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Salvation Army Band

about 1896
The drummer has Salvation Army across his jumper - the picture is thought to be about 1896

During the Christmas season of 1897, the brass band of the Rushden Salvation Army Corps had a grievance lodged at them concerning the usual practice of allocation of the Christmas “Waits” collections (the Band parading the town and neighbouring district and playing seasonable music, and soliciting money contributions from the public).  This Army core band had been accustomed to giving a gratuity, or a Christmas gift, out of the total collections taken during the “Waits” visitations, to their local Corps officer, and the remaining funds were spent upon the general upkeep of the band – such as instruments, repairs, new music, etc., this being their only source of income throughout the whole year.  At this particular Christmas (1897) the local Corps officer desired the band to give the whole amount of the Waits collections to himself.  Naturally, the bandsmen, not wishing to set up a precedent, resented this and became “conscientious objectors”.  Remonstrations, heated discussions, and painful incidents resulted from this attitude.

However, the bandsmen, although firmly believing their actions to be justifiable, were commanded to relinquish their bandsmen’s commissions, and surrender to their Corps officer their entire equipment, and this they did.

At this time a Free Church Missioner was visiting the various churches of the town, and Sabbath after Sabbath, conducted services, preaching in different pulpits.  These ex-Salvation Army bandsmen, now without a spiritual home, still remained banded together, and attended “en bloc” the churches in which this Free Church Missioner was preaching week after week.  However, this “Man of vision” based at the Queen Street Independent Wesleyan again stepped into the town’s limelight by inviting this roaming band of ex-Salvation Army musicians to meet them at a convened meeting when certain proposals were laid before them.  Instruments were purchased personally by most of the bandsmen, and those being unable to purchase instruments received them at the church’s expense, and thus a new musical combination came into being.

A further meeting was called, trustees appointed, officers elected, headquarters offered, rules made and a proper constitution drawn up: thus, the Rushden Independent Wesleyan Reform Band was officially formed.  At a later date this became “Rushden Mission Band”. 

 Organ Grinders, Mission Bands, and Salvation Army

The Clerk said he had also received a new bye-law prohibiting anyone from playing a musical instrument on a highway within 50 yards of a house after an intimation to desist.

Mr. Spencer: Does this apply to the Salvation Army?

The Clerk: Yes, to everything.

Mr. Spencer thought this a most ridiculous bye-law to make. If the bye-law had been framed to meet the case of organ-grinders alone, the others should have been excluded from it, but now it would stop any band or open air mission.

Mr. Skinner: You would not interfere with a good band.

Mr. Denton said that if the bye-law was intended to put down the Salvation Army and other mission meetings it would become inoperative and would have to be repealed.

The question then dropped.

Rushden Echo & Argus, 22nd January 1932, transcribed by Kay Collins

Radio Artiste—Mr Tom Giles, formerly of Rushden, is to broadcast from the Western regional Station tomorrow (Saturday). His item will be a cornet solo “Long, Long Ago.” Mr Giles was, until. January last year, a member of the Rushden Salvation Army Band, but left to join the International Staff Band in London. A brilliant player of the cornet, Mr Giles re-visited his home town to give a solo in a special concert at Rushden Hall. He is now a pupil of Mr C Waters, of Callender’s Cable Works Band.

Rushden Echo & Argus, 29th January 1932, transcribed by Kay Collins

Bandsman Tom Giles
Rushden Cornet Player in 'Tonight' Programme

Staff Bandsman Tom Giles, formerly of Rushden, and now of the Salvation Army International Staff Band, was the cornet soloist in a wireless concert relayed from Bath through the Cardiff (Western Regional) Station on Saturday evening. Mr Giles played in the Salvation Army Band until twelve months ago when he joined the International Staff Band. Not yet 21, he is one of four musical sons of a musical father. His father, Hon. Bandsman Giles, can claim to have greatly improved the Rushden band, and his brother Will is continuing that good work as the bandmaster of to-day. Another brother, Charlie, plays the tenor horn in the band and a third brother, George, was formerly the solo euphonium player.

1920 junior band
Junior Band 1920
A postcard by C F Chapman


Saturday October 5th 1985

Presentation and
Dedication of
New Instruments
and Band Flag

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