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Herbert Sutcliffe

In 1952, Mr. Herbert Sutcliffe, who was at the time the conductor of Barrow Shipyard Band, was appointed Musical Director. Herbert started his working life as a coal miner and played cornet for several bands in east and south Lancashire but made his name with Irwell Springs band. He was noticed by the famous conductor and trainer William Halliwell who took him as principal cornet player on national tours and summer seasons. It was in this way that Herbert escaped from what would almost certainly otherwise have been a whole working life as a collier. He moved from Lancashire to be principal cornet for Workington Town but when their conductor was indisposed Herbert took the band to a contest and his days as a player were finished.
He moved to Barrow as conductor of the Shipyard Band where he stayed until his retirement when he moved to Inside but continued to conduct Flookburgh. Halliwell conducted winning bands at Belle Vue,
Manchester, seventeen times between 1910 and 1936.
From the time that Mr. Sutcliffe came to Flookburgh Band in 1952 there was a different attitude. Here was a man who commanded respect even though he was a quiet, mild-mannered gentleman with obviously very little formal musical education but a real feeling for music. He was always addressed as “Mr. Sutcliffe” and didn’t mix socially with the band. This probably sounds as though he was unfriendly or unsociable which he certainly was not. The band under his direction went from strength to strength at a time when there were very few good players and many who, to put it kindly, were mediocre. For fifteen years or so from the mid 1950s the band won many contests in the fourth section and were seldom out of the prizes He took the band to the national finals in London on two occasions, the first being in 1960, the second in 1973.
Promotion to the third section followed but with little success during the late 1970s so the band was again relegated to the fourth section. A celebration concert with Flookburgh and
Vickers band was held in the Cumbria Grand Hotel to mark his 80th birthday. Mr. Sutcliffe, who died in 1983 or 84, was with the band for over thirty years and is very affectionately remembered by all who knew him. In 1985 the band donated the Herbert Sutcliffe Memorial Trophy to Cumbria Brass Band Association.

Herbert Sutcliffe

Musical Director – December 1974

1960s

On the first trip to the National Finals in London, on the 15th of October 1960, only bandsmen were allowed to go and an application was made for 30 tickets for the fourth section contest and 30 for the Albert Hall concert. This number would include a few non-playing committee members. Each member was given an allowance of 5/- for meals in London. The fee for the coach on that occasion was £137-5-6.

Competitors Millom Music Festival 1961

Millom music Festival 1963

Back Row W.Paisley, S.Bland, anon, W.Bland
Next to back  W. Dikinson (partly hidden), J.K.Manning, J.Dickinson,
Second row ?, Blair, J. Butler, F. Williams, anon, J. Wilson
Front row R. Nickson, R. Bland, W. Nickson Jnr, J. Bland

In May 1963 the band played for Mr. Hugh Cavendish’s twenty-first birthday which was a three day event, each day being for a different class of guests. Food and wine, provided by a firm of caterers from Manchester, was magnificent and unlimited. These, both lunches and teas, were laid out formally in a large marquee with the band playing several sessions each day.

hugh Cavendish

Flookburgh Siver Band – Holker Hall – Saturday 25th May 1963


At Mr. Hugh Cavendish's 21st Birthday Celebration (3 Days)

On June 3rd 1967 the band played at a Conservatives Garden Fete at Graythwaite Hall which was attended by Margaret Thatcher who came round and spoke quite casually to members of the band. She was then either Parliamentary Private Secretary to Ted Heath or Education Secretary in his government. The occupant of Graythwaite Hall was Mr. Alfred Hall-Davies, who was then the M.P. for Morecambe and Lonsdale.

Throughout the 1960s the regular fee for almost every event was £15 and remained so until 1971 when it was raised to £18.

Annual dinners for the band were commenced in about 1967, the first one being at the Crown Hotel Grange, then at least two at the Commodore Hotel and in 1973 at the Netherwood. These continued for several years and were a great success and very popular. They gradually faded away and were replaced by discos.

In January 1968, thirty stacking chairs were bought at a cost of £61-10-0 which was from the proceeds of the 1967 Christmas Caroling. These
are still in use after 28 years, and are very practical, but the seats, being bare plywood, are cold in winter. There has now been a proposition that new, more comfortable ones be purchased.

In the early days, brass bands were in what was generally known as high pitch but were subsequently changed to concert pitch so that they could play with other instruments such as organs and orchestral instruments. Flookburgh Band changed to concert in 1970. At first all the existing instruments were sent away to be altered and of course when new ones were acquired they were in low pitch.

This is a programme of music played at Kirkby Stephen when the band went there for the opening of their new bandroom on the 30th of October 1965.

The concert, with vocal solos, was in the school.
March: Steadfast and True.
Overture: Carnival
Cornet duet: Sandy and Jock - Sydney Bland and Jack Manning
Entr ‘acte: Spring
Euphonium Solo: The Cavalier. Bill Dickinson.
Selection: The Desert Song
Selection: The Pirates of Penzance
Trombone Solo: The Acrobat Michael Garnett
Pot-Pourri: Musical Fragments
Selection: South Pacific.

History from 1970 until present day Click Here - Early History Click Here