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Object in Focus: No. 30 Ashington Colliery Band

Ashington Colliery Band

Woodhorn Museum

Objects related to Ashington Colliery Band ASHMM 2018.3.1-19

Brass bands are synonymous with collieries and coal mining across the country. In the 20th century nearly every colliery had a brass band and it remains an important tradition in the North East.

Bands fostered civic pride in their local communities and are seen as important expressions of working class culture. Brass Band competitions were held throughout the year at local, regional and national levels. They were always highly contested and competitive.

Bands were formed as a leisure activity for colliery workers and their families. They were, and remain, an important part of the Miner’s Picnic day. Historically the brass band marched with their colliery banner in the Picnic parade along Bedlington high street to the picnic ground in Attlee Park.

These photographs, dating from the 1970s, show part of the parade at the Bedlington Miner’s Picnic and a young band player, Lynn Winter Robson.

Young player, Lynn Winter Robson; posing in uniform with his instrument before the parade.

Young player, Lynn Winter Robson; posing in uniform with his tenor horn before the parade.

A brass band performs in the Picnic band contest along Bedlington High Street.

A brass band performs in close formation.

A brass band performs in close formation.

A brass band performs outside J M Wemyss Wholesale Store.

Two young band players in uniforms on Bedlington High Street.

Two young band players in uniforms on Bedlington High Street.

Dignitaries marching in the Picnic parade outside of Walter Wilson’s shop.

Dignitaries marching in the Picnic parade outside of Walter Wilson’s shop.

Unknown colliery banner marched in Picnic Parade along Bedlington high street.

Unknown colliery banner marched in Picnic Parade along Bedlington high street.

According to the donor of these items, there are two bands that feature in these photos; Isabella Pit and Ashington Colliery band.

One of the most recgonisable Northumberland bands is the Ashington Colliery Band. First formed in 1883 they were known as the Ashington Duke Band after the one of the pit shafts. They became so successful a second ‘silver’ band was formed known as the Ashington Colliery Model band. Players in the Ashington Colliery band started as young as 8. They gained widespread fame after their performance was used on the original ‘Boy on the Bike’ Hovis advert in 1973 and managed to record a single with MAM records in 1978.

Ashington Colliery band 7” vinyl record dating from 1978, produced by MAM records limited.

There are two tracks on the record: the A side is a recording of ‘Ragsy’ and the B side is recording of ‘Brown Bread ‘based on Dvoraks ‘Symphony From The New World’ and arranged by composer CY Payne.

MAM Records was a British Record label founded by Tom Jones and his business partner Gordon Mills launched in 1970 by the management company Management Agency & Music Ltd.

The items featured in this blog post were donated by a member of the public accession number ASHMM 2018.3.1-19.

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