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Transcribed from the Northampton Mercury by John Meads
The Burton Latimer

Band Contest Riot

Burton Latimer Britannia Band
The Brittania Band a few years after the riotous contest which was being held to raise funds to buy
these instruments.

Northampton Mercury Friday 12 Sept 1890


The Burton Latimer band contest, which closed the feast week on Saturday, was accompanied by some disgraceful and extremely unpleasant incidents. Early in 1889 the Britannia Band was started, and the committee arranged this competition for the benefit of the Instrument Fund was held the Hall field, jointly lent by the Rev.H. Harpur and Mr. C. Barlow, and five bands entered—Rushden Temperance, Kettering Town, Earls Barton Old, Kettering Rifles, and Rothwell Town. The first mentioned did not turn up, and it was over the second named that the bother arose. Instead of being conducted by Mr J. Gladney, their official conductor, Kettering Town Band wished to be led by Mr. Randolph Ryan, his place of cornet soloist being taken by Mr J Billam of the Kingston Mills Band. The other bands all protested against that arrangement, and decided not to play if it were allowed. An appeal was made to the committee as to the meaning of rules two and three of the code under which the contest was conducted. This ran thus: " Each performer must be a   BONA FIDE MEMBER OF THE BAND, and have played regularly with the band 'for not less than three months prior the contest, and each band will be allowed one professional musician; such professional may conduct and play."  The members of the three dissenting bands urged that the professional in the band must conduct, and the committee, with the prospect of a competition with only one band in it they did otherwise, decided to uphold the claim of the majority The judge, Mr. Howard Lees, of Delph, near Oldham afterwards consulted on the point, remarked that although the rule was ambiguous, in his opinion the committee's action was the right one. The rule could be read in the sense the Kettering Town Band evidently took it but he thought no professional should under it be allowed amongst the ordinary players. The three hands who lodged the objection were willing to play if Mr. Billam would assume the conductorship; but it was stated he was unused to the task. When the ruling of the committee became known some hundreds of Kettering people surrounded the committee tent, and a lot of GROANING AND HOOTING was indulged in. An attempt was made to let the tent down upon the committee within, and at one time it looked though actual personal violence was imminent.

The Kettering Town Band later on formed up, and marched from the field playing the well-known hymn tune “Edwinstone," and followed by an indignant and sympathetic crowd. Having escorted the disqualified band to the gate the rougher portion of the sympathisers returned to the ring, where the contest was to be. There the Kettering Rifles were just beginning to play the test piece “Lyric Garland." About 150 youths at once posted themselves between the judge's tent and the band stand and kept continuous run of hissing, groaning, cheering, and caterwauling, which did immense credit to their lungs. Of course it was quite impossible adjudicate and at length a telegram was sent to Kettering for squad of police. In the meantime, spite the presence of couple of constables, redoubtable hobbledehoys managed to UPSET THE JUDGE'S TENT and attempted to intimidate him and members of the committee into the withdrawal of their odious verdict. They also attacked the band stand when the Kettering Rifles left it, and partly pulled it down. At last the additional police arrived, and at once the most prominent of the disturbers mysteriously disappeared.
The contest then proceeded, Rothwell playing first in order, Kettering Rifles second, and Earl's Barton Old third. The result of the contest was that this order of priority was exactly reversed. The Judge, before giving his decision, alluded to the bad conduct of a section of the visitors that day, and hoped such behaviour would never occur again at any contest in the district. He then declared the order of merit of the bands:-

Earls Barton Old 1
Kettering Rifles 2
Rothwell Town 3

The composition of the bands was as follow :—

Earl's Barton Old. —Soprano, J. Dayton; solo cornets, Owen (conductor), J. K. Skinner, F. Miller, and T. Flowers; repiano cornets, F. White and G. Cross; second cornets, F. and M. Line: third cornets, C. Knight and W. Harris; solo horn, C. Cross; first tenor horn, J. Miller; second tenor horn, F. Haines; third Mills; first baritone, F. Goode; second baritone, W. White ; solo euphonium, A. Dayton; second euphonium, W. Sheffield; solo trombone, A. Cook; second trombone, W. Bullock; bass trombone, E. White : Eb basses, A. White and H. Line; double basses, C. Mills and F. Kiddie.

Kettering Rifles.—Soprano, W. Tingle ; cornets, A. Owen (conductor), T. Seddon, S. Patrick, F. Harrison, F. Tingle, T. A. Smith, R. Pearson, Bob Pearson ; fugel horns, F. Evans and H. Higgins tenor horns, H. Martin, J. Seddon, and J. Farren; baritones, F. Driver and H. Mobbs; trombones,T. Kilsby, E. Miller. F. Wilford; bass trombone, F. Loasby ; euphoniums, T. York and A. Berwick ; bombardons, A. Evans and H. Bailey ; B b bass, T. Wilford monster bass, W. Morris.

Rothwell Town.—Soprano, W. Sumpter; solo cornet, G. F. Birkinshaw (conductor); solo cornet, F. Boswell and T. Chambers ; first repiano, C. Butlin and H. Sumpter; second, J. Boswell; third, W. Murkitt; double bass, T. Pinnock B b, bass A. George; E b, G. Cattle and T. Baxter trombone, J. Pinnock; second, T. Gamble; solo trombone, H. Boswell; solo euphonium, F. Harris; euphonium, T. Hill; solo horn, F. Butlin; first horn, J. Scarborough second, W. Speechley; third, T. Bollard.


 Simultaneously with the contest programme of flat races was brought off, with Mr. G. Smith as handicapper and starter; Mr. C. Barlow as judge; Mr. Hobbs referee; and Messrs. J. Walks, J. Meads, J. Darby, E. Lord, F. Chamberlain, and H. Mason, committee.

The results were : 120 Yards Handicap Flat Race.—Heat 1:1 W. Sturman. Burton, 12 start. Heat 2: IF. Moore, Finedon 10½  Heat 3: I G. King, Irchester, 9. Heat 4: I T. Capp (aged 15), Rothwell, 14. Heat 5: I W. Knight, Kettering, 7. Heat 6 : 1 W. Richardson, Finedon, 12. Heat 7:1 F. Houghton, Irthlingborough, 9. Heat 8: 1 A. Blunds,8½. Heat 1 W. Draper, Kettering, 8. Heat 10 :1 W. Baker, Northampton, 8. Heat 11: I F. Coles, Wellingborough, 10½. Second round. Heat 1: 1 F. Moore. Heat 2: I F. Houghton. Heat 3:1 W. Draper. Final: I W. Draper, 2 F. Houghton, 3 F. Moore. Half-mile Sensation Handicap.—l  A. Tompkins, Finedon, 95 yards start; 2 W. Brown (15), Rothwell, 130; 3 W. Sturman, Burton, 100; 4 D. Smith, Kettering. 24  runners.  250 Yards Boys' Race. —Confined to the village, for boys not exceeding 15 years. Seven yards allowed for each year under that age. 1 G. Monday (13), 7 yards start; 2 A. Keach (10), 28; 3T. Miller (14).

After the sports each of the bands played Round's " Summer Regions" collection of waltzes.

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