Blasts o' th' Past

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The 1937 Band - Winners of the Belle Vue Championship Contest, September 6th 1937

Like all bands we have players that come and go for various reasons. We thought it would be good to have a pictorial database of past players, conductors and concerts to remind people of our glorious history as we enter our 3rd Century of existence in 2018.

Some of the photographs on these pages are from our extensive records that go back a long way but some will be of players who have been with us in recent years. In addition there is a page which allows us to show some of the memorabilia we have in our records which date back to the 1800's.

We hope you enjoy exploring!

A Glorious Past

The quaintly named Besses o' th' Barn is an old industrial town situated between Manchester and Bury, in Lancashire. Competing theories for the origin of the name abound. Perhaps the most colourful involves Dick Turpin’s famous mount – Black Bess! The most likely, though, is that it stems from the name of the (in)famous landlady of a local hostelry. Besses o' th' Barn’s main claim to fame, however, is that it was the birthplace of – and has given its name to – what is certainly one of the oldest and arguably most famous brass bands in the world.

Read more: History of Besses

Here is quite a famous picture that shows the first Besses o' th' Barn "Brass" Band.  This picture is from 1860 and despite it having a "brass clarinet in Db" it is the first photograph we have of the "new shape", the last time the Brass and Reed band having appeared was 1853.

Read more: Pre 1905

In 1905 the band toured France to promote the Entente Cordiale.

The Bandsman produced a set of postcards showing some of their activities. There were at least 14 of these and we only have the six below so can you help? Do you have any of the missing pictures or do you have one of the medals that were presented?

Read more: 1905

This photo was taken in 1907 and appeared in the Canterbury Times on the 23rd January (p. 39).

Read more: 1907

You may be aware from the bands history page that it did a couple of lengthy tours of the world in the early part of the 20th Century and we have some excellent records of them.

Read more: 1907 - 1937

In 1937 Besses won the British Open Championships at Belle Vue.

Read more: 1937

To prove we have a sense of humour look at the band in the "Dodgy Haircut Years". We know some of these players are still around so drop us a line and identify yourselves! More pictures from this era to follow soon!

Read more: 1937 - 1980

This photograph was taken for the 175th anniversary of the band (in 1993). Do you recognise anybody in the band?

Read more: Post 1980

Apart from pictures we have some strange things in the archives.

Read more: Memorabilia

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