Marsden's honest toil reaches 125

The Marsden Band will celebrate its 125th birthday in 2014 — a great achievement based on good old honest toil.

Marsden at 125

2014 will mark the 125th anniversary of the Marsden Band, and to celebrate the landmark they have produced a 100 page booklet that has unearthed some great bits of their rich history.

Honest Toil

'Honest Toil' – inspired by the name of the famous William Rimmer march, was commissioned by Band President Brian Boothroyd, and was compiled by former bandsman and British Bandsman journalist Ron Massey.

Brian, who played cornet with the band for 30 years, enlisted the help of Colne Valley High School pupils to research the band’s history for its centenary in 1989, but nothing was published at the time.

Expert help

However, on this occasion he enlisted the help of one of the UKs foremost experts on brass banding to come up with a definitive potted history of the Yorkshire band.

In an interview with the local Huddersfield Examiner newspaper, Brian admitted that not much of the band’s history remained and said: "The task has not been an easy one. There was a dearth of information available but the fact finding has been a revelation. The publishing of the book is the realisation of a dream."

Band Jack

One of the most interesting stories in the book concerns mill worker ‘Band Jack’, who was born in 1877.

Jack was a loom tuner at Bank Bottom Mill and was helping a workmate when he was accidentally struck in the mouth with a hammer. The blow knocked out a tooth, but being a resourceful bandsman he fashioned a new wooden one from the shuttle of a loom and was able to play on!

There was a dearth of information available but the fact finding has been a revelation. The publishing of the book is the realisation of a dreamBand President Brian Boothroyd


The book reveals that the roots of the band go back as far as the 1850s but it formally became Marsden Band on June 22, 1889.

Some of the band’s oldest material includes a poster for the 13th Annual Open Air Musical Festival dated July, 1898, whilst the oldest known picture dates to 1925.

The band has printed an initial 250 copies of the book and costs have been met by the Cuckoo’s Nest charity shop in Marsden.

Copies cost £5 and are available through the band.

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