Staines Brass Band History
In 1930 Walter (Wally) Sanders, having formed the Staines Salvation Army band aged 17 and spending just short of forty years building a musical tradition there, decided to start a brass band for the benefit of the man in the street. He got together with some friends, and the Staines United Temperance Band was born. Over time the name was changed to Staines United Band, then to the current Staines Brass, and Wally's granddaughter still plays in the band.
Staines Brass is a nationally contesting brass band, which undertakes a limited number of concerts, so in the 1990s it was decided to form a second band, alongside the contesting band, to undertake high quality concerts, bandstand performances and private engagements, rather than competing at contests. This would contain a new, complementary group of musicians, and the emphasis would be on playing simply for musical and social enjoyment. After some ten years the new band felt it right to differentiate itself from the main Staines Brass and in the year 2000 the title of Staines Lammas Band was adopted. Staines Lammas Band does compete in one contest each year, the Challenging Brass trophy, against three other non-contesting bands. In 2019 it won again, for the tenth consecutive year.
The two bands together form the Staines Brass Band, and both bands share the library of music, instruments, rehearsal room and committee.
The bands are lucky enough to have their own bandroom in Lammas Recreation Ground. It is a fantastic headquarters, purpose built on land bequeathed to the local community, with the support of the local council. This was opened by the famous Harry Mortimer CBE in 1990.
Staines Brass had a very auspicious start. Tommy Caley loaned the band £40 to buy instruments, and within a year the band had a full complement of 25 players, had its first contest success, and had earned enough money to buy a set of new uniforms. This was helped by an influx of people to work at Lagonda and Staines Linoleum Manufacturing, both big employers in the area at the time. In 1937, after several years' hard contesting at venues including Alexandra Palace and Crystal Palace, those uniforms were replaced by another brand new set. In a shrewd move, the old ones were sold to Billy Smarts Circus at Winkfield!
Guest conductors over the years have included several brass band luminaries, including Harry Mortimer, Denis Wright, and Eric Ball, who worked at Staines Linoleum Manufacturing and practised the organ at St. Peter's Church in Staines, where the band still perform.
Both bands are thriving, and last year we recorded a joint CD in time for this year's 90th birthday for Staines Brass and 30th for Staines Lammas.