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The First Brass Band Contest at Belle Vue, Manchester
5th September 1853



Some weeks previous to the contest Mr. Jennison issued a proposition to the leaders of Brass Bands in Lancashire, Yorkshire and Cheshire to compete for a series of prizes under certain regulations. Amongst them was that each band should at the time of entry deposit 1, that no professional should perform, that the selection of tunes should be left to the discretion of each and that the number of performers in each band should not be less than ten. Mr. Jennison contributed 20 towards the prize fund which was further increased by the whole of the entrance money and thus divided :-

1st = 16
2nd = 6
3rd = 4
4th = 2

8 Bands entered viz:
  1. Dewsbury - 11 performers - Leader: Joseph Auty
  2. Bramley Temperance - 18 performers - Leader: Joseph Judson
  3. Woodside, Halifax - 13 performers - Leader: James Settle
  4. Saddleworth - 12 performers - Leader: John Harrison
  5. Newton Bridge Print Works, Hyde - 16 performers - Leader: James Ainsworth
  6. Mossley Temperance Sax Horn - 10 performers - Leader: William Taylor
  7. Nantwich, Cheshire - 11 performers - Leader: Thos. Hassal
  8. Bury - 12 performers - Leader: James Binns
Each set of performers played twice during the contest, amongst the selection was Hallelujah Chorus, Overture to Tancredi by the Halifax Band - Woodside and The Heavens are telling by Bramley and Mossley Bands.

Judges:
Mr. Oakden - Bandmaster - Royal Dragoons.
Mr. Ellwood - Bandmaster to Earl of Ellesmere.
Mr. Dowinglate - Bandmaster - 21st. Regiment.

Whilst the Judges were considering, the United Bands (100 instruments) played God Save the Queen. Such an effect I never witnessed. The people rose and stood uncovered. Mr. Greenwood of Liverpool Zoological Gardens conducted.

Judges awarded prizes as follows :-

1st Mossley
2nd Dewsbury
3rd Bramley
4th Bury

Then followed the fireworks "Seige of Seringapatam".