On Saturday 16th July 1881, the three local lodges of the Ancient Order of Druids in Nuneaton celebrated their centenary with a fete and gala in a field lent by John Sands. The weather was favourable for the procession round the principle streets before the fete was opened accompanied by the Atherstone, Nuneaton, and Stockingford brass bands.
This is the first newspaper report of a brass band in Stockingford, and the following year it was reported as the Stockingford Universe Brass Band.
Prolific in the 1880s
In the 1880s, the band played for a number of children’s annual treats and other events, where each school would be led by a different band. It usually started with a procession round the local area to a field, where the children would enjoy sports, games, and tea. On some occasions there would be a sacred concert or dancing till dusk for the adults. Mr Newdigate would often open Abbey Park for a public picnic at which the band provided the musical entertainment. For Queen Victoria’s Silver Jubilee on Monday 21st June 1887 in Atherstone, the band and Atherstone Britannia Brass Band joined together to lead a procession from the Market Place round Atherstone, and returning to the Market Place, after which the Atherstone band played outside Mr Megginson’s, and Stockingford opposite The Angel.
In 1893 the band appears to have changed its name to Stockingford Wedleyan Brass Band, and in July of that year started giving concerts on Nuneaton Recreation ground, conducted by Mr J. Hickey.
By 1901, the band was being conducted by Mr C. Moreton. Stockingford’s planned festivities for the coronation of King Edward VII went ahead on Friday 20th June 1902, although the coronation was postponed due to the king’s illness. The band led the children’s procession round the village, with halts to sing the National Anthem, and also played in the evening after tea. For the actual celebrations in Stockingford on Friday 8th August, the band assembled at the school at 12:30 and led a procession of 1,000 children round the village to Church Farm Field for sports and games.
The band appears to have changed its name again in 1910, when we see that the Stockingford Excelsior Brass Band played for dancing in the evening at a sports carnival on the Newdegate Arms Ground on Easter Monday 28th March, in aid of funds for the Nuneaton Rugby and Association Football Clubs, and Nuneaton Harriers Club.
Peace celebrations and beyond
For the Peace Celebrations [after World War One] held throughout the country on Monday 21st July 1919, the band headed a procession of 1,500 children at Stockingford, marching to the Common, and back to St Paul’s Church and the Council Schools for tea.
1923 was the last year for which there was continuous reporting on the band… we… [then] have a gap of nearly 40 years before a Stockingford band is reported again, and I do not know if it is the same band or something totally different.
Stockingford and Wilnecote bands accompanied the Bedworth St John Ambulance Brigade Cadets parade on Sunday 12th June 1960 from the Arden Ballroom car park to All Saints Church and back after the service. This was the final newspaper report of a brass(?) band in Stockingford.
This is an extract from Brass Bands of Warwickshire. The book covers the history of over 130 brass bands that exist, or have existed, in modern Warwickshire. The book costs £10.00 Order by post from Mr. K.G. Owen, 167 Kinross Road, Leamington Spa. CV32 7ET firstname.lastname@example.org