Legacy of the brass band

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.

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

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.