History


A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE BAND

There is little concrete evidence of the band before the turn of the century. There are however a number of references in the local press, the first being in 1842. On 13 October of that year, following a cricket match in Otley, it was reported that "the match terminated in favour of Knaresborough by the small number of three runs. The Knaresborough men on their return home were hailed by the excellent brass band of music and welcomed by a demonstration of public feeling". The late Joss Todd, who conducted the band from 1949 to 1962, confirmed that his father played in the Band during the 19th Century.

 

  The band in 1900 at Ripley Show (Photograph J W Calvert, Alpha Studios, Starbeck)

  The first real evidence of a regular band in Knaresborough is a photograph taken at Ripley show in 1900, showing a fine body of 15 uniformed men complete with brass instruments, drum, flute and clarinet. Other early photographs, of which the Band has the originals in its archives, have been published by local historian Dr Arnold Kellett. These show the band in 1911 again at Ripley, and in 1914 at Knaresborough Station. 

The first written records date back to 1927 in the form of cash accounts, and statements to the Annual General Meeting. The band were by then well established at the rear of the George & Dragon in Knaresborough, where they remained until moving to the Knaresborough Football Club about 10 years ago. They played most weekends between May and September in the Knaresborough Castle Yard, collecting up to £1 per performance. These collections were however the main source of income. The band also played at the local cinema and took part in several brass band contests. In 1928, when the new bandstand was opened in the Castle Yard, the collection amounted to over £5! At that time, bandsmen were paid for their attendance, and an annual allowance was paid to the Conductor. Professional tuition was provided free of charge to the bandsmen.

A new set of brass instruments was purchased at prices ranging from £13 to £38: these were made the subject of a Trust Deed dated 22 April 1931. New uniforms were purchased in 1934, perhaps in preparation for the Jubilee of 1935.
The band also had an active social life, with trips to Blackpool, Whitley Bay and South Shields. These may have coincided with band contests, for the payment of an entrance fee for a pageant in Blackpool coincided with the band's annual trip.
After the war, the band was again raising money to buy new music and instruments, and to repair existing instruments. The band held regular whist drives to help boost the funds, and was once again performing in Knaresborough and the surrounding areas. Players were no longer paid, but tuition was still provided. At many events, the band played free of charge as a service to the town and local community.