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Tullis Russell Band provide November History Feature

Published on 9 November, 2010 at 11:11

 We are pleased to introduce a  feature on the site in the form of archive photographs. The photos are from the collection of former SBBA President Alan McLaren and further selections will be added on a monthly basis. We would welcome feedback and additional information on any of the photos.

Comments welcome to

Alan Douglas from Tullis Russell Band provides some interesting photographs from their archive this month. a young John Wallace, Derek Garside, Drake Rimmer and few younger faces still around in the Scottish brass band scene, as always comments welcome.

20111113110157.jpg - Tullis Trophies 1965 H1
Tullis Russell 1965 with in particular the Besson Challenge Shield, now the Scottish Challenge
Shield which will be competed for on 3rd December in Dundee. Also Drake Rimmer well known
Scottish Conductor/Composer who conducted many Fife bands and was born in Hawick.

20111113110347.jpg - Tullis concert Derek Garside H2
Famous cornet player from CWS Manchester Band playing Post Horn at a Tullis Concert around
1965 with Duncan Campbell conducting.

20111113110534.jpg - Tullis 1965 John Wallace H3
Another from the Tullis archive with a very young John Wallace in the back row, now principal
of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Message from Canada from former Tullis member

20111117123254.jpg - Tullis Armistice day

Dear Sir, Being November, I thought you might be interested in this photo of Tullis Russell doing the Armitise parade at Markinch in the late 70's.

S. Adair [ex TRMB] Bbbass WSB Toronto.


The October contribution from Alan McLaren is  a bit of a mystery, can you help?

20111022214837.jpg - 1 Oct History 2011
Taken in Bathgate around 1986 can anyone give us a clue?

20111022215024.jpg - 2 Oct History 2011
We think this was taken at a Bandstand in Fife, Could be Bill Sandell on left before he lost weight!

20111022215249.jpg - 3 Oct History 2011
Suspect was taken at a miners Gala Day contest

Comment from Mark McKeown
The bottom photo is definitely Shotts St Patrick's.

I can be seen on rep along with Stephen Murphy and John Forsyth in the back row, John Gonnella is on Solo Cornet with Alistair Gibson on front row.
The four horns are Mary Scott, James Mckeown, John Kelly, and Mary Cairns. Mick Wedlock is on second Euphonium, Joe Gonnella is on second trombone and I think Erik Kerr could be on solo trombone. The year is probably 1984.

The middle photo could also be Shotts as the trombone player to the right looks suspiciously like Harry Kelly.The trombone player to the left (aka Bill Sandell) could be Joe Gonnella. The hats and uniform would date it from sometime in the 60s.

Comment from Kenny Crookston

The top pic looks like Broxburn Catholic Silver Band to me, although the bass player in the middle played with West Calder.

Not sure about the middle one but the bottom one is Shotts under David Gray.



September 2011 Selection
20110914164446.jpg - History 1 Sept 2011 Kinneil
Kinneil Band (Unison Kinneil) some cracking hairstyles - got a date when taken anyone?

20110914170852.jpg - history 2 Sept 2011 Whitburn
Whitburn Band, got a date and location anyone?  Is this Archie Smiths Hotel?

20110914171003.jpg - history 3 Sept 2011 Whitburn
Whitburn - Who is the Young Bass Player?

Comment from Gordon Simpson on the above Whitburn Photographs
The location is indeed Archie Smith's Oakfield Hotel in Kelty and the date is 28 February 1981. As reigning Scottish Champions (we defended our title 2 weeks' later in Motherwell), Whitburn was asked to play at a presentation dinner held in honour of James Abbott, SABBA President.

Most of the band is in the photos as follows:

Conductor - Major Peter Parkes

Principal cornet - Alex Melville

Solo cornets - Colin Kemp, Lockhart Vidler, Peter Gray

Soprano - Ron Wotherspoon

Rep - Neil Ward

Flugel - Dick Duff

2nd cornets - Sam Knox, Deborah MacLean (my wife!)

3rd cornets - Kathrin McKay, Fraser Simpson (wee brother!)

Horns - Alex Vidler, Michael Marzella, Ann Tallis (regular solo horn, Sandy Smith, unavailable)

Euphoniums - Jim Graham, Peter Moore

Baritones - Jim Ferguson, Dennis Slimmon

Trombones - Marty Wilson, Richard Hunter, Les Brodie

Basses - Andy Duncan, Brian Le Tissier, John Lambie, Bobby Hendrie

Percussion - yours truly, Robert Mill

This was a special band indeed which, with relatively few changes, won four consecutive Scottish titles and on home soil won 16 out of 17 contests played between December 1980 and January 1984. Good memoriesJ

We weren't infallible though as a funny incident from the Kelty concert makes clear. Here we were, presented as the premier Scottish band with the all-time greatest conductor holding the baton, and we set off on our programme with I think it was Procession to the Nobles (Rimsky Korsakov arr Langford).. Then disaster, a few of the cornets missed an entry and chaos ensued and the performance descended into a shambolic mess within less than a minute of starting!

It was almost certainly a unique experience for the Major as he put his baton down, turned to the great and good of the Scottish banding fraternity, and apologised - "if you don't mind, we'd like to start that one again!" Hilarious, if just a tad embarrassing.



Thanks to Keith Belleville for the 2 St Ronan's photos and to John Gilmour for the Bo'ness SA band at Bo'ness Fair. John indicated that the Bo'ness photo is from 1964, however, a sign on one of the lorries behind the band suggests 1962. Might be safest just to say Bo'ness SA Band taking part in a Bo'ness Fair procession in the early 1960's. The St Ronan's photos are two of the earliest photos of one of Scotland's oldest bands.

This month's selection has been provided by John and Keith and that we welcome other photos of brass bands in Scotland being submitted for inclusion.

August 2011 Selection
20110811223354.jpg - Aug History 1 Boness SA
Bo'ness Salvation Army at Bo'ness Fair

20110811223459.jpg - Aug History 2 St Ronans
St Ronan's Silver Band

20110811223557.jpg - Aug History 3 St Ronans
St Ronan's Silver Band


July 2011 Selection

20110713105351.jpg - History 1 July 2011
Arran Brass & MacTaggart Scott Loanhead pictured at a joint performance in the grounds of
Brodick Castle in September 1996
20110713110638.jpg - History 2 July 2011
Barrhead Burgh Band 1967
20110713110732.jpg - History 3 July 2011
Buckhaven & District Miners Band - 3rd Section Champions 1970


June Selection
20110601233408.jpg - History June 1 Fecheny

Fechney Industrial School Band, Perth
20110601233549.jpg - History June 2 Fechney scouts
The same band as the 22nd (Fechney) Perthshire Boy Scouts Band

20110601233700.jpg - History June 3 Dundee Trades Band
Dundee Trades Band


May Selection
20110502181149.jpg - May History 2 Clydebank
Clydebank Burgh Band. The photo is on a postcard posted in 1908. The message on the rear reads "You ought to hear this band. It is something worth listening to."

20110502180907.jpg - May History 1 Band at Lithgow Marches
Unidentified band taking part in the Linlithgow Marches procession in 1911. Most likely one of the Bo'ness bands but could be Bathgate or perhaps Broxburn. Can anyone help identfy?

20110502181034.jpg - May History 3 Braes of Allan Band
The Braes of Allan Band in 1929. Anyone know anything about this band?


April Selection
20110402113430.jpg - April 1 Edinburgh Blind Asylum Band
Edinburgh Royal Blind Asylum Brass Band

20110402113305.jpg - April 2 History Glasgow Blind Asylum Band
Glasgow Royal Blind Asylum Brass Band

20110402113549.jpg - April 3 Jedforest Band 1909
Jedforest Band leading the United Sunday Schools Picnic Procession in Jedburgh 1909


March 2011 Selection
20110302115448.jpg - Archive 1 March Newhaven Silver Band
Newhaven Silver Band

20110302115624.jpg - Archive 2 March Whiteinch  SA YP band 1923
Whiteinch Salvation Army YP Band 1923

20110302115745.jpg - Archive 3 March Galashiels Town Band 1985
Galashiels Town Band 1985


20110217124328.jpg - HISTORY 10 FEB COALBURN
Coalburn Band - 1930's

20110217124436.jpg - HISTORY 11 DYKEHEAD
Dykehead Band - 1906

20110217124538.jpg - HISTORY 12 KINNEIL
Kinneil Band - Bo'ness Fair 1984


20110109171948.jpg - HISTORY 7 MAYBOLE BAND
Maybole Band 1904

Selkirk Silver Band 1912. 
20110109172242.jpg - HISTORY 8 JAN 2011

20110109172330.jpg - HISTORY 9 JAN 2011 
Bathgate Band taking part in the town's annual John Newland's Day Procession in 1984

FEEDBACK on any of the above photographs appreciated to


20101109105633.jpg - History 4 Hawick Saxhorn
Photo 4             Hawick Saxhorn Band circa 1904.
1904 was an important year in the band's history. In December, the Bandmaster, a  Mr Walter Atkinson, died. He had moved from Sowerby Bridge in Yorkshire to take up the position of bandmaster in 1891 and remained in post until his death. In those 13 years the band won prizes in no less than 29 contests. His successor was no less than Robert Rimmer from Southport who came to Hawick from Spencer's Steelworks Band on Tyneside. the band holds a letter from Robert to William Rimmer describing a contest in Edinburgh.  
Brian Emmerson
Chairman Hawick Saxhorn Band

20101109105726.jpg - History 5 Govan SA
Photo 5             One of Scotland's most famous Salvation Army bands, the Govan Citadel Band, pictured here in 1922. Note the French horns!

20101109105844.jpg - History 6 Whitburn at Ed Festival
Photo 6             Major Peter Parkes conducting Whitburn Band at the Edinburgh Festival Contest in Princes Street Gardens

Kenny Crookston writes............................

The Whitburn pic was taken at the 1985 Edinburgh Festival contest, probably by James Abbott judging by the position of the photographer. The black armbands were worn as a mark of respect for the band's 2nd baritone player, Dennis Slimmon, who had died of a heart attack two days earlier. His close friend, Jim Ferguson (who hadn't been playing with Whitburn at that time), stepped in and took his place at the contest. Front row cornets were Archie Sutherland (left Whitburn in 1986 and died in 1995), Dick Duff (who is still spotted occasionally playing with Kinneil), Trevor McCormick (went on to play with Black Dyke and Fairey on 1st horn) and Lockhart Vidler (still appears with the band once a year at Whitburn Gala Day). Owen Downs (now at Kinneil) is on soprano, I was on repiano, Deborah McLean (now Simpson, left the band around 1990) and Sam Knox (still playing regularly with Whitburn in his late 70s!) are on 2nd cornet, and Kathrin McKay (moved to London not long after this picture was taken - no idea where she is now) is on 3rd cornet. Horn players are Iain Fleming (still there), Alex Vidler (recently retired from playing after 50 years of unbroken service and a possible record 15 Scottish Championship victories) and Michael Marzella (who has conducted a number of bands in recent years), and the visible bass players are John Lambie (now retired) and Bobby Hendrie (still doing gala days and rugby internationals!).

The band was conducted by Major Peter Parkes and we won the test-piece part of the contest playing Freedom by Hubert Bath. This was the second of a hat-trick of wins from 1984 to 86 - the only band ever to do so at that contest. The last one was held in 1992 and the trophy is still in Whitburn bandhall. Strangely, despite dominating the hymn-tune and test-piece sections at the contest during the period, Whitburn never won the march contest after 1981. Much to the amusement of the other competing bands at the last contest in 1992, the band drew number one in the march contest and the rainstorm started almost precisely at the same moment as Viva Birkenshaw, ending as the band played its last note. It stayed dry for the rest of the day and it was a rather damp Whitburn Band that won the test-piece section with An Epic Symphony by Percy Fletcher. I still remember the immortal words of Peter Parkes, who said: "My suit cost more than the bloody first prize!" He was probably right!


Comments welcome on any of the photographs, or anything you have to say about the history of bands in Scotland and you may like to add to our collection of photographs. e.mail these will all be passed to Alan McLaren. Look out for more


20101109105300.jpg - History Auctermuchty Band
Photo 1  Auchtermuchty Band about to set off for an engagement in a horse drawn brake. The photo dates from the early years of the Twentieth Century.

20101109105403.jpg - History 2 Elgin Area Band
Photo 2 The identity of this band is unknown although it is thought to be from the Elgin area. From the style of the uniforms, the photo appears to date from the 1920's/1930's. Can anyone help to identify this band?

20101109105503.jpg - History 3 Newmains at Bellway
Photo 3  Hutchison Coaches (Newmains) Band pictured with adjudicator Roy Newsome after winning the Bellway Contest. This contest was staged in Callendar Park, Falkirk during the 1980's. Where is the Belway Trophy now? if you know, get in touch.

Comment from Kenny Crookston - Subj: Newmains pic on website

Taken in 1985. Couldn't be 1984 as Whitburn won it that year (and that was the first one at Callander Park). Couldn't have been 1986 or later, as Chic Cullen had left Newmains by then. Mrs Crookston in the middle standing beside Roy Newsome! Whitburn didn't compete that year as Denis Slimmon had died on the previous Thursday, but we did compete at Edinburgh on the Saturday (and won!).

Bellway trophy was first presented at the Radio Clyde Band of the Year Contest in January 1983 at Falkirk Town Hall. Whitburn won against Kilmarnock and Dalmellington in the Final, these three selected after all the top section bands (15 in those days) had done a recording session the previous summer. Judged by Harry Mortimer. All the players in the winning band got a very nice crystal bell! No idea where the trophy is now, but somebody must have it in their trophy cabinet.


Comments welcome on any of the above photographs, or anything you have to say about the history of bands in Scotland and you may like to add to our collection of photographs. e.mail these will all be passed to Alan McLaren. Look out for more




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