Sutton Scotney Brass Band and its instruments

Sutton Scotney is a village between Winchester and Andover in Hampshire. The band was probably formed in the 1890’s. There are some photographs of the band which are tentatively dated 1910, and an extract from the parish magazine of 1919 congratulating the band on its succesful re-formation after the Great War. It disbanded in the early 1970’s.


Stuart Hay, a member of the band from 1954 through 1966, recalls:

“At the age of 11 I was taught to play cornet by Fred Mathews – Euphonium, along with three other local kids from the village of Springvale near Kings Worthy. The band operated out of the local Springvale British Legion Club hall on Wednesday nights. At that time the band mustered about one dozen with two members from the village of origin Sutton Scotney – Fred Taylor (tuba, of Taylor Motors), and Stan ? (cornet). Other members came from Winchester and the surrounding villages as far out as Micheldever and a couple of Navy bandsmen from Worthy Down Fleet Air Arm Corps. Public performances were few, village fates, summer carnivals, Armistice Day parades and Christmas carolling – these events were augmented by musicians from Whitchurch and Andover Brass Bands. The three bands combined their forces for each other’s engagements and consequently were well travelled from Hungerford to Winchester and all places between. By the late 1950’s rehearsals had moved to the top floor of the Co-op Bakery in Winchester which happened to be directly opposite and in the line of fire of the belfry of Winchester Cathedral. Rehearsals continued at the Co-op for several years until the Cathedral bell ringers decided to run their rehearsal at the same time at band practice – it was no contest so we moved to a room over the local Willow Tree Inn, somewhat sheltered from the cathedral by the towering structure of the old bakery but never completely free of those infernal bells – on reflection I’d put it that they made a significant contribution to the bands demise. The band continued to operate into the early 1970’s – I’d estimate the band folded by 1973 and I believe the instruments were donated to the Hampshire Schools Brass Band”.

Another source recalls the instruments being lent to South Wonston School before eventually being returned to the village.

Not much more is known about the band itself apart from these few dates:

  • On Whit Monday, June 1898, the band performed at a Primrose League gathering at Worthy Park, Itchen Valley
  • August 1900 it performed at the Dummer Friendly Society Fete at Dummer Park
  • November 1921 it played at the Sutton remembrance service at Wonston Church
  • In July 1922 it played at the Foresters’ Fete at Sutton Scotney, the Sutton Scotney Hospital Fete, and a Garden Party at Wonston
  • August 1923 saw the band performing at the Sutton Scotney Hospital Fete
  • Summer 1936 it led a parade to Wonston Holy Trinity Church.

Thirteen brass instruments, two drums and a pair of cymbals have survived the band. The instruments made by Boosey & Co were precisely dated from the archives of Boosey and Hawkes, while others were more tentatively dated by reference to The New Langwill Index. The dates, see the list below, suggest that a set of new instruments was bought in the 1920’s; three of the cornets are a little older although they may have been bought some time after the date of manufacture; one cornet and at least one of the tenor horns may date from the original foundation of the band.

sscot1The instruments had been kept in a store room in the village hall – having been entrusted to the Sutton Scotney Club (Gratton Trust) – and while most were basically sound, many were dented and all were dirty and tarnished. The bass drum was partly dismantled, both heads of the side drum were broken and one of the cymbals had been knocked on the edge. After consultation with The Horniman Museum in London, in 1995, which advised on the cleaning and repairs necessary, the instruments were donated to Winchester Museums Service in 1996, where they reside today. During this process there were several mention of “band papers and other documents” which were also part of the collection but, sadly, subsequent inquiries have failed to identify their location or even their existence.

Brass Instruments from Sutton Scotney Band

  1. Solbron Light valve cornet, Boosey & Co, 86614 – 18 Apr 1913
  2. Solbron Light valve cornet, Boosey & Co, 106781 – 20 Feb 1920
  3. Solbron light valve cornet, Boosey & Co, 109405 – 22 Oct 1920
  4. Cornet, probably by Courtois of Paris – before 1901
  5. Clear bore cornet, Boosey & Co, 89039 – 15 Jul 1914
  6. Class A trombone, Boosey & Co, 99341 – 1 May 1916
  7. Solbron tenor horn, Boosey & Co, 110925 – 10 Feb 1921
  8. Class B tenor horn, Boosey & Co, 1107011
  9. CEG tenor horn, made in Paris
  10. Class D tenor horn, Douglas & Co, 7 South St London EC – c. 1900
  11. Class B tuba, Boosey & Co, 107335 – 7 Jan 1920
  12. Class A tuba, C Foote, 1359 – after 1923
  13. Solbron Class A euphonium, Boosey & Co, 114302 – 15 Feb 1922

Boosy Solbron Cornet

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1 Response to Sutton Scotney Brass Band and its instruments

  1. Pingback: Where do all the old brass band instruments go? | IBEW – the History of Brass Bands

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