Ancient Dewsbury banding

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by MoominDave, Jul 21, 2011.

  1. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Right, I am confused...

    Starting in 1853, at the first British Open, Dewsbury is listed as a competing band. Throughout the 1850s and 1860s, this band's regular contesting conductor was John Peel. A band listed simply as this appears in contests until at least 1887, when it was described thus:

    So far, so simple.

    In 1861, the Dewsbury Rifles band appears, with several variations on the name appearing until at least 1869, including 29th West Yorks (Dewsbury Rifles). The 29th West Yorks was conducted by John Peel also.

    In 1863, Dewsbury Rifles and a previously unencountered band, Dewsbury Borough played against each other in a contest at Wakefield.
    Similarly, in 1869 Dewsbury Rifles and Dewsbury Old played against each other in a Wakefield contest.

    Also in 1863, we see the first contesting appearance of apparently another band, Dewsbury Old, which appears in contest records until at least 1894. This was conducted by John Peel at the 1866 British Open, and in the 1870s at the Open by John Lord, who also apparently conducted Dewsbury at the 1875 Open, at which Dewsbury Old were not listed. I suspect the 1875 entry should be for Dewsbury Old, given the conductor and the quote above about Dewsbury not contesting for many years after 1870, although, having said that, "Dewsbury" appears as a contest entry through the 1870s, often obviously used lazily, where it could refer to any band from the town, rather muddying the waters...

    In 1865, Oldroyd's (Dewsbury) appears too, briefly, as in 1866 does Spinkwell Mills (Dewsbury). I don't think that these bear on the other Dewsbury bands, but I'm not at all certain.

    So there we have at least six differently-named Dewsbury bands active in the 1850s and 1860s. However, I suspect that at least some of these may actually the same band, active under different names. The rifle band cannot be the borough band or the old band, but did share a conductor with the Dewsbury band. It was very common in this period for bands to be attached to volunteer rifle corps, and so it is seems reasonable to assume that the rifle band and the Dewsbury band were one and the same, although it is a little strange (but still plausible) that both names continue to occur through the 1860s.
    However, in 1869 at Blackpool, the rifle band and the old band competed against each other - but John Peel conducted the old band, which is a bit of a knock to this theory, and maybe suggests that Dewsbury took up the name Dewsbury Old in order to distinguish itself from the rifle band? But this would seem to contradict the quote above as Dewsbury Old attended the British Open contests of 1871, 1874, 1885 and 1886...

    In 1870, Charles Auty is recorded as winning a cornet prize for Dewsbury Old. He was previously listed as leading the Dewsbury Borough band in 1863, which was conducted by Frank Auty; evidently there was a family connection there. So, tentatively, I think we can identify the old and borough bands together. However (yawn...) Charles Auty won a cornet prize for Linthwaite in opposition to Dewsbury Old in 1872, so maybe this is rubbish...

    So, as you can see, I am thoroughly confused by all this, and that's without looking into the other Dewsbury bands that turn up later in the historical record.
    Does anybody know any solid facts about these bands?
  2. ploughboy

    ploughboy Active Member

    I may know a man who does, but he's not internet Savy, I'lll print out your light reading and pass it on, and see what he comes back with. . .
  3. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Thanks Garry, that's much appreciated

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