The Harrogate Band - click to return to home page The Harrogate Band
    About   Contacts   Engagements   The Band   Contests   Recordings   Links   Local information  
 

 
  Local Information

Historical music

Old Harrogate

Local websites

Vintage pictures

HG news

HG weather

N Yorks news

 
Historical Harrogate Music
Historical Harrogate Music
Early Contests
Talk on Harrogate Bands
Philip Wilby's Local Composers
Harrogate Band Song

Music at the Spa
Daily Spa Routine
The Royal Hall (Kursaal)
Early Victorian Harrogate



Beginnings

A brass band existed in Harrogate in the 1860s. It competed in a contest at the Rifle Barracks in Hull on Monday July 20, 1868. A newspaper account read: "there was as numerous a gathering as we remember to have seen there since the place has been let for galas. The prizes offered for the contest, were as follows: 1st, £14 in money, and a magnificent euphonium presented by Messrs. Henry Distin and Co. (who exhibited some first-rate instruments on the ground); 2nd, £10 in money; 3rd, £5 in money; 4th, £3 in money; and 5th, £1 in money. Thirteen bands entered, out of which twelve put in an appearance. The Bradford band, conducted by Mr. J. W. Dodsworth, won the first prize; the Scarborough band (6th North Yorkshire Volunteer Rifle Corps), leader, Mr. John Peel, carried off the second prize; the Black Dike Mills band, Mr. W. Rushworth, leader, and. Mr. S. Longbottom, conductor, won the third; the Heckmondwike Albion band, Mr. J. Parker, leader, and Mr. J. Brooke, conductor, the fourth; and the Bingley Volunteer Rifle Corps Band, the fifth. The playing of all the bands was exceedingly good. The judges were Herr Raskoff, bandmaster 15th Hussars; Mr Goode, bandmaster East York Militia; Mr. J. Taylor, late bandmaster Royal London Militia; and Signor Garraffold, late bandmaster 56th Regiment. A solo euphonium contest, for a splendid seven-guinea euphonium, was won by Mr. Dodsworth. This prize was given by Mr. F. Besson, of London. During the day there were a variety of entertainments, and the fete was brought to a close with a grand display of fireworks and a ball." Other bands which entered were: Eccleshill, Batley, Knaresborough, Denton, Shelley, Dodworth, Harrogate, Cawthorpe, Morley. Entrance to the contest was 1 shilling and at the end there was a grand display of fireworks by Mr Seaman, Pyrotechnist, of Hull.



A Harrogate band playing in square formation at the Ox Roasting on Harrogate Stray
to celebrate Queen Victoria's Jubilee in June 1887


At a Town's meeting on 8th June 1888 it was decided to have a free subscription band in Harrogate. The residents of Harrogate subscribed to provide a permanent brass band, appointing J. Sidney Jones, bandmaster of the Leeds Rifles, as its conductor. The band gave its opening concert in the Montpelier Gardens on 16 July 1888 conducted by Mr J. Sidney Jones.

The demands on the bandmaster were great. Each day at 7.30, a performance was given to arouse the ailing ones to take the "waters" and to shake off their early morning fatigue. (Click here for a typical day's routine!) Tall hats were de rigueur headgear for the bandsmen in their four performances a day for a wage of not more than £1 a week. Jones, the indefatigable, bullied, cajoled and inveigled players and patrons alike until he got what he wanted, and what he did want placed Harrogate in the forefront of the musical world. He described himself as a cart horse, but it was a horse of extraordinary sinew.

Jones was an itinerant child musician in his native Suffolk. He trained at Kneller Hall after enlisting in the Dragoon Guards and qualified as a bandmaster. Moving to Yorkshire he coached brass bands before moving from Leeds Rifles to Harrogate. He died at the age of 64.




Harrogate Temperance Band


Harrogate Temperance Band, 1895

Harrogate Temperance Band 1895 - outside the Granby Hotel


  • 2nd Annual Report and Accounts - 1892
  • 5th Annual Report and Accounts - 1895
  • 10th Annual Report and Accounts - 1900
  • 16th Annual Report and Accounts - 1906

    18th Annual Report of the Harrogate Temperance Prize Band - 1908


    LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

    In presenting the Eighteenth Annual Report and Balance Sheet, the Committee feel that the Band may be congratulated in maintaining its position in the town as a high-class Band, and that great credit is due to the Bandsmen for the way in which they have worked together to keep up the good name which the Harrogate Temperance Band has in the town and district.

    On turning to the Balance Sheet, the year commenced with a balance due to the Treasurer of £7 0s. 1d., with an expenditure during the year of £46 11s. 8d. - total expenditure of band fund £53 11s. 9d. The income for the year to this fund was £68 2s. 5d., leaving a balance in the hands of the Treasurer of £14 10s. 8d.

    During the year we purchased a New Uniform for the Band at a cost of £54 11s. 0d., and the income to this fund was £29 8s. 5d., leaving a balance due to the fund of £25 2s. 7d. The total income for the whole of the funds amounts to £97 10s. 10d. The total expenditure for the whole of the funds is £108 2s. 9d, leaving a balance due to Treasurer of £10 11s. 11d., showing the Band to be in a flourishing condition.

    The Committee heartily thank the whole of the subscribers and friends for their support during the past year, and trust to have their further support during the present year.

    The Committee also desire to thank the Bandsmen and other friends who have given Music and assistance in helping to keep the Band together, and trust to have a continuance of the same during the present year.

    The Band have fulfilled the following engagements during the year:- Bilton Grange School Sports, Burton Leonard Friendly Societies' Sunday Parade, Railway Servants' Orphans' Sunday Parade and Meeting, Modern College Sports, Cricket Club Charity Match, Harrogate Agricultural Show, Co-operative Society's Children's Gala, Roundhill Sports, Kirkby Overblow Horticultural Show, Primitive Methodist Sunday Meeting in the Bogs Field, Friendly Societies' Hospital Sunday, six times at Kursaal, three times for the British Women's Temperance Association, and have given Free Sacred Concerts for Friendly Societies' Council in aid of the Gala Funds for Harrogate Infirmary, Grove Road Brotherhood, Citizen's Temperance League, Harrogate Football Club, Pleasant Saturday Evening Concerts, and alternate Sundays in the Valley Gardens and Bogs Fields.

    Yours on behalf of the Committee:
    J.H. SHIELDS, Hon. Secretary.
    S. COUPLAND, Assist. Secretary.

    In addition, this year the band had some 180 subscribers who gave a total of of £33 to funds, equalling the income from engagements (excluding collections), and a figure of £18 was paid to the Conductor.

    In 1926 a song was composed and sung (to an unknown tune) extolling the virtues of the Harrogate Band. Click here for the scurrilous verses! This was part of a suite of songs called the "Harrogate Songbook". Three of these have recently been set to new music by Donald Avison and recorded on the Harrogate Bands CD Made in Harrogate


    Harrogate Temperance Band, North Yorkshire, England, c. 1920
    Click the picture to enlarge it

    Harrogate Silver Prize Band

    By the early 1930s, the Band had changed its name to the Harrogate Silver Prize Band and the financial position was very similar - although there was a significantly reduced number of subscribers. The Band's income and expenditure was not much increased (around the £130 level)

    A highlight of this period was the Band's two visits to the Crystal Palace in London to compete in the National Brass Band Championships Finals in 1929 and 1930.

    The Band was renamed Harrogate St. John Ambulance Band during WW2, reverting to its Silver Band name in 1947. It disbanded finally in 1956. Members of the Committee safeguarded the instruments which were ultimately used by other bands. The Band's sheet music was acquired by the Summerbridge & Dacre Silver Prize Band, where it still resides. The last surviving member of the Harrogate Temperance Band, Bill Jewitt, originally euphonium, lately baritone, was 96 in May 2002 and until the beginning of 2002 was Britain's oldest active bandsman, playing with Summerbridge & Dacre Band. Another veteran member of the Harrogate Silver Band is Arthur Layfield, who joined in 1947, and who now conducts the Summerbridge & Dacre Band. A new history of the Summerbridge & Dacre Silver Prize Band has just been published.

    Harrogate Silver Prize Band, 1937 - The Rose Gardens, King's Road, Harrogate

    Back row, left to right: H. West, F. Vardy, F. Wain, J.Todd, S. Moseley, ? Cox, C. Stanway;
    Middle row: C. Thompson, J. Godfrey, F. Hutchinson, Arthur Cook, C. Barker, A. Gillyon, Frank Moseley, Jim Moseley, L.Turner;
    Front row: L. Blakeborough, J. Roberts, ? Cox, P. Shields, R. Littlewood (bandmaster), D. Britton, C. Ramsey, ? Lavender, J. Jordon.



    Harrogate St John Ambulance Band, c. 1942
    The young boy on the extreme left, is 11 year old Maurice Graham Click the picture to enlarge it





    Harrogate Borough Band

    This was Harrogate's second brass band and was roughly contemporary with the Harrogate Temperance Band - being in existence from the start of the century until it too disbanded at the outbreak of World War Two. One instance where the band was somewhat partisan in its playing is recorded here:

    In 1901, the impending County Council election resulted in some colourful exchanges between the supporters of Harrogate's Conservative candidate, Samson Fox, and Liberal candidate JH Wilson. Although both men exercised punctilious politeness to each other in public, their supporters were less fastidious, and the newspapers reported that respective public meetings were being interrupted with "unseemly behaviour". Both men had served terms as Mayor, and both were experienced businessmen, Wilson having been a skilled dispensing chemist, and Fox running the Leeds Forge and having amassed a multi-million pound fortune.
    A claim by Fox's men he had been the inspiration behind the building of the Royal Baths was countered by a reply from Wilson's men that the idea had been that of the late Alderman, Richard Oliver, and Messrs Carter, Fortune and Ward, and moreover, that Fox had not even been a councillor when the matter was first introduced. In the event, the public supported Fox with 2,067 votes. Wilson receiving a close 1,875 votes, and a triumphant Samson Fox addressed the public from a window of the Conservative Club.
    It had been rumoured before the election, that JH Wilson's plan to give a big outdoor speech had been thwarted by the sudden appearance of the new Borough Brass Band which, by coincidence, had just been provided with smart uniforms by Samson Fox, who had also given the band the large and valuable music library of the late Leeds Forge Brass Band. Apparently the band had played the national anthem, Rule Britannia, Hearts of Oak, and other patriotic airs, whenever Wilson tried to begin his speech.
    Out of 4,967 burgesses with voting rights, 3,954 actually voted, and a clearly disgusted Herald editor noted that two persons had attempted an electoral impersonation, such a thing only having been recorded once before in the town's electoral history.

    Alfred Leeming was treasurer of the Harrogate Borough Band when the band gave a programme of music in the Bogs Field, on Sunday afternoon, 9th June 1901.


    Some reports from the newspapers about Harrogate Bands


    Harrogate Borough Band

    • January 1915 - Robert Littlewood, who was for a number of years conductor of Harrogate Borough Band, left to join the Seaforth Highlanders Band
    • March 1915 - Harrogate Borough Band and Harrogate Postmen's Band to play in Valley Gardens on Sundays throughout the season
    • June 1915 - Demonstration on Bogs Field - Harrogate Borough Band and Harrogate Temperance Band played jointly under the baton of H. Breeden
    • September 1915 - Ernest Abrams, formerly cornet player in the Harrogate Borough Band, was killed by a German sniper
    • January 1917 - H. Breeden, conductor of Harrogate Borough Band, acknowledges receipt of parcel at the front from well-wishers in Harrogate, and notes that some serving band members have been killed or wounded, and that Harry Holmes is missing.
    • January 1947 - Celebrating his golden wedding, James Boyd Hobkinson was a pioneer of the Harrogate Temperance Band, which had its headquarters in a room in Cambridge Street opposite St Peter's Church. When that band broke up he and others formed the Harrogate Borough Band, and he also played cornet in the Harrogate Silver Band
    • April 1947 - Celebrating his golden wedding, A.W. Carrick was a bandmaster of the Harrogate Borough Band and Harrogate Postmen's Band until he left in 1919 to become associated with the Milnsbridge Socialist Band

    Harrogate Brass Band
    • January 1843 - played at the Royal Cheltenham Pump Room in Harrogate for the Harrogate Literary and Scientific Institution.
    • June 1844 - played at the Harrogate Horicultural and Floral Society Exhibition in the Royal Cheltenham Pleasure Gardens
    • August 1844 - played at the Harrogate Horicultural and Floral Society 2nd Exhibition in the Royal Cheltenham Pleasure Gardens
    • January 1845 - played at the Victoria Room, Low Harrogate, for the Harrogate Literary and Scientific Institution.
    • May 1845 - led a procession at Ripley for the Oddfellows
    • June 1845 - led the procession of the Yorkshire Unity of the Ancient Order of Gardeners from the New Inn, Harrogate
    • September 1845 - played at the Harrogate Horicultural and Floral Society 2nd Exhibition in the Montpelier Pleasure Grounds
    • June 1846 - played at the cricket match between Harrogate and Knaresborough Junior Club in front of the Granby Hotel on the Stray
    • September 1846 - played at the Harrogate Horicultural and Floral Society 2nd Exhibition in the Montpelier Pleasure Grounds
    • August 1882 - played at the North of England Bicycle Meet, in Harrogate

    Harrogate Postmen's Band
    • March 1915 - Harrogate Borough Band and Harrogate Postmen's Band to play in Valley Gardens on Sundays throughout the season
    • May 1915 - Postmen's Band withdrew from Sunday performances until members are not engaged on military service
    • October 1915 - Trooper H. Watson, Yorks Hussars, conductor of Harrogate Postmen's Band, is with the B.E.F. in Belgium
    • April 1947 - Celebrating his golden wedding, A.W. Carrick was a bandmaster of the Harrogate Borough Band and Harrogate Postmen's Band until he left in 1919 to become associated with the Milnsbridge Socialist Band

    Harrogate Rifle Band
    • September 1860 - played at the opening of the great avenue through Victoria Park, Harrogate
    • September 1862 - played at the Ripley Agricultural Society exhibition in Low Harrogate
    • September 1871 - played at the opening of Christchurch schools in Harrogate by Baroness Burdett Coutts
    • August 1874 - played at the Harrogate Horicultural and Floral Society Exhibition in the Spa Grounds
    • July 1876 - played in a procession to welcome the Duke of Connaught to Harrogate
    • January 1880 - played at a concert to raise funds for the Cottage Hospital in Harrogate, conducted by J. Rawling
    • July 1882 - played at the Harrogate College Athletic Sports
    • September 1883 - played at the opening of the new Cottage Hospital in Victoria Park, Harrogate
    • February 1884 - played at the ceremony for the Incorporation of the town of Harrogate
    • June 1887 - led a procession for the dedication of the new statue of Queen Victoria
    • July 1887 - played at the North of England Bicycle Meet, in Harrogate

    Harrogate Rifle Volunteers Band
    • August 1863 - played at the Harrogate Floral and Horicultural Society Exhibition in the Cheltenham Pleasure Grounds
    • September 1877 - played at the Skating Masquerade at the Prince Arthur Skating Rink in Harrogate.

    Harrogate Volunteer Band
    • May 1863 - played at the Whit Monday procession in Knaresborough
    • October 1879 - layed at the Masquerade Carnival at the Skating Rink in the Royal Spa Grounds, Harrogate.
    • August 1885 - played at the North of England Bicycle Meet, in Harrogate

    Harrogate Subscription Band
    • October 1880 - played for the North Eastern Railway Company staff entertainment at the Royal Spa Concert Room

    Harrogate Temperance Band
    • June 1915 - Demonstration on Bogs Field - Harrogate Borough Band and Harrogate Temperance Band played jointly under the baton of H. Breeden
    • August 1915 - Harrogate Temperance Band played at recruiting rally in Harrogate
    • January 1917- F.G. Jeffrey, who played soprano cornet in the Harrogate Temperance Band under the baton of Mr Todd, was made bandmaster of a divisional band in France
    • May 1917 - Private A.E. Hart, member of Harrogate Temperance Band for twenty years, died on his way home on leave from the front
    • September 1917 - Harry Thornton, member of Harrogate Temperance Band, is recovering in hospital in France
    • January 1947 - Celebrating his golden wedding, James Boyd Hobkinson was a pioneer of the Harrogate Temperance Band, which had its headquarters in a room in Cambridge Street opposite St Peter's Church. When that band broke up he and others formed the Harrogate Borough Band, and he also played cornet in the Harrogate Silver Band




    Harrogate Volunteer Band

    Harrogate's first Municipal Orchestra, also inaugurated in 1888.
    Mr J Sidney Jones (centre) as conductor

    Bandstand in the Valley Gardens - early 1900s

    Bandstand on West Park Stray, Harrogate, in the 1870s

    Band playing in Bogs Field in early 1900s

    A band playing in the Crescent Gardens Bandstand in 1929
  •