Todmorden Old Brass Band

This band was active in 1853 through to the early 2000’s, when it finally disbanded following its move away from Todmorden to Rochdale. However its memory is being kept alive by past members of the band in a Facebook group:

Todmorden is still served by a brass band – the Todmorden Community Brass Band, which was established in 2001 following the departure of the Old Band.


Todmorden Old Brass Band c. 1930

The original Todmorden Old Band found itself in debt by £50.00 in 1868 –  a large amount of money at that time – which it eventually repaid. This was not unusual with bands having to purchase instruments and music. The band’s conductor was Eli Fielden in 1871, Arthur Hirst in 1879-1881. R.H. Howarth was secretary in 1879-1881. Ebor Pickersgill was vice-chairman in 1881. Pilling Greenwood and Eli Marsland were players in 1888. President was J.S. Hodgins in 1879 (having been a playing member since 1858. Secretary was Robert Cunliffe in 1900 (having been a member of the band for 21 years).

Members of the band in 1938 were: Tom Sunderland (Committee), Ashton Greenwood, Jimmy Hawksworth, Herbert Wadsworth, Albert Higgins, John Ackroyd, Crossley Crowther, Ernest Playford, Robert Horsfall, Harry Robinson, Billy Nuttall, Harold Eastwood, John Lord, Willy Robertshaw, Wilfred Oldfield, Wilfred Crabtree, Walter Mitchell (Band Master), Frank Lawton, Leslie Bridges, Sam Marshall, Walter Duffield, Leslie Baron, Harry Turner, Harold Potentier, Greenie Speak (Committee).

A concert in August 1883 was: Dauntless (J. Robinson), Forest Queen (H. Round), Light and Shade (H. Round), Iolanthe (Sullivan), Hours of Beauty (H. Round), The Roach (E. Swift), The Wild Rose (J.H. Garbutt), Reminiscences of Verdi, Patriotic (J. Frost).

A concert in August 1894 was: The Revenge (J. Ord Hume), Poet and Peasant (Suppé), Eldorado (H. Round), The Heavens are Telling (Haydn), Elixir of Love (H. Round), Hohenlinden (A. Owen), Rieselnder Strom (K.V. Keller), Pomona (H. Round), Invitation (Eugene Rose), Kiss in the Ring (T.H. Wright), Fairy Footfalls (L. Carolan), Theodora (H. Round), Valley of Ferns, Heroic (I. Marsden).

Records of the band 1908-1967 are held at the West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale.

For further information – see: Dowling, J. – An aspect of nineteenth century leisure: the development of the brass band with particular reference to Todmorden Old Brass Band – a project submitted in partial fulfilment of B.A. (Hons.) degree, Manchester Polytechnic, Department of English and History, 1984.

Here are some tickets from Todmorden concerts in the early part of the 20th century:

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