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Blue Plaque to honour brass band's greatest entrepreneur

A Blue Plaque is to be unveiled in Bristol to mark the life and achievements of the great John Henry Iles.

  A Blue Plaque will honour John Henry Iles

One of the greatest figures in the history of the British brass band movement is to be marked with the erection of a Blue Plaque in his home city.

John Henry Iles was born in Bristol in 1871 and lived there for many years before making his name as perhaps the greatest brass band entrepreneur in history as the one time owner of the British Bandsman newspaper, R Smith & Co and the founder of the National Brass Band Championships.

Quixotic figure

He was also highly successful if quixotic figure in the amusement park business and became a managing director of Belle Vue Gardens and Zoo in Manchester and also the British Open Brass Band Championships.

Oddly, he also played first class cricket for Gloucester in 1890 alongside the great WG Grace. He died in 1951.

Wonderful event

To mark the occasion, which will be attended by members of the Worshipful Company of Musicians (who award the annual Iles Medal in his honour) as well as family members, the plaque will be unveiled by the Lord Mayor of Bristol, Councillor Lesley Alexander at his matrimonial home on Sunday, 29th April.

The City of Bristol Band will perform music at the event, with Band Chairman, Steve Ellis telling 4BR: "This wonderful event came through a chance conversation between one of our members and his former neighbour, who had been researching the inventor Gordon Iles (John Henry's son) and then became interested in his father.

We are delighted to have been able to help see the project through and mark the occasion with a short concert for this important local man who did so much to promote and develop the cultural phenomenon of brass banding in the UK."

He was also highly successful if quixotic figure in the amusement park business and became a managing director of Belle Vue Gardens and Zoo in Manchester and also the British Open Brass Band Championships4BR


The ceremony takes place on Sunday, 29th April (3.00pm) in St. Andrews Park, Sommerville Road, Bishopston, Bristol.

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Bmus (Hons)
Conductor | Composer