And the band played on in range of venues

Gloucestershire Echo - - NOSTALGIA - nos­te­[email protected] Robin BROOKS

NAILSWORTH Sil­ver Band gave the in­au­gu­ral per­for­mance from the new £60,000 band­stand in Glouces­ter Park this month in 2010.

By tune­fully do­ing so they were con­tin­u­ing a tra­di­tion in the city that dates back to Vic­to­rian times.

Many lo­cal people will re­mem­ber the present band­stand’s brick­built pre­de­ces­sor, which dated from the 1920s.

But the orig­i­nal was built in 1863, a year af­ter Glouces­ter Park opened, at the expense of Charles Walker, a lo­cal tim­ber mer­chant and in­dus­tri­al­ist who owned the Nor­ton Court es­tate.

A Glouces­ter guide book of the 1960s tells us: “Besides ar­rang­ing arts balls, ball­room cham­pi­onships, ju­nior com­pe­ti­tion dances, mid­night mati­nees, lec­tures, or­ches­tral con­certs, street dec­o­ra­tions at Christ­mas and a weekly Satur­day dance at the Guild­hall, the City’s En­ter­tain­ments and Pub­lic­ity Committee ar­range band con­certs and a car­ni­val in Glouces­ter Park, which orig­i­nated with the Hol­i­days at Home weeks dur­ing the war.

“Nor­mally held in the last week of July and first week of Au­gust, out­door en­ter­tain­ment is pro­vided on the stage of the Band­stand”.

If your mem­ory stretches back to the 1960s you may re­call the Bat­tle of the Bands that ac­com­pa­nied the sum­mer car­ni­val when lo­cal pop groups played from the band­stand for cash prizes.

The band­stand you see in this photo of Tewkes­bury’s Vic­to­ria Gar­dens was erected in 1904 and funded by a se­ries of con­certs played by the Cor­po­ra­tion Band.

At a meet­ing in Jan­uary of that year it was re­vealed the cost of “a good ser­vice­able stand in char­ac­ter with the gar­dens could be erected for about £40 or £50”. The first fundrais­ing event was a civic ball at­tended by the great and the good. Other events fol­lowed, in­clud­ing a Prom­e­nade Con­cert on The Bell Ho­tel bowl­ing green, Chace­ley Gar­den Fete, the Work­ing Men’s Club’s 14th An­nual Regatta and Sports and the Twyn­ing and Dis­trict Fruit and Flower Show in Twyn­ing Park. Sun­day af­ter­noon con­certs from the band­stand in Vic­to­ria Gar­dens were a reg­u­lar fea­ture of Tewkes­bury’s sum­mer­time cal­en­dar and from 1922 to 1934 the town band gave 55 pub­lic ap­pear­ances.

Per­haps the grand­est oc­ca­sion was the pa­rade to cel­e­brate the coronation of King George VI and Queen El­iz­a­beth in 1937.

When the Sec­ond World War broke out the band dis­banded.

Apart from a brief re­union shortly af­ter hos­til­i­ties ceased, Tewkes­bury was with­out a band.

That was the sit­u­a­tion un­til 1974 when the town band was re­formed by pop­u­lar re­quest – and with a prom­ise of £2,500 from the bor­ough coun­cil to buy in­stru­ments - at a meet­ing in the Wat­son Hall.

But by then the band­stand had dis­ap­peared from Vic­to­ria Gar­dens.

At least 10 band­stands have ap­peared in Chel­tenham over the years.

Some were erected and de­mol­ished, while the one you see pictured on the sea front at Bog­nor orig­i­nally stood in Im­pe­rial Gar­dens, near the Town Hall.

The pagoda-shaped struc­ture was made at Wal­ter Mac­far­lane and Co’s Sara­cen Foundry in Glas­gow and in­stalled in the Chel­tenham plea­sure gar­dens at a cost to the bor­ough coun­cil of £1,850 in 1920.

Be­tween the two world wars reg­u­lar con­certs were staged on its el­e­gant plat­form.

Believ­ing the fashion for band­stands had passed the coun­cil sold it to Bog­nor in 1948 for just £175.

To­day Chel­tenham has two band­stands.

The ex­am­ple in Pittville Park was built by Collins and God­frey, build­ing con­trac­tors of Tewkes­bury, and erected in 1900.

It was first sited di­rectly in front of the Pump Room, in­ter­rupt­ing the view of Chel­tenham’s most im­por­tant Re­gency build­ing.

The fol­low­ing year the band­stand

was re­lo­cated to its present po­si­tion. It’s un­usual in a num­ber of ways. Firstly, it’s wood, whereas most Vic­to­rian band­stands are cast iron.

And it’s not big enough to be a proper band­stand, in fact there’s barely room to swing a eu­pho­nium, which is why to this day two-tier per­for­mances are given when bands play from the venue with a few of the mu­si­cians up on the band­stand and the ma­jor­ity sprin­kled below like ic­ing sugar round an or­nate cake.

Chel­tenham’s other band­stand can be seen in Mont­pel­lier Park.

It was built in 1864 and is the old­est still in use in Bri­tain.

The dec­o­ra­tive cast iron pan­els were made by the Coal­brook­dale Com­pany of Iron­bridge and the eight col­umns that sup­port the roof by John Ac­ton Butts’ King­sholm Iron Foundry of Sweet­briar Street, Glouces­ter.

Dur­ing the Ed­war­dian era the town’s archery club stored its para­pher­na­lia in Mont­pel­lier’s band­stand in the base­ment beneath the stage.

Dur­ing the Sec­ond World War the same space was used to house the winch for a bar­rage bal­loon.

Hav­ing been al­lowed to fall into dis­re­pair, the Mont­pel­lier band­stand was given a thor­ough makeover in 1994 and since then has con­tin­ued to look re­splen­dent and do the job for which it was in­tended.

Other band­stands in the county can be seen at Newent, Stroud’s Strat­ford Park and Cirences­ter’s Abbey Grounds.

Pittville Pump Room with the band­stand to the left with, in­set, the for­mer Im­pe­rial Gar­dens band­stand in Bog­nor Regis. Left, Tewkes­bury’s band­stand

Glouces­ter Park’s sec­ond band­stand and, in­set above, the present and orig­i­nal ver­sion

Chel­tenham Win­ter Gar­dens, top, Mont­pel­lier Gar­dens and, top right,the band­stand in Strat­ford Park in 1990

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.