Band History

There have been Slaithwaite Bands, with short gaps at times, since the early 1800s but the present organisation was formed in 1892.

Below is a brief timeline of the band’s history.  The  information up to 1952 is taken from an article that appeared in the Huddersfield Daily Examiner on December 15th 1956, a copy of which can be seen hanging on the bandroom wall.

View a transcription of the full Examiner article here.

1892 – Band formed as ‘Slaithwaite Brass and Reed Band’ at Shred School.


Slaithwaite Brass and Reed Band 1892
Four in front (left to right): F Barmforth, T Sykes, H Bamforth, B Sykes
Front row (left to right): J Bamforth, J E Quarmby, J W France, G Sykes, J Hirst, J Shaw, C W Haigh, Lockwood Sykes
Back row (left to right): John Haigh, W Haigh, C Mellor, S A Bailey, D Haight
1895 – The band move to a wooden pavilion at Clough House.

1905 – First prize at Crystal Palace winning ‘The Grand Shield’


Upper Slaithwaite Prize Band, Winners of the Grand Challenge Shield at the Crystal Palace, 30th September 1905
Back row: T Sykes, J Sykes, H Wood, J Sykes
Middle row: S A Bailey, T Hirst, L Sykes, W Sykes, F Haigh, E Wood, H Eastwood, F Gledhill, E Walker, E Sykes, W Garside
Front row: J A Wood, F Pogson, W Hanson, B Sykes, A Holden (Conductor), D Haigh, G Sykes, B Berry, W E Hirst, J Crosland

1925 – The band move to their new purpose-built bandroom at Ing Head.

1929 – Noel Thorpe appointed conductor

1933 – First prize at Crystal Palace, becoming the only band to have gained The Grand Shield twice.

1937 – First prize at the Belle Vue July contest, Second prize at the Belle Vue September contest

1938 – 4th September win the £2000 Challenge Trophy at the September Championship event at Belle Vue becoming champions of Great Britain. Test piece ‘Owain Glyndwr’ (Maldwyn Price).


Winners of the Grand Shield 1938

1942 – The Band celebrates its Jubilee, producing a celebratory booklet.

In the 3 years following war the band were third prize winners in the ‘Daily Herald’ second section of the North Eastern area finals.

Hayden Wood’s Merridale March

Haydn Wood, a world famous composer (including works such as ‘Roses of Picardy’) born in Slaithwaite wrote a march for the band named Merridale. It was first performed at the Christmas concert on 19th December 1948, and to commemorate the 60th anniversary it was performed at our Christmas concert on 21st December 2008.

More about Haydn Wood and his connection with Slaithwaite can be found on the Haydn Wood Website.

1946 – winners of the Open March Championship of Great Britain at belle vue.

1952 – Winners at Huddersfield and District Brass Bands Association’s winter contest.

1956 – December, First place in the first section of the Huddersfield and District Brass Bands
Associations annual winter contest.


Slaithwaite Brass Band 1956
Back row: A Holden, H Atkinson, T Norman, ? Godfrey, J? Barry Sykes, A Haigh, S Jackson, F Gartside, D H Jackson, B Boothroyd
Middle row: J Sykes, G Sykes, J Lonnon, J Whiteley, P Drake, R Whiteley (band secretary), J Holden, J Burns, B Whitwam
Front row: T Jackson, E Stead, R Atkinson, N Thorpe (conductor), H Chapman (society secretary), C Lunn, F Hirst

During the 1960s the band were lucky enough to acquire the services of two aspiring new conductors, Roy Newsome and Derek Broadbent who both shared success with the band. Each of them went on to develop successful musical careers in their own right.


Slaithwaite Brass Band late 1960s
Back row: Brian Taylor, Robert Sykes, Trevor Wood, Philip Ellis, Anthony Walker, Albert Holden, George Sykes, Keith Martindale, Ivan Conroy, Joe Clapperton, Herbert Luty.
Middle row: Tom Woolford, John Whitwam, Frank Garside, Brian Taylor, Peter Jubb, Jack Lonnen, Phillip Wood, Arthur Haigh, Malcolm Ellis, Bob Sowerby.
Front row: Edwin Stead, John Whiteley, Clive Jowett, Tommy Helliwell, Derek Broadbent (M.D.), John Sowerby, Peter Woodhead, Jack Holden

2003 to 2008 – In 2003 the band appointed Barry Hudson as MD. Under his direction the band achieved great goals having being invited to take part in the Brass Band National Finals in Harrogate in two consecutive years (2004 and 2005), and as a result were promoted to 2nd section grading in 2006. Barry lead the band to further success achieving first place in the 2nd section at the 2008 Yorkshire Regional Brass Band Championships. This earned the band promotion to the 1st section and the chance to represent Yorkshire at the National Finals in Harrogate.


National Finals 2005


National Finals 2008

2010 – Tabby Clegg appointed new MD.


2013, August – Rob Westacott appointed new MD.


Slaithwaite Band 2014

Back row: Steve Quinlan, Heidi Johnson, Graham Batley, Joanne Griffith, John Mitchell, Kim Garner, Clive Hartley, Daniel Booth, Hannah Bamforth, Drew Hudson. Middle row: Richard Brook, Andrew Booth, Matthew Bamforth, Deborah Booth, Phil Hudson, Neil Hardy, Sarah Thistlethwaite, Celia Ross, David Hudson. Front row: Jim Ross, Mark Eastwood, Peter Brier, Rob Westacott, Graham Chadwick, Andrea Stead, Colin Tracey, Matthew Kitchen.

2015, March 7th – The band took first place in the 3rd section Yorkshire Regional Championships gaining them an invitation to the National Brass Band Championships in Cheltenham and also promotion to the 2nd section from 2016. The test piece was Philip Sparke’s Evolution, 5 States of Change.

2018, January – Ryan Watkins appointed new MD.


2018, January 28th – Winners of 2nd section at Brass at the Guild in Preston. Also winners of best basses prize.

2018, October 14th – Winners of Pogson Bray Entertainment Contest

2019, October – Matt Hindle appointed as new MD


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