A History of Honley Band (2010) by Honley Civic Society

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HONLEY GIMIG hiistery Croup


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A History of Honley Band

All Rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior permission in writing of Honley Civic Society, or as expressly permitted by law.

Published in England by Honley Civic Society. Printed by Enterprise Print, Honley. © Honley Civic Society Text and design PFM First published 2010


Some images in this volume have been digitally altered to remove blemishes and correct colour balance.

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A History of

Honley Band

Contents Introduction page 5 Marching without boots 7 Bandsmen through the years 17 Playing, then and now 21 Swiss Confection 27 Playing into the future 33 Honley Band - A Poem 37 Other Village Bands 39

Acknowledgements 40

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4 A History of Honley Band


above, this poor quality, undated photograph seems to be Honley Brass Band. Several of the bandsmen are not in uniform but sporting bowler hats and other headgear. Sadly the location is not known. From a photograph in the present day band room.

below, the 1904-05 Honley Brass Band. Both pictures appear to show the same uniform.

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A History of Honley Band 5


roots can be found as far back as the 1300s. Since medieval times, brass instruments have been used in local ensembles as well as in the church and military. The sound of trumpets was associated with royalty and trumpet bands flourished within the landed gentry. Wandering minstrels played an important part in the development of music. They were the first musicians to provide music for the masses, playing in public houses and market squares. Such was the rise of minstrels that in England in 1350, a trumpeters’ guild was created after players felt that their profession was being undermined by amateurs. These guilds provided a pool of musicians who obtained a formal qualification after four years training in their chosen instrument. Membership was strictly controlled, each apprentice agreeing to “reserve his art for emperors, kings, princes, counts and sovereigns, as well as for all distinguished military officials”.

B= bands may be thought to be a 19" or 20" century concept, but their

Brass instruments certainly served as a method of communication. There were official musicians in some English towns who were called the Waits, equivalent toa town band. The Waits dated back to the early medieval era when they accompanied the town watch. Their duties varied, but included playing their instruments through the town at night, waking the townsfolk on dark winter mornings by playing under their windows, welcoming royal visitors by playing at the town gates and leading processions on civic occasions. Waits would play simple instruments like horns, sackbuts or trumpets.

As a result of the Municipal Corporations Act of 1835, Waits were abolished, though their name lingered on as Christmas Waits, which could be any group of singers or musicians who formed a band in order to sing and play carols for money around their town or village at night over the Christmas period.

It is in these ensembles that we find the origins of the brass band. Although Waits were not present in this part of Yorkshire, the development of brass bands would have been little different in the Holme Valley.

Band music in Honley probably grew in the middle of the 19th century in parallel with handbell ringing as a way of providing for the players and villagers. Brass Band, Prize Band, Silver Band - the Honley musicians have been known by all these names - was originally an ad hoc group which came together to make music in the township and its vicinity. The current name - Honley Silver Band - was adopted in December 1948.

With the generous help of bandsmen past and present, I hope that we have been able to convey some of the passion and musicality which the Band has shown over the past almost 150 years.

Peter Marshall

Honley November 2010

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A History of Honley Band


Above, on 10" February, 1906, committee members and players gather at Magdale, in the garden of Stubbings, the home of the Band president, George William Oldham J.P..

below, the Band heads the 1906 Whit walk across Honley Bridge and up Eastgate into the centre of the village. Note that this was before the bridge was widened.

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A History of Honley Band 7


onley Band has been in existence continuously since 1865. There had a village band in existence previously and perhaps as early as 1800, any of its members being performers at choral and other concerts. The members of the 1865 Band were chiefly young men connected with St Mary’s church, Methodist and other village chapels and various Sunday schools in the village, with some others being members of old musical families in Honley. The joming fee was £1 to enter as a Band member.

The first new instruments were supplied by well-known musical instrument makers Messrs. Higham of Manchester. The trustees for the finances of the Band were all local businessmen, William Brooke, George William Farrar and William Henry Walker. William Brooke gave out these first instruments to the members at the National School, where rehearsals took place.

Members from Meltham Mills Band came to Honley, some say after a dispute, others because the Band had stopped contesting. They played around the village with their new instruments to the great delight of the inhabitants and in the evening they dined together at the Commercial Inn next to St Mary’s church.

It may be interesting to note the names of first members of the Band. They were:- Joseph Swift, Wright Renshaw, John William Holroyd, Edwin Holroyd, Joseph Holroyd, George Brooke, John Garside, Henry Smith, Lawton Smith, George Taylor, Ben Brooke, Edwin Boothroyd, Henry Knutton, Richard Bingley, George Dyson, Benjamin Carter, Willie Wilson, John Pearson and Irvin Wood.

We know little of the Band’s early activities. However, it seems most likely that then, as now, members played at all manner of occasions. On the second Sunday in May 1868, in keeping with local tradition, Honley Brass Band paid their annual visit to Nan Hob Springs, near Magdale, known locally for its restorative waters. The Huddersfield Examiner of 16™ May, 1868 reported that about 500 people visited the spring that morning, the majority of whom took a hearty draught of pure water. For a couple of hours the Band performed a selection of music, while the visitors promenaded on the adjacent grounds. The music must have been good, for it was intended to invite a number of neighbouring bands the following year.

In January 1872, Alfred Beaumont, the proprietor of Joshua Beaumont & Company’s mill at Steps, and his wife Deborah attended the new year entertainment for the employees in a ‘neatly decorated’ room at the mill. Honley Brass Band played God Bless the Prince of Wales and other tunes of the day.

The Band had been fortunate in the early days in securing good conductors in Henry Smith, John Berry, of Meltham Mills, John Gladney, Wright Renshaw, Seth Coldwell and Fred Berry.

Probably the most noted of these was John Gladney (1839-1911). Based in Manchester, he came from a musical family being the son of the bandmaster of the 30th East Lancashire Regiment. He started playing the flute at the age of eight and the violin at nine. For some time he was clarinetist and conductor of Scarborough Spa Band. He had played this instrument in the Halle Orchestra in Manchester,

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8 A History of Honley Band


Above, the prize winning Honley Brass Band of 1884. The only player we can identify is William Henry Longden, the drummer at the far left. He was born in 1859 and so was 25 years old in this picture. He may also bein the lower photograph on page four. William Henry Longden lived in New Street as a child and became a worsted weaver. He married Sarah Jane (Schofield?) and had eight children before his death in 1906 at the age of 47.


below, a poor photograph of five members of an early Honley Brass Band - date unknown. One player is believed to be Burton Oldfield, cornet player, front right.

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A History of Honley Band 9

during which time he began to take an interest in brass bands. This brought many notable successes with Besses o’ th’ Barn and others. He later toured Canada and the United States with Black Dyke in 1906 and also was the arranger of many brass band selections.

During the time that Honley Band was under John Gladney’s baton, it took many prizes. On Monday 1* September, 1884, the Band gained probably its most notable victory - first prize at Belle Vue Brass Band contest in Manchester, home of the British Open Championship competition since 1853. The Band had not been without success previously, having won third prize in 1883 for its rendition of J W Tidswell’s arrangement of Mercadante’s Ile beating Besses 0’ th’ Barn into fifth place.

Against competition from 42 bands, the adjudicators, Charles Godfrey and Hamilton Clarke, both from London, and F Vetter from Manchester, voted Honley first ahead of such famous bands as Black Dyke and Linthwaite second and third. The Band played the test piece La Gazza Ladra by Rossini to become National Champions. Ironically, John Gladney also conducted Linthwaite. He had previously conducted Meltham Mills, four times winners of the contest and Linthwaite which had been first once before.

Legend has it that when the Band arrived back at Honley station at around 1.00am, they marched triumphantly down Station Road. As they reached opposite Northgate Mount, home of local benefactor William Brooke, they decided to take their boots off to keep the noise down. Once in their bare feet, they set off for the village centre playing Here Come the Conquering Heroes!

Considering the fact that an E flat bass would cost about £10 in those days, the prize money of £30 was considerable. As the contest was looked upon as one of great importance, there was much rejoicing in the village at the victory. During the same year, 1884, the Band won first prize at Lincoln, Chapeltown, Worsbrough Dale, Queensbury, Guiseley, Southport, Rotherham, Gainsborough and Thurlstone. It also gained second prize at Kettering and Batley. In the next three years, it failed to regain the premier position at the annual Belle Vue contest but continued to give a very creditable performance and was never placed lower than fifth.

In 1885, Honley fell to fifth place with Verdi's Nebuchadnezzar. A slight return to form came in 1886 with a fourth place, playing Donizetti’s La Favotita, a position repeated the following year with du Meyerbeer. In the period from 1884 to 1887, the total number of prizes won were 32 firsts, 13 seconds, seven thirds, six fourths, one fifth and one sixth prize.

Then came changes. John Gladney relinquished his position as conductor of the Band and members drifted one by one back to the more successful Meltham Mills Band. In due course, when that band went out of existence, as many as 13 members returned to Honley Band.

Honley Events and Celebrations

Even before its noted triumph, the Band was to the fore, when on Saturday 13™ October, 1883 Huddersfield saw one of the largest events of the time - the formal opening of Beaumont Park. A procession lead by Honley, Holme, Moldgreen,

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10 A History of Honley Band

THE BAND IN 1909 ...

above, leading Honley Co-operative Society’s Children’s Gala from Hope Bank back to the village centre along New Road Side on 27" July, 1909

ee AND IN 1915 below, in the grounds of George Oldham’s house at Stubbings, Magdale. This picture on the walls of the present band room has the inscription - Presented to the family of the late County Alderman George William Oldham J.P. by the committee and members of Honley Brass Band in commemoration of his 84" birthday April 30° 1914 and to commemorate 25 years of active service as president February 1915

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Linthwaite and Catholic Brass Bands set off from the Town Hall in Huddersfield to Beaumont Park and the opening by Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, youngest son of Queen Victoria, and Princess Helene, Duchess of Albany. The following year, the Band’s Belle Vue success was followed up at the end of September with an appearance at the opening of Greenhead Park in Huddersfield on land purchased from Sir John William Ramsden for £30,000.

The opening ceremony of Honley Conservative Club’s new premises in St Mary’s Square was a less grand affair but the Band was there, too. The ceremony took place on 30" January, 1885, performed by Sir Thomas Brooke of Northgate House. It was reported that there was a large and imposing procession of members and friends, lead by Honley Brass Band. A tea was given in the Independent Chapel Sunday School at Moorbottom.

During the 19" century, Honley Labour Club met in a room near Honley Bridge where the former council offices now stand. On 31* August, 1907, new club premises were opened at New Street in an old hand loom weavers house. Celebrations were always an important part in village life at this time and this day was no different. At 2.30pm, the procession left the tram terminus at Honley Bridge, headed by about 40 Clarion cyclists followed by Honley Brass Band and then 300 children wearing red rosettes and ribbons and the girls with red sashes over their white frocks.

A landau carrying Philip Snowden MP, chairman of the Independent Labour Party and his wife Ethel, Victor Grayson MP and Mrs France Littlewood lead the rest of the group composed of Socialist supporters from all over the Colne Valley. Proceedings were delayed a while as ‘Khyber Pass’, that narrow part of the route from Church Street leading to New Street, was blocked by the throng. This was to be the beginning of annual Socialist demonstrations in the village with Honley or sometimes Meltham Mills Brass Band providing the music both then and on the May Day march into Huddersfield.

The return of a local hero was celebrated on 28" May, 1904, when Lieutenant Clement Armitage made a delayed return from the South African War. He was the son of Charles Ingram Armitage JP, of High Royd and the village turned out in their hundreds to see the Honley Band lead an open landau carrying the Captain down Church Street to the family home at High Royd. He later became a general and was knighted in 1938.

On 7" July, 1909, Honley Cricket club held a joint carnival with the Band to raise funds. In one of the poorest years for gate receipts, the club needed to increase its income. Held on the cricket field at Far End the event was attended by William Brooke, the club president, who had presented the ground to the cricket club.

The greatest royal highlight for the Band took place in the early years of the twentieth century. It was a unique event, celebrated by the whole village of Honley, when a new King and Queen visited. King George V and Queen Mary visited several places in West Yorkshire just a year after their coronation at Westmmster Abbey on 22™ June, 1911. On 11" July, 1912, the royal party visited Huddersfield. They began their day at Halifax and after a busy schedule including Greenhead Park, Lindley and Marsden, late in the afternoon, they arrived at Northgate Mount, Honley, the home of William Brooke. Although running half an hour late when

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12 A History of Honley Band


above, the Honley Band at Northgate Mount, the home of William Brooke, when they played for the visiting King and Queen below, the royal party leave Northgate Mount to the sound of Honley Brass Band. The King can be seen through the rear window, with the Queen alongside.

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A History of Honley Band 3

they reached Honley, the King and Queen were greeted by large numbers of local folk, who had gathered at Reins to welcome them.

Among those enjoying the view from specially constructed stands were children, dressed in their Sunday best, from Honley and Brockholes schools and 70 residents of Deanhouse workhouse. The Yorkshire Dragoons lined the entrance gates, where an arch of roses had been erected. Honley Urban District Council watched from another stand erected thanks to the vice chairman, George T Oldham.

After the royal couple had been introduced to two of the oldest weavers in the district, they had tea with Mr and Mrs Brooke. Having played in the grounds throughout the visit, Honley Brass Band went on to play the national anthem on the departure of the King and Queen to Wentworth Woodhouse (Lord Fitzwilliam’s estate). Recalling the day, Albert Boothroyd, who was Band secretary at the time, told the Huddersfield Weekly Examiner in 1957, “I don’t think the King and Queen even noticed that we were there, though”.

By then seventy-two years old and living at 24 Thirstin Road, Albert Boothroyd told the newspaper that he had joined Honley Band at the turn of the century and played with them for 20 years, until domestic reasons forced his resignation. He was Band secretary for 14 or 15 of those years.

One booking for the Band took place in less happy times. In 1926, so the story goes, Honley Band was asked to play in Brockholes. However, this was no ordinary occasion but rather to lead the employees out of Rock Mill to join the General Strike at the beginning of May that year. It is believed that this action angered local mill owners and industrialists to such an extent that the Band found far fewer opportunities to play for some time afterwards.

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14 A History of Honley Band

POL Ai een ne ar Ue)


above, On 12% May, 1913 Honley Brass Band played at the traditional Whitsun Sing round the village, as they did so many times.

below, Whit Monday was 20" May in 1929 and Honley Brass Band played to large crowds of villagers and visitors.

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A History of Honley Band 15


above, the band lined up with its conductor, Swain Tyas. Amongst the players known to be in the photograph are Herbert Broadbent, Bert

Quinn, Joe Broadbent, Charley Brierley, Shaw Illingworth and Jack Micklethwaite. Do you know any others?


below, the Band's set of new basses in 1936 were purchased from Boosey and Hawkes. “Imperial” was second only to “Sovereign” in the range of instruments. The Band only stopped playing them in recent years.


PRIZE BA cost of over 200

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16 A History of Honley Band


above, one of Honley’s best known bandsmen.

right, a letter from Joe Broadbent to the local newspaper on Shaw Iingworth’s death, pointing out his 57 years service from 1896 to 1953.


YA Oh — 1982

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A History of Honley Band 17


playing or characterful incidents. Amongst the most notable was Shaw Illingworth who joined Honley Brass Band in 1896. He lived in Exchange in the centre of Honley. In a fitting tribute, Joe Broadbent, wrote the letter opposite to the Huddersfield Daily Examiner in 1953.

Shaw Illingworth was a canny Yorkshireman with a typically dry wit. As solo baritone he had an important position in the Band, one he held in conjunction with being secretary. He was an excellent musician and played at one time with Brighouse and Rastrick.

D::: its existence, the Band has had many personalities, noted for superb

Shaw took a young Jim Taylor under his wing, as he did with other potential bandsmen, and gave much good advice including “slacken your valves” after every concert to prevent them sticking. Jim went on to play second baritone to Shaw and when Aner Beardsell asked Shaw if the young man was good enough to play euphonium, Shaw’s comment was a simple “lad’ll be reight”! Shaw Illingworth died after taking ill at the Black Bull in Berry Brow, where he had gone to pick up music that the Band had forgotten to collect.

Albert Boothroyd who lived in Thirstin Road, Honley, was secretary of the Band and was followed in turn by Jack Micklethwaite. Jack was not planning on even becoming a player, but the Band was short of a drummer on Whit Monday Walk and he stepped into the breach. He soon found himself elected secretary, a post which he held for 20 years.

When the Band bought new green uniforms, they found that Denby Band had a very similar outfit - only the collar was different. Jack Micklethwaite was waiting for the Band to form up at Uppermill, when he spied the green uniform out of the window. As he joined the bandsmen and struck up, he found himself playing with Denby. This was not appreciated by that Band’s drummer and the first few bars were accompanied by flying drumsticks as the Denby drummer tried to assert his rightful place!

Amongst the notable band masters of the period were one-time professional, Tom Eastwood of Marsden, Swain Tyas, who played trumpet, and Fred Chantry of Holme Silver Band. Herbert Broadbent, who went on the become the landlord of the Elephant and Castle in Leeds Road was also conductor for a while.

Albert Boothroyd played under Fenton Renshaw, who himself used to be a player in Honley Band, along with his brother Wright Renshaw. He could also remember Fred Berry playing with Honley. Fred started his playing career with the Band and was also conductor for some time after Fenton Renshaw died.

Fred Berry had been a well known euphonium player, played with the Besses o’ th’ Barn Band and twice toured the world with them. He later was credited with guiding the Brighouse and Rastrick Band into the top flight of bands in the

Other well-known musicians who have played with Honley are John Arthur Wood, also a euphonium player, and Arthur Lockwood, who became principal trumpet

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right, was Band conductor in 1974, below, made this recording of Rose of Tralee in 1944, when he was just ten years old.

left, Ben was a coal merchant for the Co-op and lived in Almondbury. Ralph was given a Benefit Concert on 31“ August, 1947 below, the Band committee were so sorry to lose Ben that the secretary Herbert V Dightam wrote to him to reconsider his departure.


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A History of Honley Band 19

with both the Halle and the Bournemouth Municipal Orchestra and who went on to play with the B.B.C. Northern Orchestra in Manchester.

Another player noted in different field was local mill owner, France Littlewood. He was a keen musician and played the trombone and other instruments in Honley Brass Band as well as enjoying the less classical art of handbell rmging as a member of the Woodroyd ringers.

When Brian Haigh worked at a garage in New Road Side, he would run all the way home to Smithy Bridge for his lunch each day and then fill the rest of his lunchtime practising before running back to his work. Practice paid off as Brian went on to be a member of the Brighouse and Rastrick Band.

Amongst the more recent members are David Toothill, who played tenor horn. David was a dedicated bandsman who wouldn’t let a small thing like his wedding day get in the way of playing with Honley Band.

As his bride’s family were butchers, a bank holiday was the ideal time for the couple’s wedding. But bank holidays are busy times for bands. Plans were made for David and Susan to marry on Whit Monday morning, with a hasty ham lunch at the in- laws then it was off to Berry Brow Sunday School Feast with his best man and two groomsmen, all of whom were players. After a full afternoon of marching and playing hymns round the village, the foursome then went on to play at Armitage Bridge cricket ground in the evening. History does not record how the remainder of the day went!

Amongst the Honley Band players who were tutored by Joe Broadbent were Brian Haigh, Alan Wood and several others. Alan Wood joined the Band in 1943, when he


right, A new trophy was presented in March 1990 to the Holme Valley Brass Band Contest in memory of a long-serving member of Honley Silver Band, Arnold Booth. He had been with the Band for about 40 years.

The trophy, for the best euphonium player in section B was presented to the Holmfirth band committee by Arnold’s widow, Mrs Beatrice Booth. It was presented to the contest President Jack Hardy.

The first winner of the trophy was Andrew Toothill who plays with Honley Band.

Arnold began his playing days with Honley when he was aged about eight. He began as a trombone player before moving to second euphonium, second baritone and the solo euphonium.

Honley was the only band for Arnold Booth and even during his service in the Royal Air Force he only appeared with a band when required.

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20 A History of Honley Band

was just nine years old. The next year, following the devastating Holmfirth flood, a fundraising concert was held in the Palladium cinema in Honley. Whitfield’s of Ramsden Street, Huddersfield rigged up a single microphone across the stage and amongst the recordings made was one of Alan playing Hose of Tralee.

JAMES TAYLOR left, Jim was taught by Shaw Illingworth and began playing the flugelhorn. He went on to play second baritone to Shaw and then euphonium. He has encouraged many young players and still teaches to the present day.


below, a pair of double Bs and a pair of E flat basses played by (from!tor) , Terence Stacey, Alan Wood (in army uniform), Frank Bradley and Norman Hallas. Frank was Shaw Illingworth’s son- in-law.

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A History of Honley Band 71


artime saw a change in the fortunes of Honley Brass Band. With several members away serving their country, the numbers playing were reduced. So, too, were the opportunities to play with contests fewer than before.

The end of hostilities brought about a renewed interest in music in Honley for a number of reasons. Returning servicemen and women were greeted in 1945 by the New Street Welcome Home committee. This group hired the band room on alternate Thursdays at a charge of three shillings per night and fuel for heating from October of that year. They were also requested to keep the room clean and replace any breakages of crockery which they used.

The post-war years brought some difficulties surrounding two key positions, those of secretary and bandmaster.

After many years service, W Hartley resigned as secretary in 1945 due to his moving away from the district — a double blow as he was also a bass player. His replacement as secretary was to be Edgar B Green, who lived in West Avenue, Honley. However, Mr Green was unable to take up his appointment due to illness and Herbert Dightam agreed to be acting secretary from 21“ January, 1946.

Around the same time, Fred Chantry was appointed as bandmaster on 5" March, 1945, with one month’s notice on either side, replacing Herbert Broadbent. However, things soon seemed to go awry. He was written to in October regarding his absence from Wednesday evening classes.

By April 1946, the position of solo cornet player and bandmaster was offered to R Lockwood of Fartown. Perhaps due to his continued absence, Fred Chantry was simply written to once more to inform him of the situation. Mr Lockwood was given a trial period but this proved to be unsuccessful and the hunt resumed for bandmaster.

Joe Broadbent took over as bandmaster for an initial month’s trial, which was to the committee’s satisfaction. He went on to serve for three years until an unexpected resignation was offered in February 1949. Despite attempts by the committee to resolve the position, his departure was set for 12° March. The committee asked him to reconsider once more, but he went on to take up the baton with Holme Band. The committee reluctantly had to set about the search for the Band’s fifth bandmaster in as many years.

An advertisement was placed in the Holmfirth Express and the Huddersfield Examiner and a sub committee was set up to interview candidates. Arthur Crossland of Denby Dale was engaged from 1* May, 1949 at a salary of £10 per year plus 1s 6d. for his bus fare to each rehearsal. Joe Broadbent was asked to return his uniform to be altered for the new bandmaster by James Beever and Company of Brook Street Huddersfield. This they were unable to do and quoted £21 2s. 1d. or £22 6s 8d. for a new uniform dependent on the quality of the cloth. Arthur Crossland was succeeded as bandmaster in June 1950 by Ben Mallinson, who was in turn replaced by Aner Beardsell in May 1951 at a salary of £12 per annum

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HUDDERSFIELD TOWN HALL IN MARCH 1952 above, among the bandsmen pausing on the staircase are Alan Wood, Gordon Wood, Bill Hartley, Denise and Avis Hartley, Bernard Garside, Tom Heeley, Harold Battye, Brian Haigh, Trevor Roberts and Frank Dobson. Honley went on to be unplaced in the HDBBA contest, sponsored by the Daily Herald.


below, the pair of former cottages and one time chapel at the top of Berry Croft in Honley are now the home of Honley Silver Band

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A History of Honley Band 23

For many years, the Band had rented their band room at Berry Croft. The former chapel had served them well since the 1890s but more space was required and the committee set about purchasing the building in 1947 for £300. A special subscription list was opened and terms for a mortgage from the Halifax Building Society considered.

It was then proposed that an interest free loan be sought and approaches be made to several local supporters Herbert Drake, Mrs N Heppenstall, Edgar Thornton, Carlton Taylor, Albert Messenger and Colonel G P Norton. However, this idea was not pursued. A trust was formed of eight trustees and a loan was sought on the personal guarantee of Mr Messenger.

The Ladies’ Committee set about fundraising with many events and were able to hand over £110 to the Band. Having raised a further £200, the bandroom was purchased and the deeds transferred to the Band on 21* March, 1949. The next step was the addition of a kitchen and the fundraising began again. Financial assistance for this new work was given by the president, Albert Messenger, in July 1951.

Following an earlier dispute in October 1951 with the Band over the right to dismiss and re-engage the builder of the kitchen, the secretary was dismissed. The president demanded his reinstatement or the return of his loan. The Band was obliged to make additional tours round the village to raise the money and Mrs Heppenstall of Hillcrest made good the deficit. She was appointed president in 1954.

Hillcrest was a favourite destination for the Band on its Boxing Day tour of Honley. Two groups would cover the whole village and meet up at Mrs Heppenstall’s where a warm welcome and festive spread awaited them The president would then place a five pound note in each of the five collecting tins.

At the 1955 winter contest of the Huddersfield and District Brass Bands Association, held in Huddersfield Town Hall, at the end of November, Honley Silver Band, under its conductor Aner Beardsell, was awarded first prize in Section B. Mr H Wood, of Black Dyke Band, was the adjudicator. The Band was successful the next year when it was awarded second prize in the contest at Darton in June 1956, run in conjunction with the Old Folk’s Treat, when fourteen bands competed. The adjudicator on this occasion was Mr S. Wilcocks and he remarked favourably on the playing of Melodies of Long Ago by Honley Band, conducted again by Aner Beardsell.

Under the baton of Sid Fripp, Honley Silver Band came first in the third section of the Yorkshire Brass Band Championships held at St George’s Hall, Bradford on Saturday 11" March, 1967. They played Donizetti’s Poliuto with what was said to be “precision”. The adjudicator, Mr A Chappell awarded the Band 188 marks, ahead of West Yorkshire Fire Service Band with 186 marks and 15 other entrants.

Around 1980, Bert Howarth, a former soprano player with Fairey Aviation and Harry Mortimer’s famous All Stars, became conductor. Bert was one of the finest trainers, but very demanding of the Band at rehearsals. He was succeeded in 1984 by John Sheard and in 1986 by Norman Law, yet another soloist with Black Dyke Mills - this time on trombone. He moved on to Holme Band and recommended his colleague at Black Dyke, Russell Gray. Russell became the next conductor in 1988 and took the band on one of the most unusual engagements of its life.

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24 A History of Honley Band

THE BAND PLAYING AT HONLEY FEAST 1948 above, in Towngate

below, Tom Heeley and Brian Haigh prepare to play their next piece.

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A History of Honley Band 25


above, the band poses in their new uniform in July 1956. The new uniforms were purchased after a surprisingly short period of fundraising. The fund was established in January 1955 and in only 18 months, enough was raised to buy the uniforms at a cost of £368. House to house collections and local events contributed £65, the remainder having been donated by anonymous local benefactors. The New Uniform Fund was kept open in order to equip younger members who might soon be able to play in the Band.

back row: H Ellis, T Heeley (secretary), T Roberts, G Davidge, K Broadbent, R Wimpenny, J Thorpe, A Walker

middle row: J Leake (librarian), J Micklethwaite, F Dobson, R Armitage, D Toothill, R Ainley, G Wood, W Pickles, J Whiteley, J Carratt, S Roberts (treasurer)

front row; T Stacey, A Wood, A Booth, Mrs N Heppenstall (president), Aner H Beardsell (bandmaster), J Taylor, F Bradley, N Hallas.

The two prizes at the front are first prizes, one for the Huddersfield and District Brass Bands Association summer contest in September 1955 and the other for the HDBBA winter contest held in February 1956.



& CO.,LTD,


right, James Beever of Brook Street, Huddersfield were unable to alter an existing uniform to fit Arthur Crossland in 1949 so they estimated the cost of a new one, dependent on the cloth used.


The Band's uniform has changed over the years, from green and gold to purple (as in the photograph above with Mrs Heppenstall) to black.

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26 A History of Honley Band


above, in the band room., with conductor Russell Gray

below, in the playground of the Infant School

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A History of Honley Band 27


Band undertook its most adventurous tour to date, that of three towns in the Bernese Oberland, in eastern Switzerland. The trip was made possible by Fritz Frautschi, from Zweisimmen, a good friend of the band’s conductor, Russell Gray who was at that time the assistant principal of the Leyland DAF

Born near Glasgow in 1968, Russell had moved to Yorkshire to study music and Joined the ranks of Black Dyke’s cornet section where he stayed for two years. He went on to greater things and is now (2010) the musical director of Fairey (Geneva) Band - formerly Fairey Aviation Band.

GC: a period of eleven days, between 17th and 27th July, 1989, Honley Silver

Setting out from Honley, the band arrived at Zweisimmen at around noon on 18" July, after a comfortable coach journey. Accommodation for the next week was the town’s youth hostel, which was also the headquarters for the local brass band, who allowed the party to use their rooms for practice. In order to quench the travellers’ thirst, the remainder of Tuesday was taken to enjoy the magnificent scenery and sample the local beer.

On Wednesday morning the first rehearsal in Zweisimmen was held to blow away the cobwebs. The weather was hot, with temperatures in the mid 80s, but after the first few bars of The Cossack, the band was nicely in tune. The rest of Wednesday was again free, but in the evening there was a chance of playing an unscheduled concert in Zweisimmen. This gave an opportunity to run through the planned programme. The concert took place one hour later after which band members spent the evening visiting various drinking establishments, a feature of which was the very reasonable prices.

On Thursday the first main concert was at Chateau d’Oex in the Canton of Vaud and one-time home of actor David Niven. It was agreed that this could well have been the final concert since the atmosphere was electric, with a crowd somewhere in the region of about 400. It was probably the band’s best concert. The soloists shone with Tony Jagger, principal cornet, playing a brilliant rendition of The

Russell Gray played Harry James’ Trumpet Concerto and Graham “George” Butcher played a drum solo in Ted Huggens’ Choral and Rockout. All the local people were warm and friendly and Honley Silver Band left quite an impression.

Friday and Saturday were further free days with the option of doing your own thing or planned excursions. Some went up the mountains via the ski lift where the views were magnificent. On Saturday night, quite a few members went to Gstaad, the home of stars such as David Bowie and Roger Moore. Another enjoyable evening included being involved in can-can dancing.

On Sunday, there was an evening concert in the Stadtpark in Biel. Again this was a success, but the audience was not quite as large as that at Chateaux d’Oex. The highlight was some superb trombone playing from Geoff Evason, guest soloist. He played Don Lusher’s composition Concert Variations. This went down very well with a fine rendition of Frolic for Trombones as the encore, Geoff being joined by Adam Foy and David Batty. After the concert everyone decided to go for a drink (just for a change!) and a burger.

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28 A History of Honley Band

TWO SWISS PERFORMANCES above, outside at Chateau d’Oex.

below, in Kirchgemeinde Lenk im Simmental, due to

the poor weather outside.

inset, a programme in German

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A History of Honley Band 29


On Monday the concert was in Lenk in the neighbouring Canton of Bern, at the town’s modern reform church, but in the free time during the day members decided to go up the mountain on the ski lifts, generously paid for by their host. This proved an interesting excursion as the lift decided to stop in mid-journey!

The evening concert was successful, but the audience was much smaller than previous concerts. Highlights were Heykens Serenade, arranged by Tony Jagger in four movements, the Main Tune, German Marching Band, Boys’ Brigade and Gramophone. This went down very well with the audience. There was also a superb rendition of Blaydon Races, played on euphonium by Mark Sykes.

Tuesday was the final day in Zweisimmen, with a concert in the evening at Saanen, also in the Canton of Bern. There was a trip out to Saanen during the day and an enjoyable boat trip.

The concert audience could not compare with the first, but the playing was superb. One appropriately-named cornet feature really seemed to get the audience going - Futten Tappen, featuring Tony Jagger, Amanda Brook, Robert Broadhead, Mark Beaurain, Kim Broadhead, Renata Sykes, Lisa Sykes, Alex Foy and Gavin Hall. Alex went on to become a world champion cornet player.

At the final strains of the Swiss National Anthem, everyone felt a little sadness at the

final concert. The Band members had enjoyed themselves and had pulled out all the stops to be fine ambassadors for Yorkshire.

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30 A History of Honley Band

SETTING OFF .... above, from Burhouse Street in the late 1960s and

below, from St Mary’s around 1970.

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A History of Honley Band 31

JUNIOR BANDSMEN above, Alan Wood began the Junior Band to encourage young players, many of whom went on to play in the Band. Amongst those here are Andrew Toothill, Donna Wood, Lisa Sykes, Keir Tankard, Richard Wood, Renata Sykes, Mark Sykes, Amanda Brook, Melanie Sheard, Paul Gerrard, Jason Sheard, Paul Rayner, Richard Roebuck. Matthew Shaw and Martin Wood. Alan Wood, in white, is joined by Peter Sykes and Bob Shaw


below, the Band turns from Southgate towards the cricket field at Far End Lane.

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32 A History of Honley Band


above, John Clay conducted the Band when they won second place in the fourth section of the National Finals in Nottingham in September 1999


below, in 1997, the Band played at Fountains Abbey as part of a corporate event, sponsored by Yorkshire Water.

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elebrations of the 125" Anniversary of the founding of the Band, as Honley Brass Band, in 1865 took the form of a concert held in Huddersfield Town Hall on 17 October, 1990.

Under the baton of Musical Director Tony Jagger GDBM (SCoT), the Band played four selections during the evening, including a concert march Celebratzon, written by Tony Jagger. The programme of music from the Band was as varied as Chopin and Lennon and McCartney. A Flugel Horn solo, Concerto de Aranjuez, was played by James Shepherd. Honley villagers supported the occasion not only by joining the audience in large numbers but also through the other village organisations. A selection of light opera excerpts was presented by Honley Gilbert and Sullivan Society, with choral pieces by both Honley Male Voice Choir and Honley Ladies Choir. Honley Amateur Dramatic Society also contributed to the evening with a one-act play. The concert ended with the entire ensemble and audience singing Jerusalem. Band members that evening were:-

Principal Cornet Mark Beaurain Second Tenor Horn Robert Hanson Soprano Cornet Neil Gedney First Baritone George Kaye Solo Cornets Jeremy Youds Second Baritone David Wood Paul Maxfield Tenor Trombones Damian Hall Lisa Sykes Jonathan Eastwood Helen Hoyle Bass Trombone Richard Ewart Repiano Cornet Andrew Knight Solo Euphonium Andrew Toothill Second Cornets Renata Sykes Second Euphonium John Toothill Simon Mellowdew EEDb Basses Kate Ellis Third Cornets Sarah Mallinson Andrew Hoyle Vic Chadwick BBb Basses Mary Mellor Flugel Horn Paul Gerrard Peter Sykes Solo Tenor Horn = David Toothill Percussion Lisa Hanson First Tenor Horn Jason Sheard Clie Berry

Early in 1991, the Band parted company with its conductor just before the first of the regional contests for the National Championships. Denis Wilby was engaged to conduct at the Barnsley contest and had only a few rehearsals before the Sunday event a week later.

Between 1992 and 1994, the Band was without a conductor and, by August 1994, was somewhat depleted in playing strength with the Band struggling for some time with as few as nine players turning up regularly for rehearsals. Emley Brass players helped out Honley along with Linthwaite players to strengthen their numbers at engagements. John Toothill came back to the Band in 1993 as Bandmaster showing belief in the players and their ability. He persuaded former players to return and recruited new players. His brother David took on the conducting role at outside events.

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34 A History of Honley Band

Lockwood and Honley bands met individually to talk about the situation within their own organisations and whether to take up a new challenge. Discussions on a merger came to nothing and Honley began the pathway to restored strength. Among those people recruited at that tume was Bessie Ackroyd, who took over as musical director, although she made her first appearance with Honley playing in the cornet section..

Taking on a band whose fortunes were at a low ebb was not new to Halifax-born Bessie. Although she learned the piano and church organ at an early age, it was a few years before she became involved with brass bands. She learned to play trumpet with a school orchestra and was playing a trumpet solo at a concert in which Elland Silver was also appearing and she was invited to jom Honley Band, which she did.

In November 1994, the Band, under Bessie, set up the Roy Castle memorial trophy, just a few months after the entertainer died. In February 1995, she went on to take Honley to ninth place in the Yorkshire Area at Bradford. Bessie also conducted both Honley and the Fire Service Band in a competition at Bingley and helped them achieve first and second place, respectively. Unfortunately only two bands entered!

Other conductors in the 1990s included Steve Platten, Clive Jowett and John Clay. At Christmas 1996, as the Band was touring the district, Steve Platten, who was also the conductor of Yorkshire Traction Band mooted the idea that it and Honley should joi forces. The bus company band was depleted in numbers and the amalgamation would bring about a small influx of new players to Honley. In addition, there was an almost complete set of instruments, a wide and taxing music library, a set of uniforms and an annual sponsorship from the bus company of £3,000. Best of all was the free bus travel to any Band engagement.

By mid-February 1997, the merger was complete and, on Saturday, 1* March, YTHB entered the fourth section of the area qualifying contest, reaching a respectable fifth place with 163 points at St George’s Hall, Bradford.

Clive Jowett set off with the Band to the 1998 qualifying contest minus its first horn player, who had felt unwell and was diagnosed with appendicitis. She was in fact pregnant! A hurried re-write of the first horn part in the rehearsal room before the contest lead to a second place in the Yorkshire Area.

Having qualified for the National Finals at Harrogate in 1998, the first time in its life, Honley Band under John Clay went on to reach the finals a second time in 1999. John Clay was the spinning manager at Black Dyke Mills and jomed that band at the age of 14. He went on to become principal cornet.

The National Finals were held in the Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham, on 18" September, 1999 and the Band took second place in the fourth section. The Band was promoted to third section the next year through its high positions in the previous three years’ qualifying. However, it only reached seventh place at Bradford the following March.

The Band saw the return of Bert Howarth in 2000 after a short spell under Michael Brook. Playing began to improve both in quality and quantity of players, but Bert took ill and was unable to continue as conductor. He was succeeded by Stuart Derrick, second euphonium with Black Dyke Mills, Fairey’s and Yorkshire Building Society bands. Stuart was acknowledged as one of the finest euphonium

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A History of Honley Band 35

players in the world. Few contests were entered at this time, but the Band was seen to be a most entertaining concert band.

At the end of 2003, Honley’s bandroom was used to record a CD of music of a different genre - blues acoustic guitar. Emily Druce and Steve Jones recorded 15 tracks for an album released in February 2004, appropriately entitled Songs from the Silver Band Room. Emily lived next door to the bandroom and tended the garden for a while. Members of the band feature in a supporting role on two tracks of the recording and at the premiere of Emily’s work at Holmfirth Picturedrome.

Honley Band is thought to have broken a couple of records when it played at the Pavilion in Scarborough during August 2009. The records were reckoned to be that firstly its musical director, 19-year-old Nicholas Eastwood, was the youngest brass band conductor in the country. Secondly, the Band’s drummer, 79-year-old Raymond Berry, was believed to be the oldest brass band drummer in the UR.

Nicholas took up the baton at Honley after the band committee asked Huddersfield University’s music department if any of its students would help out while they looked for a new conductor.

Nicholas went along as a stand-in at rehearsals while they looked for a permanent conductor, but so impressed were the Band that they offered him the job. His grandfather and his grandmother had both been brass band players m York. Such was the family’s commitment to banding that Nicholas’s younger brother Jack was recruited to play with Honley when he could. Jack was then just 15 and played solo cornet. However Nicholas returned to his home city in 2010 to jom York Railway Institute Band on solo trombone and the Band set off on the familiar trail to find a new musical director.

Next to arrive was Wayne Antony Bostwick from Old Silkstone ‘B’ Band and one of his first performances was to celebrate the 80th birthday of Band secretary, Peter Large, in Peter’s garden in Holmfirth. He not only conducted the Band but also made a special birthday cake for Peter, in the Band’s colours.

Although the Band has not won any national accolades for over a decade, Wayne aims to get them back into wmning ways. With several new members joining, the Band’s return to competition playing seems likely to reap rewards. In autumn 2010, the Band’s playing had improved enough to hint at a possible return to third section competing in future area contests.

Embracing the age of social networks, Honley Band now has its own Facebook page in which members share their photographic and musical memories and promote forthcoming events - truly a band of the future.

In the words of the poem on the next page: As long as there’s a Honley, there’ll be a Honley Band.

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36 A History of Honley Band

WATER MUSIC AT SCARBOROUGH below, on 15% August, 2010, Honley Band played at Peasholm Park, Scarborough

In od ova (NFIRMARY

FIELD srt pea. OWN wo amv U ‘


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A History of Honley Band



Many years ago, this poem was printed and sold in a small leaflet for the princely sum of two pence as a fundraising effort for the band. Although in dialect, some of the words are clearly home-made!

uv yerd a lot of swanking I’ utther parts of t’ land, But lets us do a little bit Abaat yar Honley Band:

Ther just alot of working lads, Ther’s twisters and ther’s dyers But wheear yo go yul nivver fornd A better lot o’ triers

Yerl always fornd um ready To help 7’ owt they can, Anif yo give um torme enough Thel be theear to a man.

Thev getten a reight conductor, Always good an’ patient seems, But when his stick it slaps that rail They all know what it means.

Yo want to cum sum practice neet Un watch um, air they tror: They blow wol sweat runs daan ther cheeks Wol um sure ther all fai dror.

Did yo yer um Feeast Sunday Wi th’erly morning sing: Air they played them good old hymn tunes Un fairly made Honley ring?

Thers one in naa ut gave it up, He thowt he wer dun an worn: But he’s fun air fit an well he is When he’s blowing his fugal horn.

Thev a real good lad as secretary, Bill Hartley is his name, He'll do just what yo ask him to Unkeep smiling just the same.

Ud od lorke ta mention Ronnie, He’s has some real bad luck, Om sure that weer all glad to see That lad is bucking up.

An or think yerl all admit it Yer can travel t’country throo, He’a better player wi one leg Ner moast folk is wi’ two.

Ye want tae see ther instruments Air Norse un cleean they look: An yer carn’t see smarter uniforms In any picture book.

An doant yo think they make a lot Becos ther allus willing: For when ther shared all aat this yer, It didn’t run each a shilling.

Then ther’s Arthur Lockwood, He used to play i’t band, Naar yer see he’s playing wi’ best Orchestra in the land.

An doan’t forget Fred Berry, He’s takken bands on tour: Yer can tell he’s an Honley bred un, He lived up Honley Moor.

Or think by now Ov said enough As torme is nearly up, But ther’s one thing Ov fergeten, Abaat um winning cup.

That capt um all in Honley When they yert that Honley’s won Now let’s go raand and shake ther hands An tell the lads, “Well done”!

Or wop they go on playing, Its best village in the land, An Or wop as long as ther’s Honley

Ther’ll be an HONLEY BAND


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A History of Honley Band

SMITH W BRAY’S BAND 1905 above, possibly at Enfield House, Jaggar Lane. H.D.V.C. HONLEY COMPANY DRUM AND BUGLE BAND

below, in the grounds of Springfield House at Field End, a group of young men and mascot with their instruments. Little is currently known of this group, who existed during the 1914-18 war.


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A History of Honley Band 39


nstrumental music in Honley was not simply limited to the Band, be it brass or silver. At the beginning of the 20th century, Smith William Bray conducted a small band, which played in Honley. Including members of his family, Smith Bray’s band and larger orchestra played at many village events. Be it a wedding or a party, the Smith Bray band would play for the evenmg dance. At Hope Bank or Honley Sing, they played the popular music of the day such as Blaze Away or Gold and Silver Waltz.

When Smith was unable to continue leading his players, the band was lead by his son, Harold. He was in charge all through the second world war.

Huddersfield District Volunteer Corps existed during the 1914 - 1918 war and a Honley company formed part. Ten members made up a small drum and bugle band which lined up at Springfield House for a photograph taken by Honley photographer, Charles Exley. Music has always played a large part in the busy life of the village of Honley and so it continues today.


above, clearly had an orchestra to accompany the singing on 23'¢ September, 1906.

This was most probably lead by Smith William Bray

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40 A History of Honley Band


he idea for a band history came initially from the Secretary, Peter Large, who showed several members of the Civic Society round the band room in Berry Croft one afternoon. He offered access to the minutes and to early photographs which set the ball rolling. Our thanks to the Band committee for allowing us access to these.

Special thanks go to Mary and Carlton Mellor who generously provided cuttings and pictures from their own archives. Thanks, too, go to Jeffrey Turner who is a well known historian of local brass bands. Special thanks must go to David Toothill for his information and diligent correction of the draft manuscript. Alan Wood and Jim Taylor have added tales and photographs of the more recent past.

Gillian Hartle provided the photograph of the 1884 Band which had been kept by her uncle Charles Longden, who had written the apocryphal tale of the boots on the reverse. Dorothy Bray recalled memories of her father, Joe Broadbent, and Peter Bray told of his grandfather, Smith William Bray. Many thanks to them all.

The walls of Honley band room in Berry Croft display several framed pictures of the Band throughout its life. Some of these are reproduced in this book. Other photographs came from the Honley Civic Society Archives and include some from the Harold Holdroyd collection and from Val Javin.

To everyone who contributed to the completion of this brief history of Honley Band - thank you.


Page 44

Honley Civic Society Local History Publications

Published by Honley Civic Society A Village Walk Another Walk Round Honley Hope Bank, Honley’s Pleasure Grounds and Gardens Non Conformist Chapels of Honley, Moorbotom Non Conformist Chapels of Honley, The Methodists Pagodas and Potato Salad, A History of Cricket in Honley St Mary’s Church and Honley, A Chronological Canter The Further Reminiscences of Mrs Jagger Woodroyd, Honley’s Hidden Hamlet

In preparation Hiistoric Mills of Honley - Lord's Mill The Brookes of Honley

Out of print 200 Years of Village Schools

Published by Tempus Honley, Then and Now by Peter Bray and Honley Civic Society

ISBN-13 978-0-9560074-6-9


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