This page is part of an archive of historical details from existing or defunct brass band websites. This is being maintained to provide a record of this information in the event of a band folding, its website disappearing or other loss of the historical record. Where possible, and appropriate, the information cached will be updated from time to time - and any corrections or updates are welcome.
Hetton Silver Band
The Hetton Silver Band was founded on April 1st 1887 by three members of a public house band. They invited local musicians to a meeting in Hetton Union Street Methodist Church School. The very first conductor was Mr W Straughan – a violinist and trombone player.
Between then and 1907 the band won numerous local contests but their real success began in 1908 when they won both the Durham and Northumberland Brass Band championship and the English and Scottish International Contest.
More successes came in 1912 with the winning of the Grand Shield at Crystal Palace. On this occasion the band had the services of the famous cornet and trumpet player, Jack Mackintosh, who later became the principal cornet player with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. It is reported that his engagement with Hetton Silver Band was his first impact on the brass band world. He was in fact deputising for the bands principal cornet player and played in the contest after only one rehearsal!
It is believed that during 1912 the Band Hall was built. This still stands today and was in regular use by the band until 2009. The land on which the Band Hall was built was purchased from Hetton Coal Company for £25.00. This was not the first place the band used for their practices: a tin hut was built on the same site a few years before and in 1912 the present building was erected around it. Then the tin hut was dismantled and brought out through the doors of the new building!
The band had strong links with the Mining Industry and played for the Eppleton Miners Lodge in the Durham Miners Gala.
In 1914 the band were winners of the 2nd section at Belle Vue in Manchester and from then up to the outbreak of the Second World War enjoyed some successes including making a radio broadcast in 1926 from Newcastle Radio Station.
During the Second World War the band continued to practice, albeit with much depleted numbers, and play for war charities and parades.
After the war there was a repeat of the success of 1914 when the band again won the 2nd Section at Belle Vue in 1947. Two members of the band, Mr E Patterson and Mr J Bennett had played in both contests and Mr Patterson continued his membership of the band until his death in 1961. For 33 of those years he was the secretary of the band.
During the years after this the band experienced a series of lows and highs but in the seventies and eighties gradually moved up from the 4th section to play in the Championship section.
In 1994 and unfortunately back in section 3 Ken Wheatley was asked at 10 days notice to conduct the band at the CISWO Finals in Blackpool. Against all the odds the band won and when the result was announced a huge roar rang round the Empress Ballroom. Just seven days later another 1st place was forthcoming at the Camerons Brewery Contest in Hartlepool.
In 2002 Ken Wheatley almost repeated the feat of 1994 only this time coming second.
The band continued to compete under the baton of Ken Wheatley who retired from conducting in 2007 and sadly died in 2010.
In 2009 the remaining members of the band had to face up to the fact that it was impossible to continue as they were and merged with another local band to become Durham Miners Association Brass Band. The Band Hall, now redundant, was offered to Beamish Museum which is planning a 2 year project, starting in the autumn of 2010, to remove the hall from its present site and rebuild and restore it to its former glory at Beamish Museum.