4. “Coal – Night Signals” – 1st Trombone



Many communities remained intrinsically linked to their local industries (such as coal, cotton and ship building) during the interwar period – a legacy of the Industrial Revolution. Families, friends and working life were all interwoven. Businesses and their owners supported ‘worthwhile pastimes’ for their workers, including a ‘works’ brass band. Aside from the military, the largest sponsor of brass music was the coal industry, supporting over 530 bands; coal and banding are synonymous. The industry’s battle for survival led to repeated strike action during the interwar years but ultimately the flowing tide of deindustrialisation would have a devastating impact on their communities. The coal industry was a life force for many however some of the most established bands started to fall apart.

There was a whispering in my hearth,
A sigh of the coal,
Grown wistful of a former earth
It might recall.

Miners (Excerpt) – Wilfred Owen, 1918

Honour and magnify this man of men
Who keeps a wife and seven children on £2.10
Paid weekly in an envelope
And yet has never abandoned hope.

Alfred the Great – Stevie Smith, 1937