Brass Bands

  • 5th July 2024

While enjoying Pershore Midsummer Brass Festival this month we thought we would look through the archives for material on brass bands. Pershore Midsummer Brass is held on the first Saturday of July each year, in various venues through Pershore, Worcestershire. It has been running now for over 20 years. We know that many people in Worcestershire like to play with, or watch, brass bands and other local music groups and we would like to better represent this in our archives.

What material do we already have about Brass Bands?

We have photographs in the Worcestershire Photographic Survey, and on our catalogue, showing local bands playing at parks and events or marching through streets. We have a few posters in the original archives about performances from bands. We even have some items relating to local bandstands. But we seem to be short of items relating to existing Worcestershire bands or events.

Here are a selection of our brass band themed archives. Photographs from the Worcestershire Photographic Survey (WPS) can be viewed in our self-service area on microfilm, and other items can be viewed in the original archive area during opening hours. Any uncatalogued items (like the Oddfellows collection) can usually be viewed with 7 days notice if you contact the team.

Perscoran Brass

Young musicians playing outside whilst crowd watches

WPS Elmley Castle 62234: Perscoran Brass Band at Bredon Hill 1985 © Newsquest

Gordon Hartley Bennett (pictured here with young musicians from Perscoran Brass) helped establish Pershore Midsummer Brass and he remains the honorary president for the committee. He taught school children around Worcestershire to play brass instruments and founded and conducted Perscoran Brass which ran from 1983-2003. A very busy man, who until 2014 was also musical director for Alcester Victoria Silver Band.

Evesham’s Abbey Park

Round bandstand with a low domed roof

WPS Evesham 24519: Abbey Park. Bandstand 1962 © H.D. Small

Here is a photograph the bandstand at Evesham’s Abbey Park, one of many for which we have photographs and plans in the archives. In 1962 this one still had a glass surround (WPS24519). The proposed plans for the bandstand from about 1898 show a rectangular example with an open front and closed back that looks more like a bus shelter (BA 8392/4). Other photographs of bandstands that we hold include one at Redditch in Church Green West in 1930 (67804) and at Lion Hill Stourport on Severn in 1910 (41661). We even have photographs of the bandstand at Gheluvelt Park in Barbourne, Worcester, in different years: from the 1930s to the 1970s (WPS47808, 58558, 72824, 72828).

Worcester Municipal Band

Brass band in uniform progressing down a street

WPS Worcester City: High Street 13839: Worcester Municipal Band (1934) © R. J. Collins

We have several photographs of bands playing or marching in the streets of Worcestershire. Pictured here is Worcester Municipal band in 1934 (WPS13839). We also have photographs of Worcestershire Regiment Territorial Army band in Evesham in 1959 (WPS16609), The Mission Chapel Brass Band playing in Drakelow, Wolverley in 1912 (WPS16115) and an unnamed children’s band playing at an event at the Worcester Countryside Centre (556 BA12649/2 (iii)).

We have photographs of bands visiting Worcester from other cities, even other countries to play in various places. The Battle of Britain Band led a march past Worcester Cathedral in 1958 (WPS15364) and the Regimental Band of the Grenadier Guards appeared in Worcester’s High Street in 1956 (WPS11001). The Royal Marines Band paraded at the Shire Hall in 1951, and an unnamed German band in 1958 dressed in medieval costumes to provide a fanfare for the Mayor (WPS14683 and 14840). The visiting Dudley Salvation Army Band played at Gheluvelt Park, Worcester in 1928 (WPS72827).

Unity Brass Band

Yellow poster for Unity Brass Band 1995

Unity Brass Band poster from Oddfellows collection BA13666

We even have a small number of posters of bands. This one is from the Oddfellows collection which is currently being catalogued. We also have programmes of concerts and events including the Worcestershire Exhibition which included a brass band in the opening ceremony.

However, we have a shortage of photographs of current local bands. Today, local bands play in parks and at fetes, they play at concerts and even festivals, but where are the posters, photographs, programmes, even committee minutes, to hand down to the next generation to show how busy they all were? If you are involved with a local band or music group perhaps you would be interested in depositing your records with us. Archived records will be stored here in The Hive and, after processing, made available for public perusal. Please check the guidance on our website for advice on what should be deposited and what should be destroyed. If you would like to contact us about depositing the archives for a local group or society, or to find out what can be deposited in the archives please contact us via our website.

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