RETRO: Top brass are in charge

Rockingham Colliery Brass Band - 9th November 1982
Rockingham Colliery Brass Band - 9th November 1982
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ARCTIC Monkeys? Def Leppard? Pulp? These may be the South Yorkshire musicians who get the headlines but, in this region, when it comes to bands it seems you just can’t beat a bit of brass.

Ensembles have been playing and entertaining us since the 19th century.

The Jordaniares marching band performing on the Moor, Sheffield'15th October 1983

The Jordaniares marching band performing on the Moor, Sheffield'15th October 1983

And today Tuesday Retro has pulled these pictures from The Star archive to continue our weekly A-Z series of hobbies: B is for bands.

“It’s a part of the fabric of the area,” says David Barraclough, who played with Grimethorpe Colliery Band for 33 years before retiring in 2012. “Playing with a band is just a great thing to be part of.

“There’s comradeship, a sense of community, the feeling of being part of a team and, of course, the enjoyment of playing music.”

Such groups became intimately linked with the area through mining. Pit workers formed bands from the late 19th century to give themselves something affordable and creative to do out of work.

Stannington Brass Band  - 8th May 1981

Stannington Brass Band - 8th May 1981

Among the most well known in the area were - and are - Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Band, Dinnington Colliery Band, Maltby Miners Welfare Band and Rockingham Band.

Arguably the most famous of the lot was Grimethorpe Colliery Band which was made famous when it became the inspiration for the hit film Brassed Off.

“There are three bands in the UK which are guaranteed to put bums on seats around the world,” says 53-year-old David of Hemsworth. “Brighouse, Black Dyke and us.

“That means you feel a lot of pressure every time you play but you also feel a tremendous amount of pride. When you’re playing somewhere like Australia to a packed venue, it’s special.”