And now for something completely different….

This blog normally focuses on the history of brass and similar “brassy” ensembles over the last 200 years. Many “works” bands existed during this time and some of the most famous brass bands of the past owed much of their success to their industrial or commercial patrons. A few still survive, though the sponsorship and patronage elements are very different these days.

Aside from the brass and military/concert bands, other forms of musical groups occasionally were formed by or in commercial companies. These included drum and fife bands, concertina bands, choirs and, even more rarely, banjo bands.

This example is the Manchester Corporation Tramways Banjo, Guitar and Mandolin Orchestra from the 1930’s. They broadcast on the Regional Northern Radio Programme in January 1933, January 1935, and August 1935, conducted by Arthur F. Hill. It was formed in 1932 by Arthur Hill, and by 1938 it was known as the Birchfield Banjo Mandoline and Guitar Orchestra, but still mainly composed of Corporation employees. It is presumed to have disbanded during WW2.

Manchester Corporation Tramways Banjo, Guitar and Mandolin Orchestra, c. 1934

During this time the Manchester Corporation also supported two brass bands, based at the Hyde and Birchfields depots. Two earlier brass bands were also sponsored by the Manchester Corporation in the 1890’s and early 1900’s – at the Holt Town and Water Street depots. Sadly there are no known photographs of any of these four bands.

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