There has been a Brass Band in Richmond upon Thames for most of the last century. We are bringing this fantastic tradition back to the community. Scroll down to see a summary timeline of the band’s history. For a more detailed account visit the rest of our history pages.

30 years seems like too long for a break, so get ready to welcome back the Richmond Brass Band.

Band forms as ‘West London Band’

September 25, 1937

The earliest records show the band using the catchall title of ‘West London Band’. Conducted by A. Ashcroft, the band placed 5th at the Crystal Palace Contest in the ‘Junior Shield – B’ section. The piece was ‘Ballads of the Twentieth Century’ by Haydn Wood.

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August 19, 1939

Leading up to the war years the band played many contests under A. Ashcroft with varying success. Contests include: London & Home Counties BBA Spring Contest Hanwell Contest Romford Contest Uxbridge Contest Walthamstow Contest And winning the Uxbridge March Contest in July 1938. E. Huckridge took the baton in 1939 before the band loaned its instruments to the Home Guard during WWII.

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Post-war band reforms as Borough of Barnes Band

September 14, 1946

E. Huckridge still in the middle but the band has a new moniker: Borough of Barnes. The band plays at a number of contests and progresses up the ranks to what is now known as Championship section, receiving placed results at several including: Bletchley Brass Band Contest Hayes Contest Hammersmith Contest

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Highs and Lows

August 23, 1952

Winners of the Romford contest (Open section), the band stayed at the top of their game with E. Huckridge throughout the early-mid 1950’s. The band appears to have stopped contesting when Huckridge departed in 1955 and had a membership flux, pushing them back down in the league tables.

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April 2, 1960

Now in the fourth section, the Barnes Band is led by Emlyn Lewis. This period sees the band win a crucial partnership with local brewery, Watney Brewery and the famous ‘Red Barrel’. The band start to rehearse on the brewery premises in Mortlake (current Stag Brewery location).

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The Watney Years

April 6, 1963

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Winning the London & Southern Counties fourth section contest with John Carr’s ‘Four Little Maids’, this signals the rise of the band, now under the baton Albert Meek. Meek, from the Royal Scots Guards and a prominent figure in local brass education, cultivated a youth ensemble as well as a ‘main’ band which was known as Watney Silver. During this period the band rose back the Championship section, produced 2 records and even experimented with alternate configurations (bringing in french horns and a string bass!)

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Returning to their roots

September 30, 1973

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The Brewery was sold and sponsorship cam to an end, thought the name Watney appears to have stuck somewhat with references to the band as ‘Richmond (Watney)’ persisting for some time. Albert Meek steps down and the band’s solo cornet (a London-based professional trumpet player), Gwynne Price steps in. Leading the band to victory in London & Southern Counties Autumn Contest in Folkestone with ‘Essay’ by Edward Gregson. Price continued with the band with mixed success (receiving fifth place in Reading with the same piece later that year) until 1974 / 75.

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Richmond Band

April 29, 1979

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The band resurfaces on the contesting stage in 1979, now as Richmond Band. From this time until it’s dissolution in 1983 the band seems to have been very active though received mixed contest results at lower grades. Now lead by famous London Symphony Orchestra trumpeter and Guildhall professor, Malcolm Smith, the band rehearsed in Teddington on Sundays and still had a youth ensemble associated with it.

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