognition to the numerous influential kindnesses received from this quarter - and afterwards returned to the Green Man Hotel, Yorkshire Street, where they were regaled with a sumptuous supper in honour of their success. All along the route the band passed through a veritable throng of delighted and cheering lookers, and the final demonstration in Yorkshire Street was such as has never been eclipsed in Bacup. The crowd at Bull's Head Bridge, too, was estimated to be the largest concourse ever assembled there; certain it is that the sight of the sea of up-turned faces and the cries of the cheering multitude can never be erased from memory. It was a home-coming worthy of the return of warriors, as such indeed "Springs" were.
As could only be expected after such a glorious triumph, the bandsmen were several times feted, in honour of the success, by influential subscribers in the borough, and Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Maden subsequently entertained the whole of the instrumentalists, committee, and officials, together with their wives and sweethearts to a sumptuous high tea and social in the Town Hall.
The public presentation of the trophy and medals in the years 1905 and 1908 were notable functions, but were undeniably surpassed by the great event in the Court Theatre, in November, 1913. Every shade of public opinion was represented in the vast audience, and the event had the distinguished support of the Right Hon. Lewis Harcourt, M.P. for Rossendale and Colonial Secretary; Colonel Craven Hoyle, J.P. the then Mayor; Alderman J. H. Maden, J.P., C.C.; and almost the whole of the members of the Town Council; in each case the gentlemen were accompanied by their wives and lady friends. As in previous years, Mr. J. H. Iles, the Musical Director of the Crystal Palace Festivals, undertook the duty of handing over the trophy. On this occasion the Mayor received the cup and handed it to Alderman Maden as President of the band. Mr. Harcourt had the honour of presenting the medals to the bandsmen. The whole of the speeches were of a congratulatory character, and the function will ever live as one of the most memorable in the history of Bacup. One comment made by Mr. Harcourt is well worth repeating. He said: "I am glad to say that Irwell Springs have accomplished something which has never been done by any other band, and it is of the greatest interest to me as Colonial Secretary to realise that they are not only Champions of Great Britain, but of the Colonies and Dominions as well."
Suffused with renown and honours well gained, the band at once jumped into world-wide reputation, but there was another distinction yet coveted, viz.: the honour of a command performance before Their Majesties, the King and Queen. Happily the band had not long to wait for the bestowal of Royal favour, and in the succeeding all March, Rossendale was ringing with the news that "Springs" were going to play before Their Majesties at Knowsley Hall, the residence of Lord Derby. The visit of the King and Queen to Cheshire, provided a unique occasion for a performance before Royalty by the Bacup band, and such a memorable event duly came off. It was originally arranged that the band should play for one and a half hours on the 27th March, but owing to unexpected developments His Majesty had to return to London prior to that date. To avoid the disappointment which would otherwise have been experienced by the band, Lord Derby, in his ever kindly thoughtfulness re-arranged the date for the 25th, and must have done so at considerable inconvenience to himself. Considering the hurried alteration of the date and the short time at the disposal of the band, the performance was a great success. Lord Derby's own comment in a letter received, reads thus:
15 April 1914
In answer to your letter I beg to state that the Irwell Springs band played at Knowsley on Wednesday March 25th, and gave great pleasure to my guests, and I was very glad to have the opportunity of inviting them to play before Their Majesties by whom the playing was much appreciated.
Mr. Halliwell and Mr. Walter Nuttall were presented to His Majesty and both gentlemen received high congratulations on their well-deserved honour. Mr. Halliwell, a gentleman of undoubted musical fame and genial courtesy, had twice previously been presented to Their Majesties, viz.: at Crewe Hall with Messrs. Foden's Band and at Lambton Castle with St. Hilda, but Mr. Nuttall had not been so honoured, and his addition to the list of Rossendale ladies and gentlemen who had had the distinction of being presented to Royalty (during the visit the preceeding summer of the King and Queen to Lancashire) gave unbounded satisfaction.
Like Mr. Rimmer, the present professional conductor (Mr. Halliwell) has deservedly won the confidence and esteem of the bandsmen and public, and by his teaching, skill and efficiency worthily maintained the high standard of the musical qualities of the band. Under his baton "Springs" have made solid progress, and pardonably claim to be the only gold medallists and look upon him as the " King of Conductors" upon the Contesting Stage.
The ensuing period, saw the band in exceptional demand, and all previous lists of engagements were easily surpassed. Records have been created both at the English and Scottish Parks, the summer tour of the band in the last-named country being one long round of record-breaking. At other towns and cities, both in Lancashire, Yorkshire and the Midlands, great crowds of people have flocked to hear them, and everywhere the high-class quality of "Springs'" music has called forth the highest and most favourable congratulations, thus shewing what a powerful concert combination "Springs" has become.
In the summer of 1914 the band, however, sustained a great loss by the lamentable death of a sincere and respecte official in Mr. Greenwood Lord, who had held the position of Treasurer for sixteen years. Mr. Lord invariably accompanied the band at the big contests at Belle Vue and Crystal Palace, and was very well-known in brass band circles generally. His death in July caused very great regret to all who knew him. The funeral look place on July 18th and was attended by the bandsmen and officials.
One feature of the band's characteristics ought to be mentioned, viz.: their readiness to help in the cause of charity and public-spirited philanthrophy. It would be interesting to know the exact amount - (some people estimate it at £1000) which Irwell Springs have been the means of raising for charitable objects during the last twenty years. Certain it is that they have done much, and the needy assistance to the Bacup Relief Fund and the Funds in other towns during the present lamented war may be quoted as fitting examples.
The years of pertinacity and indominatable perseverance have brought glory and prestige, together with financial security and an improved taste for better class music. "Springs" have shown what a brass band can do, and no better motto could emblazon the jubilee celebrations than the appropriate: "INSTAR OMNIUM" - an example to others.
LIST OF OFFICIALS
Charles Croot & James Holland - These gentlemen held the post up to 1882
James Lord 1882 to 1887
Richard Ashworth 1887 to 1892
James Shepherd 1892 to 1900
Abraham Shepherd 1900 to 1910
J. H. Maden, J.P.,C.C. 1910 to 1914
J. Nuttall 1864 to 1871
G. Ashworth 1872 to 1878
T. Haworth 1879 to 1894
H. Nuttall 1894 to 1897
G. Lord 1898 to 1914
R. A. Law Temporary
S. Law 1864 to 1871
H. Nuttall 1871 to 1892
W. Nuttall 1892 to 1895
J. H. Law 1895 to 1901
J. Nuttall 1901 to 1914
John Lord 1864 to 1879
R. Marsden 1880 to 1881
J. Lord 1881 to 1886
Geo. Raine 1889 to 1891
Ed. Swift 1891 to 1893
W. Rimmer 1896 to 1909
W. Nuttall 1909 to 1910
A. Owen 1910 to 1911
W. Halliwell 1912 to 1914
G. Law 1864 to 1865
S. Law 1865 to 1869
W. Mitchell 1869 to 1883
W. L. Crossley 1883 to 1889
B. Lord 1889 to 1893
W. Nuttall 1893 to 1914
PRESIDENT - Ald. J. H. Maden, J.P., C.C.
CHAIRMAN - Mr. B. Lord
TREASURER - Mr. Geo. Howarth
SECRETARY - Mr. James Nuttall
Mr. John Nuttall
J. W. Waddington
Crystal Palace Winners, 1905
Test-piece "Roland a Rouncevaux", Renault
Judges - W. Reynolds, W. Short, J. Ord Hume
Soprano W. Seddon
Solo Cornet G. Nicholls
J. H. Crabtree
J. R. Eastwood
W. T. Hayhurst
Flugel Horn T. Cooper
Solo Horn J. Law
2nd Horn R. H. Priestley
3rd Horn H. S. Beswick
Solo Baritone D. Mills
2nd Baritone J. H. Law
Solo Euphonium D. Calverley
2nd Euphonium T. C. Barlow
Solo Trombone J. E. Hacking
Tenor Trombone J. W. Waddington
Bass Trombone J. Heap
Eb Bass H. S. Law
Eb Bass W. E. Whitworth
Bb Bass A. Greenwood
BBb Bass D. E. Law
Conductor: W. Rimmer
Drums, etc: W. Baldwin
Crystal Palace Winners, 1908
Test-piece "Rienzi", Wagner
Judges - Lieut. Chas. Godfrey, J. Ord Hume, W. Reynolds
Soprano W. Seddon
Solo Cornet J. N. Fairhurst
J. H. Crabtree
W. T. Hayhurst
Flugel Horn T. Cooper
Solo Horn J. R. Eastwood
2nd Horn R. H. Priestley
3rd Horn W. J. Mallett
Solo Baritone H. S. Beswick
2nd Baritone G. Reece
Solo Euphonium T. C. Barlow
2nd Euphonium T. Brennan
Solo Trombone J. E. Hacking
Tenor Trombone J. W. Waddington
Bass Trombone J. Heap
Eb Bass G. Barnes
Eb Bass S. Mills
Bb Bass A. Greenwood
BBb Bass F. Lord
Conductor: W. Rimmer
Drums, etc: W. Baldwin
Crystal Palace Winners, 1913
Test-piece - "Labour and Love", Fletcher
Judges - J. Ord Hume, Manuel Bilton, Percy E. Fletcher
Soprano W. Seddon
Solo Cornet C. Jones
W. T. Hayhurst
C. N. Blythe
Flugel Horn J. H. Crabtree
Solo Horn J. Brennan
2nd Horn W. J. Mallett
3rd Horn R. H. Priestley
Solo Baritone R. Aspin
2nd Baritone R. Dearden
Solo Euphonium T. Brennan
2nd Euphonium A. Goddard
Solo Trombone H. S. Beswick
Tenor Trombone J. W. Waddington
Bass Trombone J. Aspin
Eb Bass G. Barnes
Eb Bass L. Worswick
Bb Bass J. Rothwell
BBb Bass L. Nuttall
Conductor: W. Rimmer
Drums, etc: J. Pritchard
An historical sketch of this description would be incomplete were not some reference made to the long and faithful services of both of officers and bandsmen. There have been many who have stood steadfastly by the band, in days of ill and good report, in season and out of season. In the earlier stages of its existence amongst those who, by worthy self-sacrifice and untiring energy rendered yeoman service in the interests of the organisation, may be mentioned Mr. Moses Proctor, who played tenor horn and served upon the committee; Richard Law (BBb and committee); Ashworth Maden (EB and committee); E. Calverley (solo, euphonium and committee); J. F. Cooper (Flugel horn and committee); T. Haworth (tenor trombone and treasurer); J. Kershaw (drummer and committee); L. Hey (cornet and committee); O. Lord (solo tenor horn and committee); John Nuttall (baritone and committee); Greenwood Lord (instrumentalist and treasurer); F. Clark (committee); David Taylor (committee); and others, amongst whom should be. mentioned Mr. George Humphries, senr., and Mr. George Humphries, jnr. , the former of whom was ever willing to do any little service within his power, and the latter of whom acted in the capacity of bandmaster from October, 1894, to 1895.
There are many still in office who have been connected with the band for long years and amid varying periods of vicissitudes of fortune, have seen "Springs" attain to the summit of its career and ambition. In this connection reference is due to such men as Messrs. Ben Lord (chairman of committee), James Nuttall (Secretary), John Nuttall, J. W. Waddington, and R. Eastwood.
Amongst the "long service" playing members of the band should be mentioned the following, in addition to the bandmaster: Messrs. J. Crabtree (24 years), R. H. Priestley (22 years), W. Seddon (15 years), W. T. Hayhurst (15 years), J.W. Waddington (14 years), H. S. Beswick (11 years) and S. Holgate (10 years).
The Committee desire to put on record their thanks and appreciation of the generosity and influence of Mr. Abraham Mitchell, who is resident in Scotland, for his interest in procuring the band's engagement in the "land 'o cakes" last summer and for entertaining "Springs" during their three days' stay "over the border" on that occasion.
A circumstance well worthy of record is the list of successive engagements enjoyed by "Springs" at various places. Amongst these must be placed the one at Edenfield, where for eighteen consecutive years the band was requisitioned to play for the Irwell Vale Primitive Methodists, and another at Newhey, where the band has had nine successive yearly engagements for the Ogden Baptist Sunday School. The unique continuity of these engagements conclusively prove the popularity of "Springs" and the appreciation which their music and general good conduct have engendered.
As will be readily conceded, that popularity has inestimably been enhanced during later years. The stupendous success at the great musical events of the past few years has won an honoured place in the musical world, and as a consequence the band has been in great demand for concerts, etc. The amount of official correspondence in this connection, as will be readily imagined, has increased enormously. Happily, "Springs" possess a most energetic, painstaking and reliable secretary in Mr. James Nuttall, who has officiated in that capacity for 13 years with credit to himself and satisfaction to the committee and public. Mr. Nuttall's diligence and courtesy in the secretarial position and has won universal respect and esteem.
As a closing word, the officials, committee, and bandsmen would once again return their heartiest thanks to the employers of labour in the district for their cheerful interest and mutual helpfulness. Without their kindly indulgence and sympathetic co-operation in readily allowing the men leave of absence from their daily tasks, many of the band's engagements could not have been successfully fulfilled, and much of its renown would have remained unaccomplished. "Springs" are greatly indebted to local employers of labour, and the obligation is all the more readily acknowledged when the ungrudging spirit of the manufacturers and others is remembered. The committee trust that such mutual and amicable feeling may abound for long years to come. They would also tender a renewed sense of indebtedness to the leading gentlemen of the neighbourhood and the public generally for their material support, and cordially acknowledge the musicianly influence and numerous acts of beneficient helpfulness rendered by Mr. Matthew Barcroft, who has followed the career of the band with almost fatherly devotion and unceasing interest.
As a public institution the officials and all concerned hope they may always be deserving of the confidence which is merited by faithful examples of service and a cheerful recognition of and response to the claims of the community.