The Coming of the Mills
The band was formed with cotton mills being established in the village around the 1860s. The exact date is not recorded, but it is known that the band was in operation in some form by 1865, as they were due to play at the Grand Brass Band Contest at the Exhibition Palace, Dublin from 12th to 14th October of that year. However, due to bad weather the band and others due to compete could not make the crossing from Liverpool to Dublin.
The next photograph shows the landlord of the Old Star pub in Holymoorside, James Wilcockson, playing the drum with the band in 1872. It is highly likely that the band used the club room at the Old Star as a band room.
The Early Years
The top photo shows the band from the 1890s, some of whose relatives still live in the village today.
Back Row: J. Potter, H. Potter, H Hubbuck, – Hawksworth(?), G Turner, F Lowe, E Turner
Middle Row: C Bingham, F Furness
Front Row: S Furness, A Brocklehurst, – ? – , W Tomlinson, H Bingham
From the bands earliest days, it has gone through many difficult periods. In the past the band has also joined forces with other bands. Most notably it joined forces with the Brampton Band, and for a while was known as the Brampton and Holymoorside Band. During the 1950’s and the 1960’s the Holymoorside Band was closely connected with the Whittington Band.
Even through its history of difficult circumstances, the band has always managed to play for the Remembrance Day Service. The band even managed to play for VE day in 1945, no mean feat for a village band with most of its player’s away on active service.
The conductor of the band around 1920 was Paddy Tomlinson, who was succeeded by Tom Waring and George Whitelaw. Then following them, and officiating until the 1960’s, was Bill Fountain, shown in the photo below, leading the band on the Queen’s Coronation parade in 1953.
Bill Fountain was a euphonium player with the Sherwood Foresters Band from 1912 until it was disbanded around 1943. He was a first class musician and could play most of the band’s instruments. He also taught many of the children of Holymoorside to play, and led the band until age and deafness intervened. Two of his sons also played in the band.
During the 1950’s and 60’s, the band passed through its most difficult period and was kept alive by a few members rehearsing at the late Tom Proctor’s house on Harewood Road. In the early 70’s the bands fortunes changed with the four remaining players, conducted by Geoffrey Proctor, began to encourage new players and beginners to join the band. Once again the band thrived and was soon playing to audiences outside the village.
After Geoffrey Proctor the band have been led by Tom Ward (ex landlord of the Lamb Inn, Holymoorside), Ivan Straker, Stan Lee, Paul Harding, Humphrey Carrington (conducting in the photo below), John Walker (conducting in the lower photo), Andrew White, Paul Sewell, Stewart Brett, Steve Berrill, Ken Ineson and are currently under the baton of John Slater.