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About Betteshanger Welfare Brass Band
Based in the South East of England near the coastal towns of Dover, Folkestone and the historic city of Canterbury.
Deal based Betteshanger Colliery Welfare Band formed in 1932 by miner George Gibb and his colleagues as a tool for relaxation after their days toil underground. The Band can now be found at the 'Betteshanger Social Welfare Sports Club' situated at the Welfare Sports Ground, Cavell Square, Mill Hill, Deal, Kent.
Betteshanger Band started in the 1930’s to give miners something to do when they were not working in the colliery. A poster was put up at the colliery asking for players so that they could start a brass band in this area. In these early days the conductor of the band was an ex marine called Bill Barnacle. The band had no rehearsal room so they practised in a tin hut until the local miner’s welfare club was built in 1939. There were three colliery bands in the Kent area Betteshanger, Snowdon and Chislet. Every year these bands competed in the local Kent area brass band competition, Betteshanger won the competition in the first 3 years, 1933, 1934 and 1935. The cup is still in the hands of Betteshanger Brass Band.
When the war started the band just managed to keep going. In 1945 the band started to play concerts on a Sunday afternoon along the south coast. In the 50’s the band were lucky to get the services as conductor of WB Hargreaves. He conducted the band in 1958, when the band went to Czechoslovakia now known as the Czech Republic. The band were based in Prague and toured around the area playing concerts to different audiences. On one occasion the band were playing at a local colliery, the manager of the colliery had to ask the band if they could stop playing because the men refused to start work as they wanted listen to the concert.
The band have played on numerous occasions in France invited by the National Union of Mineworkers ( French). Under W B Hargreaves the band managed to gain first place in the area championship twice, and second place in the National Finals. The colliery went on strike in the 1960’s and the local press wanted to have a picture of the band. They asked if they could come on the following morning to take the bands photograph, just one problem, the band were leaving very early the next morning. It was decided that the newspaper would arrive at 5:30 am and the band would march up and down the street pretending to play, as you can imagine it looked a very funny sight. One of the bands rules said that no females could join the band. In the late 60’s one of the band members asked the committee if they would consider allowing a girl to join the band, the committee held a meeting to discuss the matter, one member of the committee voted against accepting females in the band, but everyone else voted to let females join the band. The band now has eight female playing members.
Betteshanger Colliery Welfare Band play a number of concerts throughout the year at both indoor and outdoor venues performing varied repertoire for just about any occasion.
If you are looking for a versatile high quality brass band for your function or event please get in touch.
The full band consists of approximately 26 members depending on the music and percussion required.
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