Brass Band People 
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Brass Band People

Here are recorded brief biographical notes, or links to other pages, about people who have been part of the brass band movement over the last 150 years. From the humblest village band player to the famous and infamous! Dead or alive! Any submissions of information or suggestions are very welcome.

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See also Your Ancestors for details of people/bands and genealogical queries
See also Vintage People Pictures for images of early bandsmen (largely unnamed)
See also Extinct Brass Bands for information on bands which are no more.
See also Brass Bands Genealogy for information on current bands' dates of origin and name changes
See also Vintage Brass Band Pictures for images of early brass bands

Alford, Kenneth J.

Allison, Louis (cornet)

Allder, Bobby
Edward Henry Allder (1874-1951). He was known throughout the brass band world as "Bobby" - although his gravestone in Barkingside Cemetery spells his nickname as "Bobbie"). I regularly visit his grave, as Barkingside Cemetery (South Side) adjoins Holy Trinity Church (where I am the Organist). I have quite a bit of information about him, plus photographs and a few Brass Band Programmes. Also my great uncle "Bill" (William Edward Allder) wrote a history.
Briefly, he left "Callander's" Cable Works Band and went to Ilford St John. Ilford St John changed it's name to Ilford Silver Prize Band. Then he went on to Romford Borough Band which he was bandmaster of, up to the time of his death. He was also an adjudicator at Brass Band Contests. I'm told that he could "knock spots" off of Harry Mortimer when competing with him at contests. The Allder Family and the Mortimer Family were good friends - including Fred Mortimer, Harry's father. Apparently Bobby used to win so many medals at band contests that he would throw the medal to the crowd after winning it! He also had quite a sense of humour. He also did not suffer fools gladly - there's the story of a council official who had been rude to him at Ilford Town Hall. Bobby waited for him until he came out after work, and knocked him flying down the steps of the Town Hall.
Bobby's sons were in the band. Edward Robert Samuel Allder (Cornet), William Edward Allder (Euphonium), Joseph Frederick Allder (Tenor Horn), Leonard Thomas Allder (Cornet). I think also that Harold Ernest Allder was too. But I don't think George Henry Allder was - I'm not sure, his daughter Julie would know, I'll have to ask her. About twenty years ago my father Ted Allder donated a cup to the Southern Counties Brass Band Association in memory of Bobby. I formerly presented it on behalf of the Allder Family at a Contest in Fulham, and as far as I am aware, the cup is still in circulation.
Submitted by his great grandson, Bob Allder

Anderson, Joan
Joan Anderson. Click for larger pictureBandsmen from all over the country congregated at the Crystal Palace, London, for the annual National Band Contest. Seven year old Joan Anderson of Feltham, whose father is in the Staines United Temperance Band, of which she is the mascot.
(early 1930s?)

Appleton Family
Joseph Appleton born in 1849 in Haydock was a gifted musician and a Bandmaster. His oldest son William Appleton born in 1872 in Rainford was a Bandmaster by the time he was 19 years old. William also played the cornet as did his brother, Albert although Albert obviously also played the Tenor Horn and Euphonium from the Photographs of Ashton in Makerfield and Taber Mine Bands. William Appleton was indeed the founder and first Conductor of Harworth Colliery Brass Band and I believe his Great Great Grandson, Warren Rose, still plays with the band.
William Appleton was born 4 Jun 1872 in Rainford, Lancashire. At the age of 19 he became the youngest ever Bandmaster in England when he became Bandmaster of Skelmersdale Silver Prize Band. He was a coal miner and a talented solo cornet player. All of his brothers were brass players too. He lived in Skelmersdale, St Helens and Ashton-in-Makerfield and after three of his younger brothers and both of his sisters went to Canada he and his family moved to Thurnscoe before 1924 and soon after to Harworth working at the collieries. All of William's sons played in Harworth Band, Joseph, Seth, William and John Appleton. William Appleton went on to become the Musical Director of Thorsby Colliery Band. John went to Australia and he and his family played/play in Brass Bands there.

Item on this siteArban, Jean Baptiste

Arban, Jean Baptiste (1825-1889)

Baker, Gordon
Click for larger pictureThe family and friends of Gordon Barker, together with the members of Raunds Temperance Band joined at Kettering Crematorium to say a final farewell to Gordon in the only possible way – with a pure brass band sound filling the chapel with hymns and some well loved music. Gordon has been a member of the same band for 65 years which is something of a record in banding circles, in fact he was presented with a special award by the brass band association after serving 60 years. He joined the band as a youngster in the early 1940's and you could always rely on Gordon being there when the baton dropped for a rehearsal or concert. Over the years Gordon has experienced some successful and exciting times through the achievements of the band, together with the times when the band has gone through leaner times, but he has always been a dedicated player. Gordon epitomised what true banding is all about. He was a gentle, kind and talented man who was devoted to his family, his band and his garden (often providing band members with vegetables grown in his garden and which were superfluous to his family's requirements). Though developing diabetes in later years, Gordon could always be seen in the streets of Raunds on a Tuesday and Thursday carrying his large brass instrument up to the practice room. Submitted by Lynda Johnson

Barnes, Julie
Julie Barnes. Click for larger picture"Miss Wingates Temperance Band" - 1973.

Barr, Willie (cornet) 1926 -

Baxendell, Thomas (1823-1909) - Founder of Baxendale's Band (Denton Original Band)

Beare, Alfred (1824-1903)
After service with the 1st Battalion 8th Foot The King's Regiment in India 1850 to1859, Alfred Beare returned to Yeovil, his birthplace, where he became bandmaster of the Yeovil Town Band from 1870 until he retired at the age of 72 in 1896. Alfred Beare possessed a degree of musical expertise because he wrote 11 of the 13 pieces which the band played during its first recorded public performance at Montacute House in September 1870. When he took over Yeovil Town Band in 1870, he replace Sergeant Pandy as bandmaster, who was reported as having the option of resigning or of retaining his rank as Sergeant of the band. The bandsmen at that time had signed an agreement at the beginning of each year which bound them to play under none other than Mr Pandy. Because of this agreement eight bandsmen were struck off the roll and handed in their instruments and uniforms.
See Alfred Beare Timeline for a fascinating insight into his life, and including the recent memorial trophy.
Submitted by Margaret Wilkinson.

Bent Brothers - Benjamin, Arthur, Fred and Tom - well known cornet and trumpet soloists

Berry, Fred [?-1953]
Born in Honley. He played the euphonium and was a conductor. He played with many local brass bands before joining Clifton Band in 1910. In 1929, he joined Brighouse & Rastrick Band and conducted until 1932 when William Halliwell took over

Item on this site Billam, James (b. 1876) - Solo Cornet, Kingston Mills Band

Item on this siteBlack and White of the Brass Bands - various personalities from the 1930s

Item on this site Birkinshaw, George Frederick

Brown, Gilber "Gilly" (1904 - 1970)
Click for larger picturePlayed euphonium & tenor in several Durham bands. Played in Wallsend band until 1938, when he moved his family to Chopwell. He played in Chopwell Colliery Band untill being appointed bandmaster in the late 1940s. Became Bandmaster at Brandon Colliery in the mid 50s, then on to Esh Winning in the late 50s.He was bandmaster at Morrison Busty (Anfield Plain) until his death in 1970.
Submitted by Dennis Purvis.

Byers, Ben
Ben Byers was a member of Wingates Temperance Band until 1934 when he left to join Munn and Feltons Band in Kettering. Whilst with Wingates Band, he was principal trombonist, and was the first to play the famous 'Joker' trombone solo. There were only six '78' records cut, and one still exists with his family. He also had 5 other brothers in the band, who went on to join Besses o' th' Barn Band, and Crosfields Perfection Soap Works Band in Warrington. Submitted by his grand-daughter Julie Goodman, Kettering, Northants

Carter, Cecil
The Gislingham Silver Band is the only village band remaining in the county of Suffolk. Its stalwart member is 88-year-old trombonist Cecil Carter and a 100-page colour paperback is available as a popular edition of a 'This is Your Life' style book presented to him in December 2001. Cecil joined the Band as a young man because he fancied the daughter of one of the bandsmen. She later became his wife. The Band needed a trombonist and he taught himself to play the instrument from an instruction book - there was no one who could give him any tuition. From that time onwards, the Band became a vital part of his life. He says: "In December 1998, I decided to retire as Secretary, a job I'd been doing since 1932, but of course I didn't pack in my trombone playing with the Band. I've managed to get through three trombones since I started playing in 1929. I don't think I'll be buying a new one. My first trombone cost me three pounds and ten shillings. The last one I bought was in 1980. It cost me £218. Today, I note on John Myatt's Brass Instrument Specialists price list, that a Bb trombone would cost me £700. "I don't think I've improved much over the years, but I've enjoyed performing and seeing our Band continue and strengthen at a time when so many of the other Brass Bands have closed through lack of support. Over the years we have never been too ambitious. We have never entered the world of Brass Band Competitions, but have achieved a great sense of satisfaction from enjoying what we play, in the company of like-minded people. Our small Band Room too has been a great asset and our charges have remained realistic. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why we are still in existence."
The book is: Cecil Carter and the Gislingham Band - Greenridges Press, June 2002, ISBN: 1902019040

Item on this site Cassel, Harry

Catelinet, Philip - Composer

Clarke, Herbert Lincoln (1867-1945) - How I became a cornetist

Cook, Henry Arthur
Was a well known brass bandsman from the 1920's to the 50's. On the B Flat bass he won countless solo contests all over England, and played for Munn and Felton's, Black Dyke Mills etc. In 1926 he worked as a salesman for the Premier Drum Company.
[From The Musical Progress and Mail] - Wood Green Player's Success at Deal Contest.
Click for larger picture On Saturday 19th December, 1936, a party of eight Wood Green bandsmen made the trip to Deal to compete in the solo contest. Mr. Henry Cook, their BBb bass player, had a very successful day in securing the first prize and the bass medal. The adjudicator, Mr. Harry Smith, of Canterbury, said that he had found no difficulty in making the award as the winner was in a class on his own. After the presentation of the prizes, the audience insisted on Mr. Cook making a speech and performing the winning solo again. Mr.Cook played a new " Boosey and Hawkes " Imperial model BBb bass. This success brings his total of solo contest prizes to fifteen in number.
[From The Musical Progress and Mail]
Wood Green Excelsior Band is very hard at work now, having just launched a Coronation appeal for a new instrument fund, and all the band's officials are busy thinking out schemes and ways to raise the necessary finance required to purchase the badly needed instruments. Mr. W. L. Dolling, the worthy B.M., is making great efforts this winter with many rehearsals, to make the band a force in the association contests next summer. A very happy visit was made by the band to Sheringham, Norfolk, on Sunday, 6th September 1936 last, where it joined forces with Sheringham Temperance Band in giving two massed concerts on the East Promenade to large audiences. Both bands also gave solo items. An esteemed old friend in Mr. W. J. Price, L.R.A.M., went with them, and conducted some of the items. The arrangements were carried out by Mr. Henry Cook (Wood Green), and Mr. W. Rawlings (Sheringham). The annual quartet and solo contest is being held on Saturday 27th March,1937, when a large entry is anticipated; the secretary is Mr.A.G. Gaywood, 76, Shrewsbury Road, N.11.
[The British Bandsman of June 7th.1941] - Broadcasting Notes - Brass Brevities
Henry Cook in Munn & Felton's uniform in 1938 with his son, Charles. Click for larger picture We have to approach the bass solo performance of H.Cook on Friday evening May 30th., from two angles. First the merit of the recital as an exposition of how to play the BBb-flat bass and secondly, the value of the performance as a public entertainment. Our bass players are fine fellows and generally get too little praise for their work. On Friday night the sterling merit of the soloist could not be questioned. To sustain a fifteen-minute solo period of this calibre without fault is some accomplishment and to produce all the degrees of volume, the beautiful round and mellow tone which characterized this performance is to be possessed of technical equipment of the highest order. Henry Cook, Editor of Brass Band Review, presenting the Pleasley Colliery Challenge Cup to Kibworth Silver Band. Click for larger picture Close proximity to the microphone exposes the slightest lip faults and for this reason it would be better if the bigger instruments were kept a little more distant. The B.B.C. do not stage every item on their programme entirely for entertainment. Interest, enlightenment and education are also provided. So to those of you like some of my friends for whom the bass is very poor entertainment I would suggest that they give consideration to that large audience of people who enjoy programmes possessing interest and rarity value. There is one thing certain that all bandsmen listening enjoyed this show; for solos from this instrument are so rare that a great deal of discussion is provoked in band rooms and other meeting places after such an interesting event. Henry Cook himself deserves congratulations for a fine piece of work. In addition to his well-known ability as a bass player I happen to know him to be a particularly unassuming and capable fellow who has migrated to Coventry Colliery from Edmonton Borough via Munn and Feltons and the British Bandsman wishes the best of luck in his new home.
Submitted by his son, Charles Cook.

Cowley, John Henry (1880-1937)
He formed the Walsall LMS Band and played Solo Trombone for them. His son, Norman Cowley, also played trombone for them as well. John Cowley was born in Rugby April 1880 and died on 13th August 1937 of cardiac failure, pleurisy, tumour of the lung & diabetes. He won many medals for his solo playing in test pieces – which are still with his family. He won many solo contests as well during this time and played up against the best players in there day - Jack Macintosh and Harry Mortimer to name but a couple. Norman Cowley used to recall a tale of when the band were going to a contest, Harry Mortimer was taking the band, and in that particular piece there was a Trombone Solo and John Cowley kept putting the part on his son's stand. Harry Mortimer said "John, what is going on with you two? I have had enough of this swapping parts between you two when we come to the trombone solo!" Norman replied, "Mr Mortimer, my Dad has said I can play it better than him, but I do not want to play it in case I come in wrong." Harry Mortimer replied "OK then, try it" and Norman did with no problem. Harry Mortimer said, "I can't see what the problem is, you will play it at the contest, all I will do is point to you". The day of the contest it all went to plan.
Submitted by his great grandson, Ian Perks.

Dawkins, James Henry - Founder of Romford Town Band

Item on this site East, Warren (b. 1849) - Bandmaster, Kettering Town Band

Item on this site Eaton, Joseph - Solo horn, Batley Old Band

Edwards, Jimmy - Bold as Brass: Raising the Wind with Jimmy Edwards

Item on this site Edwards, Thomas Christmas (b. 1860) - Eb Soprano, Llanelly Town Band

Evans, Brian (1943-2005)
Born in Oldham. At the age of 12, he played principal cornet with Chadderton & District Band - playing the national finals wearing short trousers. He moved to Barton Hall Works Band and Manchester CWS Band where he met Alex Mortimer who introduced him to the soprano cornet for which Brian became famous. He won the North of England Slow Melody competition for 2 years in succession. He later went to Fairey Aviation Band, then British Vita Band, then Brighouse & Rastrick. In 1977, he featured on the Brighouse & Rastrick's recording of The Floral Dance. He then moved to the Black Dyke Mills Band, Versatile Brass, Dobcross Band, Wingates Band [1985] later British Aerospace Wingates Band. He was also a member of the Hammonds Sauce Band, later the Yorkshire Building Society Band. He gave many solo performances, and also played with the Kings of Brass, and his own group, Scratch Brass. He was a highly-respected musician, and is said to have been the best soprano cornet player there has been. A recording of his solo music - entitled Dedications - is available on record, cassette and CD

Item on this site Evans, Frank (b. 1873) - Solo Horn, Kettering Town Band

Item on this site Falkner, Arthur (b. 1871) - Solo Trombone, Kettering Town Band

Item on this siteFirth, Edwin

Firth, Edwin

Firth, Greenwood (1832-1912)
[from his obituary in 1912] - Mr. Firth became a member of the Black Dike Band as far back as 1855, and retained a prominent place in it until 1879. He was then succeeded as solo trombone by Mr. Edwin Stead. It is a coincidence that these two trombonists so closely identified with the band and the same instrument should die within so short a time of each other.
The only member of Black Dike Band now living who joined before the 'sixties is Mr. Rushworth, who is now living in retirement at Harrogate. He joined in 1860, and took the place of an instrumentalist who resigned six weeks before a big contest in which Black Dike was engaged. Mr. Rushworth filled the vacancy, and the band came triumphantly out of the contest.
The late Mr. Greenwood Firth had twenty-four years' service with the band and was a fine trombone player. After leaving Black Dike he played for Wyke, Bradford Borough, and Buttershaw Mills. He was with Black Dike when they won the championship at the Crystal Palace. He was a warpdresser by trade and for some years worked at the Queensbury Mills and aftewards in Bradford. Up to his death there were three generations of Firths connected with the band.

Firth, Squire (b. 1889)
Squire Firth was born at the well-known musical place of Queensbury, near Bradford on June 12th, 1865. His father, Mr. Greenwood Firth (b. 1832), is one of the oldest bandsmen at the present day, and played Trombone with the famous Black Dyke Band for 23 years, and is playing at the present time. Whilst very young our subject was put to learn music under the talented Cornet Soloist and teacher, the late G. F. Birkinshaw, and at the age of 15 started playing Solo Cornet with the Great Horton Brass band. He made very rapid progress as a Cornet player, and began solo Cornet contesting, winning several money prizes, and also a Besson Cornet at Thurlstone, near Penistone, against most of the noted Cornet players. He was engaged to play Solo Cornet with the Earby Brass Band, for which he played two years, after which he had an engagement with the Lindley Brass Band. He followed his position as Solo Cornet player for twelve months, and afterwards, was re-engaged as solo cornet player and bandmaster for two years. He next took charge of Skipton Brass Band as bandmaster, and it was during his stay with the band that Mr. Firth began to make a name for himself, taking the band in 1895 to the Champion Contest at the Agricultural Hall, London, and scoring fifth prize. In 1896 they attended Nelson and Carlisle contests, and secured third and fourth prizes respectively, and also numerous other prizes.
Towards the end of 1896 the Leeds City Brass Band, from amongst 13 applicants, engaged Mr. Firth, and the marvellous success that has been attained by this band under Mr. Firth's direction speaks splendidly for his abilities as a teacher.
Mr. Firth is also very clever with the pen and scores all his selections. He has several more bands under his care, and will, without doubt, bring them to the front, if they will only be guided by him. Mr. Firth, being formerly in the hotel business (he was landlord of the Wheatsheaf Inn in Skipton), has now given it up, owing to the demands made upon his services for teaching, and also his solo cornet work.

See also Edwin Firth

Fuller, William Robert (b. 1889)
Played trumpet in the army. He was with 20th London Reg Queens Own, also 34th Queens Own R.W.K. He was secretary of Deptford Borough Band. Played dance music at Brixton Skating Rink . He played Trumpet, Cornet, Piano, Organ, Violin, One string fiddle, Mandolin + Swanee Whistle . He played the Messiah at the Royal Albert Hall at least 3 times. He was considered the 3rd best in the country and was a friend of the great Harry Mortimer. See this picture of band members, with William Fuller holding the mascot cat.
Submitted by his grandson, Tony Huggins

Item on this site Giles, Thomas - Legendary S. A. Cornet Soloist

Gray, Simon
My father worked at Reynolds & Son Chapel St. Salford around the 40s/ 50s/60s. He was the electrosilverplater of the brass instruments. I spent many a day at the Brass Band Contests at Belle Vue Manchester. He always took us down to see the bands in the Whit Walks in Manchester.
Submitted by his daughter, Moira Murray

Item on this site Hales, Edward

Hall, R.B. - "The New England March King"

Halliwell, William

Heaton, Wilfred - the Wilfred Heaton Trust

Item on this site Higginbottom, Gordon

Hitchen, George Major
George Major Hitchen was a conductor in a few South Yorkshire bands - Barnsley Borough, Wombwell Temperance, Houghton Main, Wombwell Town, also Spalding Town Band. He won many competitions and prizes at Belle Vue and the Crystal Palace. His own instrument was the euphonium.
Submitted by Allan Addy.

Hoffnung, Gerard

Holden, Angus
Angus Holden. Click for larger pictureAngus Holden. Click for larger picture
Conductor of Hebburn Colliery Band, winners of the National Championships in 1904. Seen here with the 1000 Guineas Trophy won on that occasion.

Howe, Arthur Walter Curzon
He was born in 1880 in Bow London and served with the Welsh Regiment in early life as a boy drummer, and subsequently in World War 1 as Quartermaster Sergeant. He and his wife Elsie had some music hall connections at some stage, possibly touring between 1911 and 1914. It is said that he was at one time Bandmaster to Lord and Lady Willingdon. He is also said to have been bandmaster for a number of well know colliery and other bands (specifically in the Leeds or general Yorkshire area). Certainly, when he died in 1938, he was bandmaster of the Skegness Excelsior Silver Prize Band.

Hughes, Sam - A lament for the last great ophicleidist

Item on this site Hullett, Harry (b. 1867) - Soprano Cornet, Kettering Town Band

Iles, John Henry (Belle Vue Personalities)

Item on this site Jackson, B.D. (b. 1841) - Conductor, Batley Old Band, Adjudicator

Jacob, Gordon (1895-1984) - Composer

Jacobs, Arnold - Arnold Jacobs Society

Jeffrey, George and Caleb
George Jeffery was tenor horn with the Hastings & St Leonards Gospel Temperance Band, which ceased to exist well before WW2. He also played in the Hastings 1 (later Hastings Citadel) Salvation Army Band. Caleb, one of his sons, was the bandmaster and went to prison when the Salvation Army were persecuted for holding open air services on the beach. If you've seen "Brassed Off" when Pete Postlethwaite is in hospital and the band play outside wearing their miners helmets, Brighton Congress Hall SA band actually cycled out to Lewes and played hymn tunes by the light of carbide cycle lamps outside the prison to keep Caleb's spirits up. He wore his Bandmaster's uniform to prison before he had to change into prison clothing. One of George Jeffery's other sons, Tom, was the bandmaster of Hastings 2 (Silverhill) band.
Submitted by Gordon Waters.

Johnston, Derek
Derek Johnston late father of Derek, Teresa & Christopher Leon. A fantastic Conductor & band trainer sadly left this world in 1998. Having a very successful Brass Band career, conducting such bands as, Camborne Town, St Austell, Redruth, St Keverne, Cresswell Colliery, Rossington Colliery, Thurcroft Main and Dinnington Colliery. Thank you for the music!

Jones, Rowland (euphonium) 1912-1978

Keen-Hopkins, William Victor
William Victor Keen-Hopkins, born 1887, Blockley, Worcestershire, was a member of the Blockley Brass Band c.1900 with brothers Edwin, Sidney and Jim - also members of the band were his relatives Charles and Alfred Figgures.

Kershaw, William
b. 1875 Murrurundi, Australia, d. 1950 Sydney. He was taken to the gold fields at an early age by his father. He became a miner and Bandmaster in Emmaville, then worked as a clerk for the Glen Innes Council as well being Bandmaster for the Glen Innes Silver Brass Band for many years.

King, James
Born 1809 in Dublin, died 1888 in Derby. Enlisted in the Royal Staff Corps in 1821 aged 13 as a bugler, then joined the 5th Dragoon Guards in 1829-1850 when he was medically/discharged in Longford Ireland, due to injuries to his legs, his papers state he was the Bandmaster. I have since found that he was a prolific Composer of Military Music having penned well over 40 pieces, all of which are held by the British Library. I have bought 4 compositions to date, with the aim to have his music brought back to life, as our local Chester Brass Band have examined the music and have offered to have it re-arranged to be played by the Band. I have also discovered he was the Bandmaster for the Derbyshire Yeomanry 1863-1870. James' 4 sons were also accomplished musicians. Submitted by B.Wilton-King
King, Karl - Circus Bandleader and March King

Kirkby, Joseph (1879-1910)
It is with the most profound regret & sorrow we record the death of Mr. Joseph Kirby of Freckleton St., Kirkham, which sad event took place at the Moss Side Fever Hospital, on Saturday after a brief illness. Ever since it became known of the dangerous character of the disease with which he was afflicted, there were numerous anxious inquiries day by day, by a host of friends in the town and surrounding districts. When the sad news was announced on Saturday, it cast quite a gloom over the whole community, and where ever there were two or three gathered together, it became the sole topic of conversation. But amidst all the genuine manifestations of sorrow that was expressed, there was a tinge of melancholy satisfaction to hear his many virtues and good qualities, extolled by his vast number of friends, in plain but homely language and deep sympathy; that genuine sorrow which must have been in the poet's mind when he wrote "To live in hearts we love is not to die." The deceased, by his genial disposition and exceedingly kindly nature, was a very great favourite with all with whom he came in contact, and his memory will always be revered by them. To the bereaved widow and children and all the relatives the most sincere sympathy is extended. The deceased had for several years, been one of the most prominent members of the Kirkham Subscription Prize Brass Band, and was one of the best trombone players in the country, having won prizes at Blackpool, Wigan and elsewhere. The interment took place in the churchyard of the Kirkham Parish Church, the remains being borne to their last resting place by members of the band. The bells at the Parish Church were muffled. It was at the express wish of Mr. Kirby that the band did not play at the funeral, but it is stated they will render sacred selections at the graveside on Sunday afternoon. There was a large number of mourners, and wreaths were sent by the band, Mr. & Mrs. Carter, Mr. & Mrs. A. Sharples, Mr. & Mrs. J. Brown, Mr. & Mrs. H. Kirby, Mr. & Mrs. J. Hudson, and other friends. The flag at the Kirkham Social Club was hoisted half mast in respect to the deceased. Copy of appreciation on the death of Mr. J. Kirby age 30 years of Kirkham, died March 6th 1910

Laycock, Arthur [1887-1929]
Born in Todmorden. He was a well-known cornet and trombone player. He was the son of Thomas and Mary [né'e Sutcliffe] Laycock. After his 9th birthday, his parents bought him a second-hand cornet, and arranged for him to visit Arthur Hirst, the conductor of the local Cornholme Band, for private lessons. He gained considerable fame with various brass bands in the district and around Britain. At the outbreak of World War I, he joined the 16th Durham Light Infantry and played in the regimental band. Later, he suffered facial burns from a domestic accident - when he tried to take a flaming chip pan outside - and Harry Mortimer had to deputise for him. Harry remembers Arthur as an immaculate, if pedantic, man paying painstaking attention to his appearance and to his playing, and was once heard to say Perhaps one day I might be as good a cornet player as Arthur Laycock to which someone replied "Yes, you might, but you will never look as well-dressed as he does."

Mann, Joseph
Was born in Mixenden, Halifax about 1823 and moved to Shaw, nr Oldham, in the mid 1850s because he was invited to start a brass band by a cotton company called A & A Crompton. Submitted by his great great grand-daughter Biddy Foster

Metcalfe, Henry James
Henry James Metcalfe, was active in brass bands, composing & publishing in Wolverhampton for about 30 years until his death in 1906. He also ran a journal for at least 16 years, and printed that and his own music in his own house. He actually did get listed in the back of Algernon Rose's 'Talks With Bandsmen' (~1895?). Submitted by his great great grand-son Norman Field

Item on this site Morgans, Tom (b. 1874) - Solo Cornet, Llanelly Town Band

Mortimer, Fred

Mortimer, Rex 1911-1999

Item on this site Newton, Sam

Nicholl, Joseph Weston [1875-1925]
Son of Samuel Nicholl. He was known as a violinist, organist, pianist, musician and composer. He was also involved in the brass band world. He was conductor of the West Riding Military Band [1908-1910] and of the Black Dyke Mills Band [1910-1912]. He also composed and arranged music for the bands. His compositions included The Viking, a tone poem recorded by Black Dyke Mills Band [1923], a Festival Overture and a Commemorative Ode and March for the Jubilee of the opening of People's Park.

Nicholls, William (1824-1890)
Died 2 January 1890 at 75, Penistone Road, Sheffield, aged 65. For many years he was a faithful servant to Mr. Stones, of Cannon Brewery. The deceased was a native of Brampton, his father (Mr. Christopher Nicholls) being one of the founders, along with Mr. Slack's family, of the Brampton Band, afterwards called the Chesterfield and Brampton Band, then the Crystal Palace Prize Band, later on the Chesterfield Volunteer Band. He was a member of the band, and played the first trombone during the years between 1855 and 1865, when the band won so many prizes at the principal band contests in England, amongst which was the fourth prize at the Crystal Palace, against All England, in 1860 ; second prize at the same place, in 1861; and, in 1862, first prize at the Crystal Palace, against over one hundred bands from all parts of England. The prizes, at this contest alone, in money and instruments, amounted to £105.

Item on this site Ogden, J.T. (b. 1859) - Soprano Cornet, Kingston Mills Band

Oughton Family

Pearce, Arthur Oakes - "The Prime Minister of Bandmasters"
Click for larger pictureArthur Pearce was born in Alverthorpe near Wakefield in 1871 and died in January 1951. He began playing at 13 years on the side drum at Ovenden in Halifax then progressed on to Baritone and Solo Horn with the Halifax Temperance Band, then on to Soprano and finally on Solo Cornet with Copley Band in Halifax. He also played Cornet with Brighouse and Rastrick in 1902, the Duke of Wellington's Band in Halifax and conducted the famous King Cross Band at London in 1909 to 6th place. He began conducting Black Dyke in January 1912 and retired in December 1948. On his death certificate it gives his occupation and also says 'Conductor of Black Dyke Mills Band'.
As well as playing for Brighouse and Rastrick Temperance he conducted them in local contests in 1906, 1907 and 1908. He came back to conduct them at a contest in Halifax in 1918. He did a couple of contests conducting Sowerby Bridge in 1916 and 1917 (whilst at Black Dyke) . He conducted Black Dyke once in the British Open and once in the National Finals (1945) and three times in the Yorkshire Area 1943, 1945 and 1946. (thanks to Derek Rawlinson for additional information)
See also Chris Helme's article

Pearson, Richard Weston - (Born 24th April 1865 at Denford, Northamptonshire)
Click for larger picture Click for larger picture Richard Weston Pearson, played Tuba in the Kettering Rifle Band From 1883 until 1905-ish when he was "poached" by the Elswick Hopper Band at Barton on Humber in Lincolnshire. He worked for Elswick Hopper cycle manufacturer at Barton on Humber and employed as a labourer in tube and sheetmetal working and brazing and of coarse, played in the band competing in the many brass band competitions that took place around that period. He also carried on his Shoe making skills that he developed whilst living in Kettering. The right hand picture shows him with his wife Amy and family. Richard Weston died February 1st 1949 (Aged 83)
(Information supplied by Bryan Ashton, Barton on Humber, North Linconshire). Any information about Richard Pearson would be welcome - email Bryan at

Philbin, Robert W.
Began playing baritone horn in 1960 in high school.  Majored in euphonium at Glassboro NJ state college, graduating in 1968.  Played in the 75th army band, Ft. Belvoir, VA. 1969-1970.  Taught high school bands for 5 years following then beginning bands for 26 years.  Chief arranger for American School Music Institute Publishers. Played with the Atlantic Brass Band 1982-1988. Formed a civil war brass band in 1991 and was director, historical arranger and bandsman as needed in the band for 22 years, retiring in 2013. Still playing the euphie at age 74

Item on this site Pitts, Walter Solo cornet, Batley Old Band

Powell, T.J. - and the Melingriffith Band

Item on this site Reay, John

Item on this site Reynolds, Walter (b. 1866) - Solo Euphonium, Kettering Town Band & Adjudicator

Item on this site Ryan, Randolph. (b. 1867) - Solo Cornet & Conductor, Kettering Town Band

Item on this site Samuel, James (b. 1853) - Conductor, Llanelly Town Band

Sax, Adolphe - a small tribute

Sax, Adolphe - and his Saxophone

Sax, Adolphe - and his Saxophone

Smith, Harry [1927-1977]
Though never a player himself, Harry became involved in banding as a result of supporting his sons Mark and Matthew, ( Euphonium/cornet), in their developing hobby. A tireless enthusiast, Harry soon became involved with several West Midlands Bands ( Pressed Steel Fisher/Coventry School of Music/ Walsall Metropolitan), as secretary, or other key administrative roles, which quickly led to his involvement in the then 'Birmingham and District Brass Band Association'. The Association soon recognised Harry's vision and devotion and he became Secretary, leading it through it's re-branding as the 'West Midlands Brass Band Association'. Harry soon became recognised nationally and was involved in the 'British Federation of Brass Bands' as Treasurer, as well as area committees and Associations around the country. His forward thinking, ability to enthuse others and contagious love of the movement, led to his involvement at all levels, and some life-long friendships with several nationally recognised Icons of the day. Sadly, his life was cut short at the age of 49, robbing the movement of one of the true initiators and forward thinkers of the 1970s Brass Band scene.
Thanks to Mark Smith

Sousa, John Philip

Sousa, John Philip - a perspective

Item on this site Stubley, T.E. Soprano cornet & conductor, Batley Old Band

Tansey, Hilda (1901-75) Australia's first lady conductor

Thompson, Jim
Jim had a very varied and successful musical career, as early as 1929 he was a bandsman with the famous Callenders Cable Works Band taking part with them in their 150th radio broadcast. In 1942 he moved to Grimethorpe having been offered a position with their famous colliery band. During his time at Grimethorpe he also conducted Houghton Main Band and Stocksbridge Band where he enjoyed great success. In 1947 he was offered a position in the BBC Northern Orchestra but as at the time he was also conducting Frickley Colliery Band as well as other bands he was unable to accept the offer. However in 1953 an opportunity came to conduct Odhams Press Band where he also enjoyed great success.

Türpe, Hugo - cornetist

Item on this site Valentine, Thomas (b. 1867) - Bandmaster, Kingston Mills Band, conductor, adjudicator

Item on this site Walker, J (b. 1856) - 1st Baritone, Batley Old Band, Adjudicator

Wardle, Thelma (née Holland)
Thelma Holland in her solo prize-winning days. Click for larger pictureThe Hollands were a very popular and well known banding family, originating from Ashington in Northumberland. Thelma together with Joe and Les Holland at Belle Vue in 1951. Click for larger pictureThelma Holland had various successes at Solo and air varie contests and was the first woman in Britain to gain the BBCM and was one of the very first female conductors, taking the baton at North Seaton in Northumberland, where the family came from. She currently plays with Blidworth (Hopkins Solicitors) Band. Joe Holland was, at one time, Solo Euphonium with the famous St Hilda's Colliery Band. Thanks to Mark Wardle

White, Albert
Mrs Ola Hazell and Mrs Viola Hazell, sisters, recalled their father. "We remember very well the Watford Silver Prize Band, for our father played in it for years. His band master lived in Dickinson Square, Croxley Green, and our dad won a solo competition for the band. He was promised a solid silver trumpet if he won, and he did. They used to practice two nights a week at the One Bell public house. He used to take us with him as we were young, when we lost our dear mum, and he couldn't leave us. His name was Albert White, of 19 Souldern Street, round by the Watford Football Club and the Red Lion pub in Vicarage Road. After his band master at Croxley passed away, it was taken over by a Mr Cox who was superintendent of Vicarage Road cemetery in Watford. The band won many prizes that's where partly it got its name from. We remember on a Wednesday night going to practice. His mates would buy us a glass of orange and a packet of crisps, they were a lot cheaper than they are today. The men played at many venues and lots of times at Nelar Hall, where all the brass bands used to play in concerts"

Item on this site Williams, W.H. (b. 1863) - Solo Euphonium, Llanelly Town Band

Yorke, Joseph Barnett
He was born in Kettering and died in the early 1960s. By the age of 9 he had joined his 6 brothers in the Kettering Rifle Band. By the age of 20 he was appointed conductor of the Irthlingbough Town Band. In the early 1920's he moved to South Wales and took charge of the Blaina Lascaster and Pontypool Bands. In 1928 he moved to Yeovil to become Band Master & Professional Conductor of the Yeovil Town Band and later in his career the Sidmouth, Glastonbury, Bridgewater, and Wincanton Bands. With the Wincanton Band he won its section of the Brass Band Competition. As well as a Band Master and Conductor he was an Adjudicator. Away from the bands, he led his own Variety Orchestra which broadcast on a number of occasions, was a music teacher and in semi retirement he started the Yeovil Youth Orchestra.