Legacy of the brass band

Sartorial splendour: The Trawden Upper Town Band, circa 1870
Sartorial splendour: The Trawden Upper Town Band, circa 1870

A truly rare photograph this week as we gaze upon the sartorial splendour of the bandsmen of the Trawden Upper Town Band, captured here during the 1870s.

My former Royal Mail colleague and good friend David Whittaker has a proud connection with this almost 150 year-old picture as his great grandfather Harrison Whittaker is seen here centre stage during his career as a musician, later becoming the bandmaster of the Trawden prize band for over 40 years. Harrison died age 76 in 1910 with over a half-century of a musical life in the village.

Brass bands are today quite a rarity locally and the only one that I’ve seen over the past few years is the splendid Earby Brass Band.

Back during the 1940s as a young boy on the back of a truck for Mount Zion Sunday School in the huge, Whitsuntide procession, I can still recall the wonderful sound of at least three brass bands as we proudly rode through a packed Bonnie Colne.