The works brass band

One of the reasons for the enduring success of the brass band movement in the British Isles is the support provided to bands by various industrial and corporate sponsors. From the 1850’s onward business owners have recognised the benefits of investing in brass musicians and supporting their workers and communities at the same time. The colliery bands were by far the most numerous of those industrially sponsored (537), followed by the railways (244), then iron & steel manufacturing (187). There were few areas of industry or commerce that have not supported bands over the years, and I have categorised most of them in the document below – around 2,200 of the 20,000 that have existed over the last 200 years. Here is a photo of just one of them: Brantham Xylonite Works Brass Band (the company produced celluloid products (an early form of plastic based on cellulose nitrate), originally at Homerton, then later near Manningtree where they built the new village of Brantham to house the workers, the band being established in 1893. Another “Xylonite” band was the Hale End Xylonite Works Band, based at Hackney which was formed later, in 1920).


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