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.
The change from reed to Brass is quite interesting as it would appear that there was a big row after doing a wedding job for Lady Elizabeth Gray Egerton to the Hon Dudley de Ros on October 12th 1953 and the Reed Band never appeared in public again!
There are some interesting looking individuals (it is obvious that smiling was forbidden!) and some weird and formidable looking instruments!
The Conductor was Mr William Jones who is stood on the far left and was also solo Ab Cornet. Other members were as follows:
Brass Clarinet: William Stansfield
Cornets in Ab: Walker Hulton,George Howarth,George Hulme,David Chadwick and John Lomax
Tenor Horns: William Tonge and Robert Bradshaw
Baritones: James Allen and William Crossley
Tenor Eb: Henry Tattersall
Tenor Trombone: Andrew Eastwood
Bass Trombone: Benjamin Eastwood
Opheclide: Jesses Hilton
Bombardon Eb: William Sharples
Side drum: Squire Ogden
Bass Drum: Mark Eckersall
This is the original establishment they rehearsed in. They used the old mangle room!
A famous local conductor of the 1860 era was Mr James Alfred Melling of Manchester who was secured to re-enter the contest field at Denton they came nowhere - apparently they were robbed!!!
Other early notable people include Mr Walker Hulton who acted as bandmaster in the early years of contesting he is described by Joseph Hampson as "A remarkably popular and devoted enthusiast, of a very generous disposition whose wonderfully true and noble examples were as graceful as his features" - all Band Sergeants please take note!
And finally (unless you can send us more of this era) here is a picture of the band in 1888:
Back Row: J.Hilton A.Dawson W.Lawson A.Owen F.Entwistle R.Eastwood T.Hampson J.F Carter F.Durham
Middle Row: R.Grounds W.Bogle G.Pollit J.Lownds R.Jackson B.Livesey W.Jackson P.Booth J.N. Hampson J.Briggs E.Eastwood
Front Row: E Bleakley F.Barlow J.Chadwick E.Taylor P.Lightbown A.Bleakey