The bands formed by local communities, temperance societies, or the military, developed into brass bands in the 1840s with the introduction of valved brass instruments such as the saxophone. Brass bands became widespread, and particularly associated with places of work, such as collieries and factories.
The significance of brass bands went beyond music in the co-operative movement. Like the Boy Scouts and other movements, they were to encourage solidarity and comradeship. Unlike the Scouts and certain other movements, however, they did not have a militaristic edge, although they did sometimes carry a political message. The bands were also for pure entertainment, performing at co-operative and local events to the edification of crowds or marching through local streets. They were made up from co-operative members and rooted in their communities.
- Karyn Stuckey, Assistant Archivist, National Co-operative Archive.
Above CWS (Co-operative Wholesale Society) Manchester band, 1940s, photo copyright © National Co-operative Archive, reference GB 1499 CPR 6/15 Music. All enquiries about photographic collections and copyright to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Sir Edward Elgar (1857-1934): best known for Enigma Variations, 1896, Elgar also composed works for brass bands.
- John Golland (1942-1993): composer who wrote and arranged for brass band, and directed several bands.
- Josef Holbrooke (1878-1958): composer who wrote works for military and brass bands.
- Thomas Pitfield (1903-1999): composer, artist and writer; his music is published by the Royal Northern College of Music.
- Granville Bantock (1868-1946): Elgar's immediate successor to the Chair of Music at University of Birmingham in 1900.
- John Ireland (1879-1962): composer; Professor of Composition at the Royal College of Music, 1923-1939.
- Sir Adrian Boult (1889-1983): musician, composer and conductor.
- South Wales Miners' Gala, 1983: video recordings made by the National Union of Miners; the gala's entertainment included brass bands.
- Mining films: includes material relating to Derrick Knight's 1960 documentary film Miners' Gala Day.
- Co-operative Press Photographic Collection: includes photos of bands and events, ... 20th century...
- South Wales Coalfield Personal Collections photographs the collection of David Rhys Grenfell MP (1881-1968) includes photographs of a silver band, 1926.
- South Wales Coalfield recreation (sport, social organisations and events) photographs
- Herbert Anthony (fl. 1970): deputy headmaster, whose papers include notes on brass band and other musical activities in Menai Bridge.
- Yr Eifl and Trefor Brass Bands: bands of villages on the Llyn Peninsula; collection of minute books dating 1897-1966.
- Vincent Evans (fl. 1949): Secretary of the Gwaun-cae-gurwen Silver Band (formed 1862) for 23 years.
- Victoria Institute (Hartshead Moor) of the Society of Friends: stablished in 1868, and one of the Institute's first activities was to form a brass band.
- Rawlinson Charles Ford (1879-1964): Yorkshire silk spinner; papers include photos of Bentham Silver Band.
- Brass Band Research Archive: library of the National Youth Brass band of Great Britain, a large number of original scores and a unique collection of Brass Band News from 1882 onwards (Popular Music Research Centre, University of Salford)
- Brass Bands England and the British Brass Bands Registry.
- Play While at University: bands welcoming members while they are at university (The Brass Band Portal website)
Links are provided to records on Copac for these items. Copac is the free, web based national union catalogue, containing the holdings of many of the major university and National Libraries in UK and Ireland plus a number of special libraries. For more information about accessing items see the FAQs on the Copac website.
- BRAND, Violet & Geoffrey (eds.) Brass Bands in the 20th century (Letchworth : Egon, 1979). Records on Copac
- COOPER, T.L. Brass bands of Yorkshire (Clapham, Yorkshire: Dalesman, 1974). Records on Copac
- HAILSTONE, Alf The British bandsman centenary book: a social history of brass bands (Baldock: Egon, 1987) Records on Copac
- HERBERT, Trevor (ed.) Bands : the brass band movement in the 19th and 20th centuries (Milton Keynes: Open University Press, 1991). Records on Copac
- TAYLOR, Arthur R. Brass bands (London : Granada Publishing, 1979). Records on Copac
- Brass band world: an independent monthly magazine for bands Records on Copac.
- Directory of British Brass Bands Records on Copac
- Music scores and sound recordings for brass bands Records on Copac
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