Saturday, 31 December 2016

Off with the Alexandra Brass Band at the Coronation Festivities in 1911

“The great glory of the Coronation festivities of 1911 was the procession.  

Everybody in Didsbury was expected to take some part in it, either in work or money or both and both were freely given.

There were nearly a score of emblematic cars, that is wagons laden with villagers dressed in fancy costumes...”*

The coronation of King George V in 1911 was one of those opportunities when across the country there were festivals, processions, and all manner of activities to both celebrate the event and show off local patriotism.

Didsbury set to work with a Festivities Committee and the local historian Fletcher Moss recorded the day.

A few copies of his book with the accompanying photographs have survived and seem to have been plundered by almost all the historians of the township since it was published in 1911.

And not to be out done I shall do so too, starting with this one, showing the Alexandra Brass Band of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company passing behind the Didsbury Amateur Gardening Society.

Now I have yet to identify the exact spot but that will come in time, and later I rather think I shall also tell the story of the Didsbury Amateur Gardening Society, but in the mean time I want to resurrect my fascination for the brass band.

Contrary to popular belief they were not just a northern thing but could be found all over the country.


Some were works based others arose from a local chapel or church and others still had either a military connection or were entirely independent financing themselves through subscriptions and hence being called subscription bands.

The Alexandra Brass Band of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company was based at the Carriage Works on Newton Heath and I think they are ripe for a story.

But at this stage there is little to go on.

They are listed as defunct by the IBEW, played at the Didsbury festivities and in St Anne’s to celebrate the end of the Great War and there are two other references to them playing at Glossop in 1891 and Winsford in 1902.

There will also be references to them in the local papers of the period and perhaps even in the records of the railway company, all of which I will hunt down.

So in the meantime I shall leave you with them playing their hearts out in the June of 1911.

And with the promise of more pictures from that day along with a few of the words of Mr Fletcher Moss.

Picture; from the Souvenir of the Coronation Festivities Held at Didsbury, June 22nd 1911, Fletcher Moss

*Fletcher Moss, Souvenir of the Coronation Festivities Held at Didsbury, June 22nd 1911


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