By carrying off the Daily Telegraph Challenge Cup at the Crystal Palace Contest on September 27th, the Linthwaite Brass Band grained what is regarded as their highest distinction. The band have secured dining an existence of nearly fifty years hundreds of prizes, but all these are eclipsed by their recent success, which is highly gratifying to all lovers of instrumental music in the district, and particularly to those residing in Linthwaite and Milnsbridge. The band’s previous reputation was by no means a low one. For years it has occupied a premier position in this neighbourhood, and in recent times perhaps the only combination which has vied with it is the Lindley Band. Of course, success has not at all periods attended the efforts of the members. The band has occasionally fallen into comparative insignificance for a short time, owing to circumstances over which no one connected with it had control. But now it may safely be said to be on the high road to such success as the most sanguine supporter could hardly have wished for it. It is interesting to note that the only achievement of the band which at all approaches their recent success was that which was secured at Edinburgh in 1877, when a prize of £60 was awarded.
Congratulations such as the band deserved were given to the members last night, when a meeting was held in the Baptist schoolroom, Milnsbridge. The promoter of the Crystal Palace Contest, Mr. J. Henry lies, was present for the purpose of publicly presenting the cup, and the proceedings were of an enthusiastic character, a crowded audience evincing the liveliest interest in the ceremony and in the splendid performances of the band. To many the event was of a dual character, for the Crosland Moor Handbell Ringers also gave some excellent items, and this was the first occasion on which a proper opportunity had been given the public of congratulating them. Needless to say, they met with a hearty reception, and the audience were immensely pleased with the duty of congratulating both combinations.
Mr. A.J. Haigh (Milnsbridge) presided, and he was supported, in addition to Mr. Iles, by a number of prominent gentlemen residing in the district, including Councillor H. A. Whittell (Huddersfield), Councillor A. Hanson (Milnsbridge), and Councillor J. W. Freer (Linthwaite). The Chairman explained that he occupied that position in place of Alderman J. Sugden, of Huddersfield, who was prevented from attending through indisposition. Mr. Haigh also read letters of apology for non-attendance from the Mayor of Huddersfield (Alderman E. Woodhead), Colonel E.H. Carlile, Mr. Charles Armitage, Mr. Barrett (Leeds), and Mr. Joshua Marshall and Mr. B. Stocks (Huddersfield). Each of these gentlemen heartily congratulated the band on its success, and the Mayor expressed the hope that the members would stick together and practise until they were able to take the principal prize at the Crystal Palace Contest. The Chairman added a few words of congratulation, and was sure everybody residing in the neighbourhood was proud of the success which the band and the handbell ringers had attained. He hoped the latter would be successful next year at Belle Vue, and that the former would gain even greater distinction than that which had already fallen to their lot. (Applause.)
Mr. Mellor Addy read a letter which had been received by the secretary (Mr. H. Needham) from Mr. Edwin Swift, who has acted as conductor of the band for many years. Mr. Swift regretted that he could not be present, but congratulated the band on their success. Considering the instruments which the band possessed, the past season had been a remarkably successful one. He, however, trembled to think of what their prospects might be if a new set of instruments were not secured. Mr. Swift went on to say that it would be fifty years next February since the band was formed, and he hoped something would be done in the matter of providing new instruments in the jubilee year. If something were done in this direction, then they ought to go in and carry off the 1,000 guineas cup at the Crystal Palace. (Applause.)
Mr. Iles then made the presentation, which he considered a very pleasant duty. He heartily congratulated the band upon its magnificent victory at the Crystal Palace. He was convinced that the band were deserving of greater praise than he at first thought. It had been greatly handicapped, having had to compete against some of the finest bands in the country with comparatively inferior instruments. He was sure, therefore, that it reflected the highest credit on the band to have, notwithstanding these great difficulties, carried off the Daily Telegraph cup. They were, no doubt, all very proud of the band, and would, he was sure, do their best to support them. He did not think anyone could estimate the importance of the series of contests at the Crystal Palace, and he believed there was nothing better to induce bands to keep on the steady road of improvement. He intimated that Linthwaite would have to compete in the first section at next year’s contest, and as they would be opposed by some of the finest bands in the world, they would need all the support and encouragement which could be afforded them. He hoped they would be able to go into the contest field with an up-to-date set of instruments second to none. The reputation of the band was something to be proud of, and nothing would give him greater pleasure than that they should outshine their present success and obtain the much-coveted cup valued at 1,000 guineas. Mr. Iles referred to the presence of Mr. Richard Stead, of Slaithwaite, one of the judges at the contest, who was amongst the audience. There had been, he stated, certain statements flying about the country as to the qualifications of the judges, but he considered their decisions were honest, straight, above board, and altogether beyond suspicion. He then handed the cup to the Chairman, and after once more congratulating the band, expressed the hope that this success would stimulate them to greater efforts in the future. (Loud applause.)
The Chairman accepted the trophy in a few appropriate words.
The new instruments have been secured, and in the order of merit at the great coming contest referred to, Linthwaite was seventh on the list.
Slaithwaite Notes: Past and Present (1905) by John Sugden