The History of Barton Brass Bands


The first band thought to operate in Barton was the Hall's Ropery Band which operated from the early 1880's. Very little is known about this ensemble other than what it was called and that it was apparently founded by the Ropery.  On the 9th August 1878, however, the Hull Packet recorded Barton Brass Band heading a precession from the Forresters' Hall in Barrow to the parish church.  This was before the Hall's Ropery Band was reputedly formed and does point to the existence of a brass band in Barton in the 1870's.  Again, on the 13th August 1880, Barton Brass Band was mentioned in the Hull Packet.  They headed a precession from the Pelham Inn, in New Holland, to the Chapel of Ease.
The first mention of the Barton Ropery Band came in the Hull Packet of 28th January 1881 entitled George Altoft's Entertainment and read as follows:-

An entertainment for the benefit of G. Altoft, who is blind through a kick from a horse when working at Chapel Farm some years ago, was given at the Odd Fellows' Hall, last week. The following was the programme: Fantasia, Barton Ropery Band, The Azure Lake;" song, Mr Tenby Hunt, Jun, "I'm Afloat;" song, Miss Markham, "The Gipsy Girl;" song, Master C. Appleyard, "My Boyhood Days" (encored); duet, pianoforte, Misses Norris and Ward, "The Globe Quadrilles" (nicely played); song and chorus, Mr George Altoft, "Hard Times come again no more;" recitation, Mr A Else, "The Quaker" (well received); song, Mr F Hayward, "I Will be True to Thee" (encored); song, Miss Appleyard, "Leaf by Leaf the Roses Fade;" Fantasia, Barton Ropery Band, La Valsa des Roses;" Miss Peck, three songs (all encored), song, Mr George Altoft, "Hearts of Oak;" song and chorus, Mr R. A. Wood, A life on the ocean wave;" recitation, Mr A. Else; chorus, Band of Hope, "My Native Land;" fantasia, Barton Ropery Band, "Elmire."  Mr William Stamp Presided.  Owing to the weather, the attendance was not good.

On the 8th June 1881, again reported in the Hull Packet of the 17th June 1881, Barton Ropery Band headed a precession in aid of the annual festival or the Ancient Order of Foresters marching to Crosby then the Parish Church in Scunthorpe.  On the 11th June 1881, again reported in the Hull Packet of 23rd June 1881, Barton Ropery Band were involved in playing at the Volunteer Church Parade.  They met at the Volunteer Hall and marched to St. Peter's Church.  This report is particularly useful as it gives the name of the bandmaster, being Akester.  They then marched through Burgate, High Street to Chapel Lane, then through George Street to the Volunteer Hall.  Once more Barton Ropery Band was reported in the Hull Packet of 7th July 1882 when they headed a march through the streets of Barton to St. Peter's Church on Hospital Sunday.
On the 18th March 1883 the Hull Packet reported on the Temperance Brass Band of Barton parading the streets of Ulceby, adding yet another brass band to the history of Barton.  The Barton Ropery Band were still in existence at this time however as they were reported, in the Hull Packet of 23rd May 1884, marching through the principle streets of Barton on the anniversary of the Good Intent Lodge 612, afterwards dining at the Red Lion Hotel.  On the 20th June 1884 the Hull Packet reported Barton Ropery Band and the Temperance Model Band marching through the town on the Friendly Societies' Hospital Sunday.  The Hull Packet also reported a precession through the streets of Hull on 17th July 1885 which involved the Barton Ropery Band.

The above information would strongly suggest that the Barton Brass Band was the first brass band formed (or at least reportedly formed) in Barton, later becoming the Barton Ropery Band.
In the 1882 trade directory William Henry Dewey, of Whitecross Street, was recorded as a 'teacher of music and band master'.  The dates above suggest this would be the Hall's Ropery Band (or Barton Ropery Band).

In 1904 Mr F Hopper Snr formed the Barton Cycle Works Silver Band. This Edwardian band had many successes in competition, the most notable being the Contest held at the Crystal Palace in London where they gained a 3rd and 4th place in the years around 1907. Unfortunately on another occasion they had a few too many trips to the Public Bar and acted with an "unfortunate lack of sobriety" disgracing themselves on the contest platform. This caused their sponsor, F Hopper to gather them in the Cycle Works yard confiscating their instruments and ritually burning their uniforms before them - an inglorious end to a once fine band! This was not the end of banding though, for another band was formed called Barton Town Prize Subscription Brass Band, again a very successful band. In 1938 this band competed at the Belle Vue contest held in Manchester, playing alongside other such bands as the Fodens Motor Work's and the Black Dike Mills Colliery band.  They won the contest and on their return to Barton found themselves at the Railway station at 11.30pm. Not wanting to go home with a feeling of anticlimax, the band formed up and marched through the town! This impromptu performance was greeted by a large part of the community turning out to cheer them. After the war their success continued-under the Musical Direction of Mr F Benson this Band thankfully shortened its name to Barton Town Prize Band and in the 1950's gained competition success winning the 4th section area finals and gaining 2nd place in the finals when they competed in the 2nd section.

Following a short amalgamation in the 1960's with Barrow Britannia Band the present name began to be used. This band concentrated on introducing young people to Brass Banding and in the 1970's, under the direction of Mr S Stunnel, had many successes on the contest platform. This youth policy continued and in the 1980's and early 90's the band had a large membership boasting both a Community Band and Youth Band. The Community Band had a number of successes on the contest platform under several conductors, they also paid visits to Barton's twin town Feyzin on two occasions and regularly performed throughout the country holding concerts with celebrity guest soloists and choirs.

Many thanks to Ron Atkinson for providing some of his memories.

As with all my pages this is a work-in-progress and as such any new information will be added as and when it is discovered.

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