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Any Help We Can Give This Man?

Dear Sir/Madam,

Did your village, town or community once have its own brass band?

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 18th and early 19th 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 https://www.ibew.co.uk - in various locations, for example, in the Reference section under "Extinct Bands" or "Vintage Pictures".

With best wishes for your continuing research in local history,


Gavin Holman


Rod, I have a photograph dated circa 1920 of Birmingham City Prize Band. My husband's grandfather was the musical director and three of his sons are also pictured. I know this is a little later than Mr.Holman may be interested in but if he would like to see the photograph would you ask him to contact me. Thanks.


New Member
Hi Grace, rather a long time since you wrote about Birmingham City Prize band, but my Grandfather and 3 of his brothers were in the band. I would be grateful if you have any more information. My Grandmother destroyed a lovely large framed photograph of the band! Mazda


master brummie
Mazda, I am pretty sure Grace is no longer a member of the Forum, if I remember correctly she left due to family commitments, a pity as she was a most interesting poster.