Temperance Brass Bands
by CH Chandler - The British Workman and Home Companion for 1910
Of the thousands of Brass bands up and down the country the temperance section, taken as a whole, worthily holds its own; and by universal consent Wingates Temperance Band takes a leading place. Like many great men, and, indeed, like many great enterprises, Wingates Temperance Band had a very humble origin - simply an insignificant drum and fife combination. In 1873 a set of brass instruments was purchased, the drums and fifes being put away. Nothing particularly worthy of note happened for the first five years. Every now and again the band was engaged to head a Sunday School procession or a miners' demonstration, and on temperance field days its services were occasionally requisitioned.
In 1878 a better set of instruments was purchased. Persistent and consistent practice became the order of the day, and in 1881 Wingates entered for its first contest - a somewhat small affair at Hindley, only seven bands competing. Wingates, however; carried off the second prize; and it was decided to take part in the famous Crystal Palace contests. Two years later the band was successful in winning third prize under the well-known glass roof. In addition to the money won a certificate was granted, and this hangs today in the band room, a much-prized possession. The year 1887 was a sad one, for within a couple of months the hand of death took four of the leading players. Several others resigned. The band was reduced to a dozen members only. A few enthusiasts, however, threw themselves into the work, and recruits were obtained from the young men's class at Wingates Methodist School. The strength of the band was thus practically doubled.
Uneventful years followed, but in 1891 Mr. William Rimmer, the present conductor, infused real "go" into Wingates. A few years afterwards the organization "turned the corner", as people say, and several victories, though of a somewhat minor character, put new heart into the men. About this time the band entered a competition at Morecambe, and, although no prize fell to its lot, the judge remarked that if Wingates had better instruments it would do a lot better. This seemed to lye a genuine case of good workmen with comparatively bad tools. How often, men, when they are in dire straits, turn to their womenfolk for help. This is just what Wingates did. The result was a three-days' bazaar, whereby new instruments were obtained at a cost of over £400. From that day to the present the band has, so to speak, never looked back. In 1894 the Lancashire Association Championship, at Wigan, was splendidly won. After a lapse of two years a record was scored, the band having the honour of winning more prizes - a level couple of dozen - than any other band in England. Wingates now felt that it had practically nothing to fear from any amateur brass band in existence, and so it would seem, for in 1899 they succeeded in beating the world-famous "Besses-o'-th'-Barn".
The Crystal Palace contest, under its present management, was commenced in 1900. Wingates, of course, entered, and every since they have taken a trip to the Metropolis for the purpose of participating in the event. But it was not until 1906 that the band found itself where it really wanted to be – absolutely at the top of the tree, for then it was that Wingates Temperance Prize Band had the numeral "1" placed opposite its name. Twenty-three bands competed. Victories at the Belle Vue Band Contests in 1906 and 1907 also fell to its lot. But the red-letter day - in the history of the band must be regarded as September 28th, 1907, the occasion being the annual contest at the Crystal Palace. No less than 150 bands entered for the various competitions„ and there were some sixty-five thousand people present. The championship, which carries with it the 1,000 Guineas Challenge Trophy; the Championship of Great Britain and the Colonies, an illuminated certificate, £40 in cash for the band, and a bronze medal for each member, was again won by Wingates. In all, the band has won upwards of £6,000 in prizes.
The capable bandmaster is Mr. Scott. Mr. Albert Lonsdale, the untiring secretary, informs me that each player in the band is a strictly temperance man, and that the majority of the members are colliers. Hats off to Wingate!
Rushden: the Musical Shoemakers
The counties of the North, particularly Lancashire and Yorkshire, are looked upon as naturally musical. Music seems to be bred in the bone of these hardy sons of toil, and, practically speaking, every other town, to say nothing of the villages, boasts its brass band. The northerners are rightfully prouf of these organisations. To maintain that the Midlands could make an equally good show would be quite wrong, yet there are some really first-class bands in the busy Midlands, and under this heading any critic would certainly class the Rushden Temperance Band.
An Example of Sturdy Independence
Had anyone, in the year 1875, when the band had its origin, ventured to prophesy that this local drum-and-fife combination would develop into a leading brass band, he would been looked upon, if not as a false prophet, undoubtedly a very sanguine one. But he would have been right, absolutely right.
When, soon afterwards, a Temperance Brass Band was decided upon, the first thing to do was, of course, to procure the necessary instruments. How were they obtained? Why, each member bought and paid for his own! This shows at once, not only that the members were possessed of that sterling English quality commonly called grit but also that the blood of independence flowed pretty freely through their veins.
No sooner were the instruments obtained than practice began, both in season and out of season for, as is a new toy to a child, so were the new instruments to the players; but the child tires of his toy, the Rushden players did not tire of their instruments. On the contrary, indeed, they were plucky enough to enter a band contest at Stanwick, where, to their own surprise, they carried off two first prizes.
Honours in London
Pleased, but not puffed up, the Band then decided to install a professional teacher. Engagements quickly followed. The first instruments were sold and new ones obtained. Here, again, every member put his hand into his pocket to the extent of a sovereign, the balance being raised by concerts, bazaars, etc. The first really big competition in which the band took part was the Belle Vue Contest in 1886, but, in the judge's opinion there were superior bands present, and no prize was the result. About this time, however, the band was so successful in other directions that it was unanimously decided to launch out into deep waters, so to speak, and accordingly in 1890 a set of Besson instruments was purchased and these are in use at the present time.
On one occasion Rushden ran second for the championship at the famous Crystal Palace Last year, however, it was unplaced, whereat every member was disappointed, for the performance given was the finest in the whole history of the band. A Crystal Palace success was what the band had longed for and worked for. May it yet get it! At Belle Vue. too, on September 7th, 1908 the band was placed second, losing by three points only.
Some little time ago the London County Council engaged the band to play for an evening in the Victoria Embankment Gardens. An unusually large crowd was attracted, and the musical adviser to the Council gave it as his opinion that the band was by far the best the Council had yet engaged. On three occasions visits have been paid to the Royal Estate Flower Show, Sandringham. The band make a speciality of Wagner music, and many times have the members been complimented in high quarters on their rhythm, intonation, and attention to the signs of expression, which, as every true lover of music is aware, means so much to the trained ear.
In prizes the band has won from £2,000 to £3,000, and in addition it has been the means of raising some hundreds of pounds for charitable purposes. For upwards of twenty-five years the rehearsals have averaged 150 yearly. Several members can look back on a period of twenty years' service.
The professional conductor is Mr. Gladney; the conductor, Mr. C. H. Baker; the deputy-conductor,. Mr. Fred Robinson; the band-master, Mr. T. Robinson; the treasurer, Mr. W. Noble; and the secretary, Mr, Charles Ashby, who has been connected with the band for twenty-three years, acting as secretary for the past sixteen. "We are all employed in the shoe trade", said Mr. Ashby, in response to a general question of mine; "every one of us works for his living; we are all.bona-fide amateurs, rely on.our brains for success, and have never had any money at the back of us".
Story of a Barrel of Whiskey
The band was founded on strict temperance principles - principles which have ever been rigidly adhered to. In this connection a little anecdote, which has the merit of truthfulness, may be given. At a certain band contest, some years ago now, the Rushden Temperance Band was invited to compete - indeed, considerable pressure was brought to bear upon them.
The band, however, hesitated somewhat. Then a letter came begging them to be present, adding, as an inducement, that a cask of whiskey would be given as an extra prize for the winning band. This promptly decided the matter and the Rushden Temperance Band were non-competitors.
This was without doubt the wisest and most dignified course to take, although some think that the band ought to have competed, won the whiskey, and obtained for themselves and the temperance cause generally a thrilling advertisement by publicly knocking the bung from the whiskey barrel, thereby allowing the fiery liquid to water the earth.
The Tuneful Weavers of Burnley
Burnley Temperance Prize Brass Band came into existence in 1887. Several young fellows, anxious to see a temperance brass band in the town, decided to form one independently of any of the existing organisations, some of which held their rehearsals in public houses. At first, a room in a friend's house was sufficiently large for practice. Then an old but capacious greenhouse was adapted for the purpose. After a while the band took part in competitions, and a third prize at Leyland fell to its lot. Since then the band has placed fifty first prizes to its credit, and a goodly number of second and third, as well as numerous special awards.
In 1904 Burnley won the Lancashire Challenge Shield at Blackburn, and were champions of the Colne and District League. Last November they carried off the first prize at a competition at Nelson, and, in addition, secured the challenge cup of the North-East Lancashire and Craven District of Yorkshire Brass Band League. In 1908 Mr. Peter Fairhurst became bandmaster. He entered the "Burnley boys" for four contests, and the result was that a first prize was won at each of them, the judges making some highly flattering remarks on the performances. Mr. Fairhurst was formerly bandmaster of the celebrated Crooke Band. At one period of this band's existence there. were no fewer than five Fairhursts - all brothers, connected with it; indeed, since its inception, in 1873, there has been a Fairhurst as bandmaster - the gentleman whose portrait appears on this page succeeding his brother Richard some sixteen years or so ago. The sequence is now broken.
Mr. Fairhurst has at one time or other played every instrument in a band, save one the bass trombone. He has frequently done duty as an adjudicator at band contests, and his decisions invariably give satisfaction. Once, when he was preparing a band for a contest; he noticed that the soprano was not quite in tune, being rather sharp. "Lend me your instrument", said Mr. Fairhurst, at the same time reaching over his music-stand and taking it. He was surprised to find the musician moving with his instrument. "Howd on, Howd on" shouted the musician, in evident pain. "Let me uncouple mysel'". The unfortunate instrumentalist had fastened a piece of string round his finger, tying it to the valve of his instrument, for the purpose of lifting up this little piece of mechanism, which had an irritating propensity to become stuck every now and then, instead of responding to the springs with which it was fitted.
The greenhouse, already referred to, has been given up long since, and a well-equipped institute acquired in Plumbe Street. This institute is worked on strictly temperance lines.
Some of the members have been in the B.T.P.B.B. for periods ranging from ten to eighteen years. Mr. Wiseman, the hard-working secretary, has seen fourteen years' service. During the course of its career the band has assisted in raising hundreds of pounds for charitable purposes. The members of the B.T.P.B.B., whose engagements in the Corporation parks and elsewhere keep them well in practice, are justly proud of young Joe Birkett, who commenced his musical career with them when only thirteen years of age. Birkett, at the age of eighteen, has recently joined the world-famous "Besses" as solo horn player. It may be added that most of the men in the B.T.P.B.B. are weavers working in the Lancashire cotton mills.
The Nazebottom Temperance Prize Band was established at Nazebottom, near Todmorden, in 1885. Matthew Trungrove and James Hodgson (now Councillor Hodgson) were its founders. They talked the matter over whilst engaged at their work as fustian cutters, and soon secured the support of a number of local musicians. It was understood from the beginning that the band was to be a temperance organisation, and this principle has been firmly adhered to.
At the outset practices were held in a cottage, but so small was the room that if any instrumentalist happened to move from his place during rehearsal he ran the risk of being knocked down by the trombone player. Mr. J. B. Craven, a gentleman residing in the locality, realising the inadequacy of the cottage, kindly offered the band the use of a room over his coach-house. This was gladly accepted and has been in use for many years.
After a while, the band was able to purchase a full complement of instruments, and in their uniform of navy blue with scarlet and gold facings, the members began to feel their feet. But it was not until the autumn of 1893 that they made their first appearance on the contest field. This was at Ovenden, Halifax. Three years later, at Bamber Bridge, a prize fell to their lot. In three years they have secured seven first prizes, eight seconds, and five thirds out of twenty-four contests. Some little time ago a sale of work was held under the auspces of the band, the object being to raise funds for the purchase of new uniforms.
Mr. Craven's remarks on this occasion are worth quoting. They ought to take interest in anything which tended to improve and enlighten village life, said he. He did not believe that they should derive all their entertainment and pleasure from adjacent large towns, but that they should endeavour to make village life interesting and pleasant. When the band attained its majority, there was a grand re-union of past and present members in the Co-operative Hall, Todmorden. On this occasion, Mr. W. Mitchell, the band-master, was presented with a beautiful timepiece and a couple of bronzes; indeed, so liberally did the public subscribe, that there was a sum of from £6 to £7 over, which was at the same time handed to Mr. Mitchell in a purse. The timepiece bore the following inscription:
"Purchased by public subscription, and presented to Mr. Walter Mitchell, as an appreciation of his valuable services as bandmaster to Nazebottom Temperance Brass Band for fourteen years. Presented on the occasion of the 21st anniversary of the band, held September 22nd, 1906."
Mr, Mitchell said he did not care to be described as bandmaster. He thought the term was rather misleading, and regarded the word leader as much more suitable. He had never tried to drive or coerce his fellow bandsmen, but to lead them. He hoped that all the players would realise that the seconds and thirds were quite as essential to the making of a good band as the soloists. The mention of soloists reminds me that in speaking of some of the prizes won, I omitted to refer to several specials for solos which have been gained by members of the band. The band is ably conducted by Mr, W. Heap, the treasurer and secretary being respectively Mr W.G. Sutcliffe and Mr James Lomas. Most of the members are engaged in the cotton industry, weavers etc.
Carlton (near Wakefield) Temperance Prize Band came into existence after the Nazebottom combination, starting with a mixed set of instruments . In the course of two or three years these were abandoned, a new set of Besson instruments being purchased. Soon after the band began to enter competitions. At Stanmngiey, in 1904, when ten bands competed, a third prize was gained. In 1905 a couple of firsts were annexed at Woodkirk. In 1906 the band faced twenty-one competitors at Ilkley. Here a fifth prize was won. Numerous other prizes then came its way, including a fourth prize at the Crystal Palace.
The two succeeding years were most successful. Last year, when Mr. William Heap, who also conducts the Nazebottom Band, was appointed conductor, the "wins" included: At Ilkley, second prize and diploma; Lofthouse, third prize; Castleford, two second prizes; Batley, first prize, cup, and four special prizes; Morley, first prize and cup, also second prize in a march contest; Lofthouse Park, first prize, also first prize in march contest. The two cups referred to above will be noticed in the photograph. They have to be won three times before becoming the absolute property of the band.
Mr Alfred Newton is the bandmaster, and I have the authority of the Secretary, Mr William Speake, for saying that before playing in the Carlton Temperance Band, every man has to be a staunch teetotaler, a restriction which, of course, in no way impairs, but on the contrary adds to, the general efficiency of the band. The majority of the players are colliers, being employed in the coal mines owned by Messrs. Charlesworth.
Atherton's Young Men
A series of articles relating to temperance brass bands would be incomplete were the Atherton Temperance Prize Band - established in 1891 - to be omitted. The earlier days of this organisation were days of struggle; and when a "public band" made its appearance in Atherton many were under the impression that the temperance combination would "go under". Just about this time, however, a Mr. Jos. Hall came upon the scene and took a most active interest in the band. An iron-moulder by trade, he was well known and much respected. Not only did he come himself, but he brought quite a number of friends to the aid of the band. Mr. Hall was appointed treasurer and unostentatiously helped it through the most critical period of its existence.
A Blessing in Disguise
After a while a move was made from the Progressive to the National School for practice purposes, an arrangement being made that the band should have free use of a practice room in return for its attendance at the annual school treat. But in the early part of 1897 the band had notice to quit, the school being required for class purposes. But this very year, when the band would have been playing for the school, it secured an engagement elsewhere, thereby netting the sum of ten guineas. With the money thus raised a wooden shed, costing about £8, was purchased from a local plumber and used as a practice room. Every now and again the band put in an appearance at various contests, but the need for better instruments became woefully apparent. The public, by means of a circular, were asked to subscribe. Speaking as "working men amateur musicians", the signatories reminded the public how much music had done to elevate the mind and character of mankind, and went on to state: "We will pay you in good music what you give us in cash". This means of raising funds has been dropped long since, but at the time it proved very effective and the new instruments were duly purchased.
In 1901, to the great grief of every member of the band, Mr. Hall died at the early age of thirty-seven. His death caused general regret, particularly amongst young people, for Mr. Hall had been associated with them as a Sunday-school teacher practically the whole of his life. The band erected a headstone to his memory. Mr. Hall's kindly deeds in so many directions became more manifest when he had gone. His memory is still greatly revered in the neighbourhood, particularly by the members of the band; indeed, had the writer failed to make this just recognition, every player would feel that the merits of their departed comrade - unassuming man as he was - had not been fittingly appraised. With the new instruments, contests were attended more expectantly. A first prize and silver cup were won at Liverpool in 1902, a first at Tyldesley, a second at Ellesmere Port, numerous others following all in good time.
Staunch to Temperance
Every member of the band must be a temperance man - and strictly so. The band "tutors up" its own players. Most of the instrumentalists are either coal miners or cotton operatives. They are nearly all young fellows; indeed, taking the combination as a whole, their ages would not average 25 years. No debt of any kind hangs over the band; and the wooden shed has been forsaken long ago, a splendidly built band-room worth approximately £200 taking its place, with accommodation for outdoor and indoor practice. This year Mr. C. Anderson has been appointed professional conductor, and under his guidance great things are expected at forthcoming contests.
Another Harmonious Blacksmith
The bandmaster is Mr. Jos. Ratcliffe, whose portrait we give. He is a first-rate musician and has been the recipient of high praise from the judges at various contests. He has made a big study of the theory of music, and possesses an extensive library of standard musical works. He is a colliery blacksmith, and has consequently to be going to work just when many of his mates are leaving off. But every moment he can spare he devotes to the brass band cause, his great delight being the writing of selections and arranging hymns for the band to play. Mr. Ratcliffe joined the band when it was established, and when it is remembered that he is now only twenty-eight years of age, no one will be surprised to learn that in the early days a box had to be specially made for him to stand upon in order that he could see his copy from the music stand. He commenced as third cornet, soon got on to second, and in three years' time was offered first cornet parts. After a while he was asked to take soprano, which he did and is still doing - with signal success, too. Mr. W. Powell makes a worthy secretary of a worthy and plucky organisation
The Plucky Colliers of Lower Ince
Coming into existence in August 1894, the Lower Ince Temperance Prize Band has gained a splendid reputation for miles around the Lancashire town of Wigan. During its first three years, over £500 was raised by engagements, members' subscriptions, etc., the money being spent in paying for instruments, music and uniforms. Quite early the Band attended a contest at Harwich, and although a score of other bands were competing, managed to gain a prize. True, it was simply a sovereign, but the honour of winning it wonderfully encouraged the men. Their next venture was at Brinscall, where there were eleven competing bands. Lower Ince won the second prize, a third following Levenshulme soon afterwards. Next came a "pop" at the Accrington contest. Owing to bad train arrangements, the members of the Band had to mount the contest stage minus five of their players, the missing five arriving just in time to hear the final strains of their companions' performance, which resulted in the fourth prize.
A Trial of Endurance
One other notable contest must be referred to, if only to indicate the never-say-die spirit of these musical colliers, for that is what the bandsmen are. Some time ago it was decided to participate in the Kirkcaldy contest, which took place on a Saturday. The players did their day's work in the pit on Friday, being drawn up in time for their final rehearsal, which lasted two to three hours. A hurried supper at followed, and then the players departed for Kirkcaldy - a train journey of some seven hours duration. Breakfasting in Edinburgh, they proceeded to Kirkcaldy, where they met their professional conductor. Here they ran through the piece "Songs of Scotland" just once again. Whilst the draw was taking place for position of playing, some of the players, from sheer fatigue, spread their coats on the floor, and almost instantly fell fast asleep - and there they remained until the call came for them to play. Some "crack" bands were present, but Lower Ince found themselves amongst the prize-winners, though hardly as high up as they might have been but for one little slip. As to the Band itself, every member must be a total abstainer absolutely. Out of twenty-five players no less than nineteen are life abstainers! All players are, so to speak, manufactured on the premises, some of the more capable taking the recruits in have giving them a little private tuition.
Mr Allsopp's Success
The talented bandmaster is Mr Thomas Allsopp. He did not care to give an particulars respecting himself, and the writer had, consequently, to fall back on someone who knew him. This someone wrote: "Mr Tom Allsopp has wielded the baton since the inception of the Band. He refused to accept any salary whatever until the Band was immune from debt, and moreover, paid his weekly contributions with the other members. He is a born musician, having commenced when quite a Iad to play the cornet. He is one of those quiet individuals with little to say, but is, nevertheless highly esteemed as an accomplished instrumentalist, composer, and arranger of brass band music. He is a most zealous man. I remember few years ago he wrote a march for publication, but so difficult was it that none of the leading music publishers would buy it, contending that it was too difficult for the average band, and that only first-class combinations would be able to master it. He determined, however, that his own band should master it, and master it they did, in Wigan Park before a crowd of 18,000 listeners. Only a little while before, Mr. Allsopp had met with a bad accident in the mine, injuring his leg. He had to undergo special treatment. But at the last moment he drove to the Park in a hansom, and, being assisted to the bandstand, took the baton, carrying the piece through in splendid fashion, to the delight of the crowd".
It may be added that Mr. Allsopp would be the last to speak of himself as a composer, or even as a musician. Ask him what he is and he will tell you - a collier - for, notwithstanding his great musical gifts, he still works in the mine.
In 1870 a few youths belonging to the Band of Hope at Cotgrave - a small agricultural village near Nottingham - thought it would be "jolly fine" to draw attention to their meetings by forming a band and playing through the streets. Accordingly some six or seven brass instruments were unearthed, 30s. paid for an ancient drum, and South Nottingham Temperance Prize Band was an accomplished fact. The first public march was eventful. All went well for a while, until, owing either to the vigour of the drummer or the weakness of the drum, one of the sides completely and unexpectedly gave way! Manfully surviving this disconcerting incident, the band, in the course of a very little time, regularly visited neighbouring villages, missioning in the temperance cause, Messrs. Crampton, Thorpe, Hames, sen., and Hives sharing the speaking between them. They accomplished some sterling work. Messrs. Crampton and Thorpe have passed to their reward, but their two old colleagues are still hale and hearty at eighty-six and eighty-two years of age respectively.
Lacemakers and Colliers
In 1882 many members migrated to the county town, and, Nottingham being made the headquarters, the band was made up to full strength, and competitions were entered. A first prize was carried off at Stanwick, and the flowing year a similar award was captured in the temperance band contest at the Crystal Palace, this being the last contest promoted exclusively for temperance bands at Sydenham. Many other prizes have since followed; indeed, upwards of £1,000 has been won in cash and value.
Many of the principal engagements fell to the lot of the band. During the season it performs in the public parks giving unqualified satisfaction. Temperance demonstrations, school feasts, flower shows, etc., are also attended. The players follow various occupations - as diverse as lace-makers and colliers.
Every member of the band must be a total abstainer - a rule which has been adhered to all along the line. Mr. Geo. Hames, the trainer and conductor of the band (he is in the photo with his baton just behind the drum), is a life-long teetotaler, and the same remark applies to the seven living children of his father, to whom reference has already been made. The gentleman on the extreme left is the conductor's elder brother.
A Life's Experience
Mr. Flames has had practically a life's experience in the various phases of band work. He composes music for brass and military bands. He is also an adjudicator, having been sole judge at upwards of 200 competitions. He says it is almost impossible to find a temperance band without a goodly number of old Band of Hope boys. He is one himself. "In order to join our band," said he; "a man about thirty years of age, with no sort of home, a drunkard, and one of the greatest reprobates, signed our pledge. Later he became a member of the Wesleyan body, took an active part in the work of the church, was a class-leader, and prominent in connection with the Band of Hope. For the last thirty years this man has led a most consistent life. I regard him as a miracle." Mr. Hames can also point to another young fellow, who had to live in an atmosphere the reverse of elevating, and surrounded by the drink element. At the age of twenty he joined the band. In later years he became prosperous; but despite this, he was never above admitting that he attributed all he was, and all he had, to the pledge-signing step taken at twenty years of age. Bravo, Nottingham!
The village of Rothwell, on the outskirts of Leeds, is (as becomes so noted a centre of musical life) the home of a flourishing Temperance Band. In the summer of 1880, eight members of the Rothwell Old Brass Band signed the pledge, and, leaving the parent body, founded a Temperance combination which was eventually brought up to full strength. The players used to rehearse in a blacksmith's shop, but this was soon converted into a first rate Temperance Hall – a building of which the men are justly proud.
The first engagement which fell to the lot of the Band was at a Band of Hope demonstration at Hunslet. This was in 1881, and every year since the engagement has been renewed. The Band, too, have been to Mossley for about 20 years, playing for the Wesleyan Sunday School demonstration.
Some years ago our musical Templars were engaged at a Lodge dinner. When the players sat down to their repast and the sweet pudding came in covered with rum sauce, the waiters were highly surprised to find player after player declining it. The Band visited the same place next year, but when the sweet pudding made its appearance this time it was minus the rum sauce. It is perhaps needless to add that every member of the Band has to be a member also of the Rothwell Temperance Society. The Band do a great deal of charitable work, especially for the Leeds General Infirmary.
The first contest attended was at Dewsbury, and a first prize, value £5, was secured. Soon afterwards new Besson instruments were obtained, and since then the Band has been unusually successful on the contest field. The total number of prizes won is as follows: - One cup, 45 medals, 33 Firsts, 23 Seconds, and 37 others, as well as numerous musical instruments. The Band has competed against some of the finest musical organisations in the country. Most of the men are colliers; and they are strictly amateur players. Mr. Chas. Blackburn is the bandmaster, and a very capable one he is. He comes from a musical stock. Mr. A. Holden is the able conductor.
The Musical Bootmakers of Raunds
Raunds, in Northamptonshire, possesses one industry and a Brass Band. The industry is that of boot and shoe making for the various Government services, and all the members of the Band - Raunds Temperance Brass Band - naturally agree that "there's nothing like leather".
Although the Band had existed prior to 1886, it was in this year resuscitated, and the old instruments - once the property of Rushden Temperance Band - allotted to eager applicants. Within three years the Band entered the arena at Kettering, and was awarded a first prize. Other prizes were also gained the same year.
In 1900 Mr. O. Pentelow, who had been "brought out" by the Band, and had left the neighbourhood, was induced to return and take over the conductorship. Since that date the Band has attended fifty-four contests and won prizes at forty-one - including a second at the famous Crystal Palace contests. At the same time, Mr. Halliwell's services as bandmaster must not be lost sight of. He is a highly skilled musician, and knows his business thoroughly. The hon. sec. is Mr. J. H. Haynes, and in writing of this gentleman my correspondent remarks: - "It can be truthfully said that he lives for the Band. Its welfare is his first consideration; its success his highest reward. To him the Band is indebted for much of its prosperity". Mr. Haynes can point to twenty-three years' unbroken service. For eighteen years he has held the position of hon. sec.
Of late years quartette contests have become very popular in the Midlands, and in these the Raunds Temperance Band has figured quite creditably, winning many prizes. These musical boot-makers often give their services to local philanthropic work, and are in great demand at the various holiday functions, shows, sports, and carnivals