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Kildwick Brass Band

1st June 1881 - from the log of Sutton Nation School

"Holiday - in honour of the marriage of Miss Ellen Bairstow ... generous friend of the scholars ... The Kildwick Prize Brass Band played several pieces of music in the playground"


Friday, September 25th, will mark an epoch in the history of Kildwick Band. On that date for the first time they dropped their parochial glamour and challenged fortune as contestants among the musical combinations of Great Britain for national honours. It was a bold venture for those village musicians to pitch themselves, as it were, into the vortex of melody at the Crystal Palace, and it may be confessed that one or two sound minded critics regarded the attempt as somewhat audacious. But, on the other hand, the great majority of the residents of the Kildwick district pinned their faith to the band, and the result is that the latter are now able to show that this confidence has not been misplaced. The final al fresco practice was held on Friday night last, after which Mr. Henry Robson, the worthy host of the Ship Hotel, entertained the band to supper, and sent them on their bold errand with the inner man replenished with all sorts of good things, for which he was heartily thanked in the name of the band by Mr. Walter Inskip. Though the hour for entraining, 11.45, was long past the regular bed-time for the good residents of these parts, they forsook the drowsy goddess in order to march with the band to the station, and nothing could have exceeded the enthusiasm and hearty goodwill which characterised the send-off. St. Pancras was reached at 6.30 am and after breakfast another good hour's practice was put in, so that the Kildwick lads could fill their lungs with London air.

The Crystal Palace was reached at eleven a.m., and here the Kildwickians met their first set-back. There were twenty-three competing bands, and in the ballot for places Kildwick had what we in the North country call "hard luck". They drew the fatal number 23, which meant that they would be the last occupiers of the band stand. This was particularly discouraging, because they could not leave the Palace grounds, the long wait was tiring, and calculated to damp the players' enthusiasm, and it might be that as the contest neared its conclusion the great body of spectators would disperse, and the players be deprived of that most estimable of all verdicts - public opinion. The competition began at twelve noon, and not until the hands of the clock pointed to 7.30 p.m. did the long-sought opportunity of Kildwick come. But the fact that the crowd of people increased rather than diminished as the Kildwick Band, with Mr. Charles Jeffrey as conductor, took their places on the stand, emphasised the belief that they regarded Kildwick as a sort of dark horse. Nor were they disappointed. The only spontaneous outburst of applause given during the competition was awarded to Mr. Harold Inskip at the conclusion of his trombone cadenza. It came from all over the place, and the general verdict was that this little village band possessed the finest trombone player in the Palace on Saturday last, and a similar tribute was generously conceded to the soloists. The test piece selected was "Gems of Welsh Melody," and the Kildwick lads rendered it in splendid tone.

They had, however, two formidable drawbacks. Being the last played band, they had to eliminate all the impressions formed in the mind of the judge (Mr. Walter Reynolds) regarding the performances of the other bands - and worst of all the lights were so high up and so dim that they cast nothing but blurred patches across the music rendering the latter practically useless. Some members had, in fact, to discard the score and trust entirrely to memory, and it was just here that the cup slipped away from Kildwick. The general impression was that had Kildwick played in daylight and without the long tedious wait they would have been streets ahead of any other band in the competition. The final bars were played just before eight o'clock, and having deputed a representative to look after their interests, the members of the band left for London. The result was not made known until 10 p.m., when it was thrown upon the screen in the concert-hall, and a wire to London appraised the band that, despite all drawbacks, there were only two bands challenging for the Graphic Cup whch were considered better than they. They had pulled off third prize in a great national contest, in which they had pitted against them the most experienced players in the kingdom. They were satisfied, and did not take umbrage at the Cockney unchins addressing them as "blokes". They were Crystal Palace prize-winners, and when they got into the train at St. Pancras at 11.45 on Saturday night they felt justifiably proud of the honour they were bringing back with them. Althouugh they arrived as early as 6.30 a.m., on Sunday morning, their Kildwick friends were [there ?], and gave them a welcome that will be long remembered by the members of the band. During the week there have been congratulations all round, and as the discipline and esprit de corps among the members of the band are of the most satisfactory nature there is no reason, having regard to their past feats, why they shouldn't in time achieve even more notable successes.


Owing to inadvertence our report of the Kildwick Brass Band's success at the great Crystal Palace Musical Contest, on the 26th ult., was omitted from our last Friday's issue. It must be confessed that while many thought the Kildwick Brass Band were over confident in expecting to figure in the prize list at this great musical contest, there were those who predicted that, given ordinary luck, they would be no mean competitors forr the plums offered by the Crystal Palace Company. On the occasion of the final practice in the evening preceding the event the host of the Ship Hotel (Mr Henry Robson) generously entertained the members to supper. Thus fortified the band entrained at Kildwick Station at 11.45, amid the presence of a considerable following, who wished them success on the morrow. St. Pancras was readched at 6.30 a.m., and at once the combination put in an hour's good practice. The Crystal Palace was reached at eleven o'clock, and here it was discovered that the Kildwick players had had the ill fortune to draw the last place in the 23 bands competing in their particular section. The members accordingly a long and tiresome waitbefore them, and it was not until 7.30 p.m. that they were able to occupy the band stand. That the Craven men were "fancied" was evident from the fact that the crowd increased when Mr. Chas. Jeffrey, the conductor, intimated his readiness to start. A hearty round of applause greeted the effort of Mr. Harold Inskip at the conclusion of his trombone cadenza - the only one that, during the competitions, had any heartiness about it. It was agreed among the crowd that Kildwick had so far produced the best trombone player that had been heard during the day. The test piece was "Gems of Welsh Melody," and they played it with splendid tone. Unfortunately the lights were so dim that it was with difficulty the players could see the score, and it was the result of discarding the score by several players, and trusting to memory, that the cup slipped out of the grasp of Kildwick. Had the band been favoured in daylight and been drawn reasonably earlier, it is just possible their place in the prize record would have been first. The decision of the judge (Mr. W. Reynolds) was not given until ten o'clock, when it was displayed upon a screen in the concert room, and Kildwick were awarded the third place for the "Graphic" Cup. They were satisfied, and journeyed back to Kildwick with the proud conciousness of having overcome some of the best bands in the Kingdom, and now being able to style themselves "Crystal Palace winners." The Craven village was reached at 6.30 on Sunday morning, and despite the early hour, they were given a welcome, the heartiness of which was beyond mistake, and will be long remembered. The Kildwick Prize Brass Band (Crystal Palace winners) have been the recipients of many congratulations during the past ten days, and they are looking forward to still higher honours to follow.

Craven Herald - 22nd September 1905

Promenade Dance - The Kildwick Prize Band's effort in promulgating a public dance in the Society's Hall on Saturday last was not so well patronized. Two more open-air practices were given at Farnhill and Junction on Sunday afternoon and evening to augment the Crystal Palace Contest Fund.

Keighley News - 23rd September 1905

The Brass Band and Mr. Brigg, M. P. - [In a special ?] meeting of the Kildwick and District Prize Brass Band the bandmaster (Mr. Walter Inskip) was instructed to supplement the secretary's acknowledgement of Mr. Brigg's handsome donation to the band's instrument fund by conveying to him the following resolution: - "We, the members of the Kildwick and District Prize Brass Band, having heard of the generous donation of £15 made to the instrument fund of the band by John Brigg, Esq., M.P., [... ?] to convey directly to the hon. Member for the Keighley Division the sincere and hearty [thanks ?] of the band for this practical manifestation of his [abiding ?] interest in the affairs of the band past and present, and to assure the hon. Member of the [deep felt ?] desire of every member to make the band in every way worthy of the confidence and patronage so generously bestowed.


It takes faith to move mountains, but faith can move them. Two years ago Kildwick Band secured third prize at the Crystal Palace contest. Then it had battered instruments which have since found their way to the melting pot. A year ago the new instrument fund began, but the outside committee of the band vetoed any attempt to participate in the great national tussle at Crystal Palace. They did the same thing this year. Every obstacle that could be put in the way of the band going to London was thrown across the path by the outside committee. The Band itself, however, had faith - faith in its ability, faith in its belief of success - and today they stand justified. But thanks are due to the good residents of Kildwick and district, without whose practical and timely aid the splendid result achieved on Saturday could never have been consummated. When the outside committee of the band tied up their purse-strings and refused a penny of financial assistance, then the band appealed to the public, and the wherewithal flowed in handsomely.


The financial difficulties in connection with the contest having been disposed of, the musical efficiency inseparable from success was diligently and evotedly pursued. Day and night, "al fresco" and under cover, the band pursued its practices, each one of which brought the band nearer to the possession of the shield they now hold. Mr. Charles Jeffrey (the professional conductor of the band), who won such distinction with the famous Black Dike Band, has deservedly trod the path of progress and fame with the fortunes of the Kildwick Band. In 1903 he conducted Kildwick when it was placed third at the Palace contest; in 1904 he took Bramley to the second place; and now he leads Kildwick into the flowery paths of first prize winners. A word also is due here to the persistency, assiduity and indomitable faith of the bandmaster, Mr. Walter Inskip. Upon him has largely fallen the brunt of the battle regarding ways and means, and to his inspiration in the darkest moments is due the happy result we now chronicle. On Friday night last the band mustered in good time and good form for the final home rehersals. There was a glint in the eye of each player - one of those flashes of determination which explains the secret of the Yorkshireman's success in all walks of life. The innate confidence burning within the breast of each member of the band spread to the people and the good folk of Kildwick turned out to wish god-speed and success to "our band". "Our Band !" The expression itself was an inspiration. Much was expected, and all that was expected was done. Prior to leaving the band was entertained to a sumptious repast, provided gratuitously and splendidly served by Mr. and Mrs. Ben Mkitchell at the Ship Hotel, Farnhill. At the station the band played a choice selection to the great crowd assembled, and amid the hopeful cheers and "Gud luck owd lads", the train moved off. "How shall we come back whoam if we dunno' win after all this to do", croaked the only pessimist in the party. A hearty roar of laughter was the answer. "If we dunno' win we wain't come whoam, an I'm fayther of five bairns", responded one of the many optimists. At Keighley the first stop was made, where we boarded the special Pulman saloon which the railway company thoughtfully provided - and charged for !


The next stop was Leicester, and St. Pancras was reached at 6.10 a.m. London was fast asleep. The morning air was fresh and frosty and crisp. The atmosphere was magnetic; so much so that one of the members lit his cigarette with it. A smart tramp, and well-served breakfast in the aristocratic rendezvous of Regent Street and the removal of all the stains of nocturnal travel made very member fit for the task imposed upon him. The final hour's rehersal was performed in a yard behind Regent Street, and here the first prizes were won in an amusing fashion. As the rehersal proceeded windows were opened and somehow or other the impression got abroad that "blokes plying below b'long'd the Blue 'Ungarian Band", as one of the Cockney admirers put it. Then began a regular shower of coins of the realm, which proved to be the harbingers of the success to come. At 11.15 a.m. we arrived at the Crystal Palace, learned that our band stand was situated in that portion known as the Maze, and our representative who had been deputed to draw for place having informed us that we were placed ninth on the list, we whiled away the time silently, hopefully, yet confidently, until 3.15 p.m., when our hopes, and boasts, and skill were to be tried in the fierce fire of test.

In our section nineteen bands drawn from England and Wales were entered, we had heard eight play before we got on the stand, and ten bands were to follow. Somehow the impression had possessed the musical world at the Palace that a great performance was expected of Kildwick Band. Conductors and great professional players flocked round to hear us, and never did men play with greater zest, care, or precision. It would be brutal almost to differentiate between the players where everyone did his best; and although the judge's remarks are not yet out one dares to prophesy that for harmony and skill there was no band of any class that excelled the boys from Kildwick in their performance of the test piece. Congratulations followed hearty applause, and it was clear that nothing but a miracle could rob us of the fruits of victory.


Let it be said here in fairness to our other competitors that Kildwick Band had no cheap thing on hand. The bands from Sheffield and Doncaster were among those whose performances were of a really high order of merit, and it was nothing but the superior merit due to careful organisation, persistent practice, and the most skilled tuition which put Kildwick at the head of all other competing bands. The judge's decision was received for a moment in silence; the tension on the minds of the members of our band stopped speech. But a moment more and a good sound-ringing Yorkshire cheer went up - one of those cheers which startle the Cockney with his fog and smoke and grime infected lungs - and a moment later even our opponents in the contest who hailed from the county of broad acres joined in our jubilation, and were proud of "Good Old Yorkshire".

At 11.45 p.m. on Saturday night we entrained for home. We had gone away in fear and hope; we returned blessed by the goddesses of success and joy, and those, apparently, were on no friendly terms with the kindly Morpheus, who stood waiting to be called but was not. We arrived at Kildwick at 7.15 on Sunday morning, and were surprised by the crowds who greeted our arrival. Before leaving the Palace we inspected the very beautiful shield of which we ere the winners. It has not come our way yet. The usual routine is for the manager and director of the contest, Mr. Henry Isles, to present the shield to the winning band at a public function organised in the locality represented by the band. Already the manager of a Leeds theatre has offered to put his place at the disposal of the band for the presentation of the shield, but this offer has been declined, as it is felt by the band that as the good people of Kildwick and district have helped them so loyally and generously in the past, now, in the moment of victory, the patrons of the band shall share its honours. For this purpose a public function, the definite character of which has not been fixed upon, will be organised shortly, and full particulars will be given in the advertising column of the "Keighley News".

Craven Herald - 6th October 1905

Crystal Palace Success - Kildwick and District Band have scored a decided success in the Crystal Palace contest on Saturday last. Out of a total of 19 contestants in the fourth section, Kildwick secured highest honours. This speaks well for a country combination. A very hearty reception was awaiting them on their arrival on Sunday morning, news having reached Kildwick late on Saturday night of their splendid achievement. It is also a noteworthy fact that they were the only Yorkshire Band obtaining a first prize. Arrangements are pending for celebrating the event in a thorough Yorkshire fashion. The first prize in the fourth section embodies a £50 shield to be held by the winners for one year only, in addition to £5 in cash. Mr. C Jeffrey was the conductor.

Craven Herald - 13th October 1905

The Band - In honour of the recent success obtained at Crystal Palace, the band paraded the neighbourhood on Saturday. Considerable interest was displayed by the public en route. As a mark of esteem and appreciation a subscription list has been opened for Mr. C. Jeffrey, under whose tuition the band has attained their achievement.

Keighley and Bingley Chronicle - 13th October 1905

... The clerk [of Farnhill Parish Council] was also invited to write Mr. Binns-Hartley, suggesting a joint meeting of the Council and the committee of the Kildwick Prize Brass Band at an early date, the meeting to be held in the Band Room.


The remarks of the judge at the Crystal Palace Band Contest, in reference to the Kildwick band's performance, were as follows: - "Irish Melodies" - Opening move, best opening yet by trombone, and good to end. "Eileen Alannah", nice start with everything going well and fair time, baritone very good indeed, also horn. Brass band has good tone and soprano a feature. Vivace well done by all; "Asthore" solo cornet, soprano and solo horn, all excellent and band backing them up. Andante - good playing, better than anything previous so far. Allegro Marcia - Well in tune and good playing, cornet cadenza excellent. "Alannah" - euphonium putting some soul into it, and accompaniments well done; everything capital, and quite enjoyed this; moderato well played; trombone cadenza capitally done considering the class of bands. "Green Isle of Erin" - trombone phrasing beautifully and agitato not overdone. L. baritone and euphonium enter really, and accompaniment rises and falls with melody, not a neat entry by any means to the jig; after, good to finish; as an all-round performance it pleases me the best so far - 1st prize. [REPORTED IN ALL OTHER LOCAL PAPERS - KEIGHLEY & BINGLEY CHRONICLE GIVES NAME OF ADJUDICATOR AS "J. MANLEY"]

Photo caption - Postcards book

Kildwick and District Prize Band, May 1906. A photograph by Mr. Whiteoak of the Kildwick and District Prize Band, taken on the lawn at Kildwick Hall. Twenty-three musicians and their conductor, Mr. Charles Jeffrey, are all looking very smart in their new uniforms of navy blue witgh gold facing, purchased at a cost of over £100. The band was formed in 1860 [?] and was originally known as the Farnhill Brass Band [?], later becoming the Kildwick and District Brass Band. Their greatest success was in 1905, when they won the national competition at Crystal Palace. Hence the new name of 'The Prize Band' ...

9th June 1906

Haworth Gala, promoted by the Haworth & Oxenhope United Friendly Societies & Tradesmen's Association, became an annual treat. Bunting decorated the streets and special trains ran from Keighley. The parades included bands, tableaux and cyclists in comic dress. Events were also held in a field, with a firework display later. On Saturday 9 June 1906, music was provided by the Haworth and Kildwick Brass Bands, plus the Keighley Wiffum Waffum Wuffum and Haworth Bingem Bangem Comic Bands. Highlight was to be the balloon ascent and parachute descent by Miss Lily Cove. This spectacle was postponed for two days because of unsuitable weather. But disaster struck. When Miss Cove jumped from the balloon, she somehow became detached from her parachute. She plummeted to the ground near Ponden Reservoir. - http://www.postcardcollecting.co.uk/ppm_online/ppm_10_aug.pdf

Craven Herald - 22nd December 1916 - FARNHILL SOLDIER DIES IN HOSPITAL

We regret to report the death of Pte. Harry Walmsley, oldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Seth Walmsley, of Hanover Street, Farnhill ... The bearers of the coffin, which was draped with the Union Jack, were members of the Kildwick Prize Brass Band, of which Pte. Walmsley was also a member .... In addition to the family, representatives were sent from the Farnhill and Kildwick Institute, Volunteers, Kildwick Prize Brass Band, Conservative Club, and Junction Mills (who also sent wreaths, of which there were a great many). Crowds of people came from all the surrounding villages, the church being packed to overflowing.

West Yorkshire Pioneer - 22nd December 1916 - FARNHILL - THE LATE PTE. HENRY WALMSLEY

The funeral of the late Private Henry Walmsley, of the 1st 5th Duke of Wellington's Regiment, took place on Sunday afternoon last at the Kildwick Church burial ground, amid many signs of deep sympathy and respect... The deceased was very highly respected in the village of his birth. He was a very promising member of the Kildwick and District Prize Brass Band... The bearers were Messrs. J. Hopkinson, J.W. Hartley, B. Whitaker, H. Wilcock, H. Heaton. A. Ogden, E. Gibson, and J. Whitaker, all fellow members of the band, in uniform... The coffin was covered with the Union Jack, and bore the inscription, 'Henry Walmsley, died Dec. 14, aged 23 years.'