Gavin Holman writes:
I am carrying out research in the history of brass bands in local communities, and would like to ask if you know of any information about any such extinct bands in your area.
The late 19th and early 20th centuries were the "golden age" for these bands numbering, it is said, up to 40,000 distinct bands at their peak. Many of these bands were associated with local industries, often being a "works" band. Others provided a musical focus for many small towns and villages in the days before the gramophone and the wireless. Today, in contrast, only some 1,500 or so are left active in the UK.
Sadly many of the bands left little in the way of information about their existence, and what does exist is widely scattered with individuals, local archives and national collections.
Part of my research is to identify these lost bands, to collect together material to provide a central database of information – containing a mixture of primary information as well as references to material held elsewhere (e.g. in local archives).
Any information you can provide would be gratefully received. Whether actual information or pictures of any bands, or pointers to resources, or sources for further investigation. Even knowing that a particular band existed is significant!
Currently much of the information I have collected is available online, as a freely available resource, at http://www.ibew.co.uk - in various locations, for example, in the Reference section under "Extinct Bands" or "Vintage Pictures".
I do have a little information about Stirling bands, though very scant at present - and I'm sure there will have been others over the years and in neighbouring villages/towns, though you are correct in the difficulty in distinguishing between the brass and flute/pipe bands some times.
Stirling Burgh Band - Active in the 1890s and in 1928, conducted by W. Drummond.
Stirling Public Band - Active in the 1980s
And he provides a link to the super photo (above); for starters, does anyone recognise any of the players or the location?
SLHS adds that the Stirling Journal Index 1820-1869 mentions:
Auchterarder Brass Band, 1855; 1859
Deanston Brass Band, 1856, 1857, 1858, 1859, 1860.
Dunblane Brass Band, 1863, 1864, 1865, 1866.
Stirling Brass Band, 1866
Stirling (Bruce and Thistle) Brass Band, 1865, 1869.
Tilllicoultry Brass Band, 1869
Whins of Milton Brass Band, 1858, 1859, 1863.
There are other references to 'instrumental bands', tuba bands and others; And, of course, the Index goes on to 1970
This would be a wonderful project for someone to pick up locally and feed into the wider, national picture; it's what local history is all about. Why not give it a whirl?
Anyone interested do please get in touch; we will be happy to advise.