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The Britannia Silver Prize Band

Feast Day at The Cross in the early 1900s Britannia Silver Prize Band at event
A festival event at The Cross in the early 1900s. (Right) Britannia Band members playing and watching

The band's growing reputation is evident in this advertisement
for a concert at Bedford from the Bedfordshire Times and
Independent, 16 April 1892

The following extracts were taken from the Northampton Mercury in 1895:

26 July 1895 BAND CONTEST

At the Hucknall Horticultural Show and Band Contest on Tuesday, Burton Latimer Britannia secured first prize in the waltz competition, beating Hucknall Temperance.


The showery weather on Saturday afternoon greatly mitigated against the success of the 6th annual brass band contest promoted under the auspices of the Burton Latimer Britannia Band. Although fine in the morning, the sky became overcast soon after noonday, frequent heavy storms falling during the afternoon and evening, but despite this drawback, there was a very fair assemblage of music-loving inhabitants from the surrounding districts.

Prizes to the amount of £21 had been offered by the committee, and out of the six entries, all with the exception of Northampton Temperance put in an appearance, the competing bands therefore being as follows: Rothwell Town, Kettering United, Burton Latimer Town, Finedon Old, and Finedon New Town.

The bands first met at the Cross, and marched to the Hall field, where the contest was held in the following order: Rothwell Town, Burton Latimer Town, Finedon Old, Finedon New Town, and Kettering United. The judge, Mr Geo Hames of Nottingham, having been ensconced in his private tent, the bands mounted the stand and played the quickstep (own choice) as follows: 1 Kettering United (conductor, Mr W Shaw), “Albion”, 2 Burton Latimer (conductor, Mr A Quincey), “En Route”. 3 Finedon Old (conductor, Mr W Reynolds). “Viva Pettee”. 4 Finedon New Town (conductor, Mr M de Bank), “Hero of the South”. 5 Rothwell Town (conductor, Mr W Reynolds, “Hilderthorpe.” The test piece was Round”s “Aurora” quadrilles, for which the bands played in the following order: 1 Rothwell, 2 Kettering, 3 Finedon Old, 4 Burton Latimer, 5 Finedon New Town.

As soon as the contest was concluded, the crowd eagerly awaited the judge's decision. Mr Hamer, who was received with applause, said there had been some very equal playing, especially in the march, in which competition he had had some difficulty in awarding the prizes. He then gave his decision as follows: March: First No 3 Finedon Old, second No 1 and 5 equal (Kettering United and Rothwell). In the Selection he awarded first prize to No 1 band (Rothwell), second to No 5 (Finedon New), third to No 3 (Finedon Old), fourth to No 2 (Kettering United).

In consequence of the sodden condition of the ground the dancing was adjourned to the band-room. All the arrangements were admirably carried out by the following committee: Messrs A Fox, J Shrives, C Lee, H Wallis, J Meads, A Buckby (treasurer), and H Whitney (secretary). Mesdames Perkins and Baker supplied refreshments, the arrangements in this department being carried out by Messrs W Meads, F Baker, W Loakes and J Perkins.

July 1905

This photo may - ironically - have been taken outside the band room at the Band Club! The room was demolished when the club was extended in the 1960s. The big bass drum has on it "Feb 1901", which may possibly be when the band was formed. It appears that the fortunes of the band were dependent upon membership which seemed to decline for a period in the late 1890's. This led to a dispute between the band members and Burton Latimer Working Men's Club which is detailed here. The original newspaper article is dated as 1901, which coincides with the reformation of the band.

Britannia Silver Prize Band - July 1905
Back row: Jas Meads (Soprano), A Ambler*, H Ambler, F Bradbury, R Reynolds,
F Patrick (Secretary), J Northern, A Whittemore.
Middle row: E Dent* (Solo Baritone), F Capps, Jesse Meads, H Styles*, E Ambler* (Solo Horn),
W Henman (Solo Trombone), T Abbott*, F Mason.
Front row: F Baker (Solo Euphonium), T Miller, P Shrives*, J Shrives* (Band Master & Solo Cornet),
W Meads*, G Lines, F Whittemore, P Northern*

* Reynolds Bandsmen [Transcriber's note: we do not know the significance of this]

1905 Commemoration Photo

1905 was an extremely successful year for the band. Their record was: Competed at five contests: four First Prizes, one Third, also six Specials and The Langford Silver Challenge Cup. The photo below was taken to commemorate the success.

Commemorative photo of Britannia Silver Prize Band - 1905
Back row: James Meads (Soprano), A Ambler, H Ambler, F Bradbury,
F Patrick (secretary), R Reynolds, F Capps.
Middle row: P Northern, E Dent (Solo Baritone), F Whittemore, F Baker (Solo Euphonium),
H Henman, E Ambler (Solo Horn), A Whittemore, J Northern.
Front row: Jesse Meads, W Meads, W Henman (Solo Trombone),
J W Shrive (Bandmaster & Solo Cornet), T Abbott, F Mason, P Shrive, T Miller.


On August 7th 1911, the band competed at a contest in Spalding and won two Firsts. It will be noted that new young members had been recruited. This is commonoplace in the brass band world - there always has to be a replenishment of youthful talent. As this was not an official portrait photo, not all the names are known. Those given below were derived from comparisons with the 1905 listings.

Britannia Silver Prize Band - Spalding, August 1911
Back row: ?, ?, W Henman, E Dent, ?, ?
Middle row: ?, ?, ?, F Whittemore, ?, ?
Front row: ?, J Meads, J W Shrive, F Bradbury, ?, P Shrive
Seated on grass: ?, ?

The Britannia Band entertains the crowd durung celebrations for George V coronation, July 1911

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