Extract from "Around Tadley, fact and fable"
Published 1999 by Tadley and District Society

The original band was founded in about 1875 by musicians who used to play at services at the Old Meeting (United Reformed Church) and the nearby Tadley Primitive Methodist Chapel. Their original name was the Tadley Gospel Temperance Band. For many years their activities were restricted to religious work. As Ernie Kimber recalls in My Story of the Tadley Band and my 75 years as a Bandsman, 'the band used to play at open-air services and hospital charity parades and to help provide accompaniment for hymns at outdoor meetings held throughout the summers at local nonconformist meetings'. The Salvation Army later took on this role at open-air meetings. Membership of the band in 1886 contained family names still familiar today (cornets: Thomas Lambden, Bert Rampton and Albert Jones; horn: Ted Giles; euphonium: George Saunders; bass: Walter Saunders; side drum: George Appleton and bass drum: George Giles).

In 1914 at Shaw, Newbury, the band took part in its first competition, which was also Ernie Kimber's first, and were named as 'most promising band'. From then until 1973 Ernie was present at every competition the band took part in. In 1920, John Lambden was appointed bandmaster to succeed David Norris, and in 1922 Theodore Johnson, who for some years had toured the music halls with a family act known as the Bramusas, also offered to give the band lessons. It began to improve and take part in both regional and national competitions. An early success was in 1930 when, under the baton of John Lambden and the tuition of Joseph Dyson, they came second in a competition in Reading.

16 members of the band were called up to fight during World War II. Sadly, not all returned home; two, Able-Seaman Stanley Bowman and Flight Sergeant Brian West, were killed. In 1945 the band became active again, with Gideon West leading, they won the National Third Section Championships in London in 1962. Also in 1962, both Ernie Kimber and Gideon West were made honorary members of the National Brass Band Club in recognition of 50 years service to the band movement. The presentation of badge and certificate being made by the internationally known musician Harry Mortimer. Competing in The Daily Herald Band Festival in Brighton (1964) Tadley Silver Band (as they were now known) won the Third Division contest. Included in the band was the first female member, ten year old Ann Hutchins. On the retirement of Gideon West in 1964 Jack Clark became bandmaster and took the band on to other honours, winning three first prizes and a second during his time with the band.

The band practised in the Old Chapel Room from 1875 until the early 1950's when new accommodation was found in a converted barn in a field in Knapp Lane. When this was demolished to make way for houses at Mariner's Close rehearsals were at the United Reformed Church school-house. This was found to be too restrictive and the band returned to the Old Chapel Room until moving to Tadley Jubilee Centre. The band has gone on to further successes and still retains the name Tadley in its title. Going from Tadley Gospel Temperance to Tadley Silver Band and Tadley Silver Prize Band, it is now The Tadley Band (Martin Grant Homes). Gordon Saunders retired from the post of Musical Director of Tadley Band (MGH) in 1999 after completing 30 years service with the band at which time Marcus Gibbons was appointed to the position. They currently rehearse at the Ambrose Allen Centre, Franklin Avenue.

 Tadley Concert Brass (previously Tadley Youth Band), and the training band, use St Paul's Church Hall where the Saturday learner classes have led some young musicians to study music to higher levels. Tadley Concert Brass will soon have their own purpose-built rehearsal rooms. Planning approval has been obtained to build on land provided by Tadley Rugby Club for this purpose, with completion in 2000.

The Tadley Youth Band formed in 1975, with the help of Ernie Kimber. As Tadley Concert Brass, under the direction of Paul Chapman, they play at many social events in the community, continuing the local band tradition. Through the 1980's and 1990's both The Tadley Band (MGH) and Tadley Concert Brass, with their training band, have continued performing often in concerts, competitions and outdoor band events. Over the many years that band have existed in Tadley many of the local population have been members, and have continued the worthwhile tradition of music, reaching back to at least the mid-nineteenth century with the Baughurst Gospel Temperance Band, and Baughurst Hill Drum and Fife Band. 

This page was last modified on 28 May 2016