Crystal Palace Contests

Discussion in 'Events and Music of the Past' started by 4thmandown, Jun 28, 2010.

  1. 4thmandown

    4thmandown Member

    Some months back, I came across a story about the great cornet player Edwin Firth, in which his contesting debut was with Barnoldswick Brass Band at Crystal Palace in 1906. It seems that Barnoldswick and their near neighbours Earby were regular competitors at Crystal Palace, at least until the 1920's as my grandfather played in the band then.

    One thing I've never known is just how the national contest, for I presume it was such, was organised. Ewan Fox did try to contact me, but I lost his contact number. I have played for both (now much down on their luck) bands in my time and am interested in their "glory" days.
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  3. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Edwin Firth was offered the principal cornet seat at the recently formed Fodens band in 1908, and killed in action in June 1918.

    The Crystal Palace Contests were organised by the entrepreneur John Henry Iles, promoted through his own "British Bandsman" newspaper. It was, and (as the Nationals) remains to this day an entirely privately owned contest. At its peak in the late 20s and early 30s there were something like 7 sections and huge crowds in attendance. Unlike now, there were no regional qualifiers, any band could enter but in the end it was Iles' decision whether you got in or not.
  4. 4thmandown

    4thmandown Member

    Many thanks for that. Next Question: how were the contests organised? I'm guessing that it was in sections not unlike the old Belle Vue contests, but how were bands placed in the different sections?
  5. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Dunno, sorry. Have you tried contacting Walter at the brass band archive in Wigan?
  6. 4thmandown

    4thmandown Member

    Many thanks again. Will try Walter. I'd love to get something on both Barnoldswick and Earby's illustrious past(s) and hopefully create an article for the local paper to remind the locals of what they once had (and are in serious danger of losing). Sadly, that area of the country is very much a brass band "black hole" with only Nelson flying the flag on any sort of level. Also I want to find out whether my grandfather was telling the truth, or whether it was just the ramblings of a pensioner!
  7. Mrs Horn

    Mrs Horn Member

    Hi 4th Man :)

    I have contact details for both bands if you'd like them
  8. 4thmandown

    4thmandown Member

    That would be great thanks, though my dad still plays with Earby.
  9. Mrs Horn

    Mrs Horn Member

    Will PM you!
  10. I'llplayowt

    I'llplayowt New Member

    Hi I've just resigned as MD of Barnoldswick (going to NZ for a few months) and know Louise who is related to Edwin - she played as front row cornet for the band for many years. My email is - if you email me I'll pass on contact details for those who know more about the history of the band. We are still going strong with a healthy membership, but we are a non-contesting band at present, as the members prefer to play purely for enjoyment.
    Emma Sykes
  11. Chris Lee

    Chris Lee Guest

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