Elworth Silver Band (Cheshire)

This was founded in 1900 following the failure of the Sandbach Volunteer Band to return to Elworth as part of the celebrations for the Relief of Mafeking in May 1900. A grand parade was organised, led by one of Foden’s new steam traction engines, with the Sandbach Volunteer Band. This left Elworth, processed into Sandbach via Wheelock, picking up the Wheelock Temperance Band en route. The return parade to Elworth for a grand reception and bonfire, after the speeches at Sandbach, was sadly lacking in music. A local publican in Sandbach had offered free beer to the bandsmen. The Wheelock bandsmen were offended and went home, and the Sandbach Volunteers were scattered in various states of inebriation around the hotel. Thus it was that Elworth decided to form their own band, to avoid a similar situation in the future.

Initial subscribers to the new band included Edwin Foden of the nearby motor works.
The band was rapidly established under the baton of S. Charlesworth, with the bandsmen being awarded a straw hat when they achieved an acceptable level of proficiency – this becoming their “uniform”.

It flourished over the next two years until June 1902, when during the planning for the Coronation of Edward VII, there were arguments about the fees the band should to charge the village to play at the festivities, the bandsmen wanting a fee of £4 – the committee and village deeming this to be disloyal and dishonourable. Eventually the engagement was put out to tender, excluding the Elworth Band, the job being awarded to the London & North West Carriage Works Band from Crewe for a fee of £8. The Elworth Band did play on the day, at Sandbach, but this was their last engagement, being dissolved by the committee in July 1902, with the instruments being sold off.

Elworth Silver Band – June 1902

This photograph of the Elworth Silver Band shows: Back row – J. Davies, E.R. Foden, E. Venables, S. Charlesworth, H. Davies, E. Charlesworth, V. Pass. Middle row – C. Cross (driver), W. Peers, T. Hough, J. Mellor, G. Faulkner, G. Mason. Front row – A. Workman, G. Jones, J. Boulton, W. Edmonds, F. Wakefield, T. Mitchell, E. Spooner, S.P. Twemlow, H. Burgess, J.E. Cowap, W. Foden, E. Plant, Edwin Foden, and W. Arrowsmith.

Their story having ended, all was not lost as Edwin Foden realised he had an opportunity too good not to grasp. He offered to establish a new band under his name, he recalled the players and conductor of the Elworth Band, outfitting them with new instruments and uniforms – and Fodens Motor Works Band was born.

Some further information about the Elworth Band can be found in these books about Fodens Band:

Burgess, D. – By Royal Command: The Story of Fodens Motor Works Band – Fodens, 1977
Fodens Band – The History of Fodens Motor Works Band – Fodens, 1936
Littlemore, Allan – The Fodens Band: 100 Years of Excellence – Peak Press, 1999

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