Past Concerts and Events - 1880s

1848 Date Event Time
  1848 Mention of bands in Gravesend in a lyric "Where Can We Go This Year (A Lay of the Season)" found in 'A Sketch from the West-End' in "Sketches of London Life and Character, by Albert Smith et. al., [1849]" later editions entitled "Gavarni in London: sketches of life and character".


I've walked upon the Ramsgate sands-
I've seen the Isle of Wight,
And nodded to the Gravesend bands
That play from morn till night.
And Guernsey is too far away,
And Brighton is too near,
And dreary Worthing's like a tomb-
Where can we go this year?
1880 Date Event Time
  1880s Band established in 1880 (or perhaps 1879 - see 07/01/1885 & 13/12/1890) .
There are earlier mentions of bands and Gravesend which have been noted here for interest and future investigation. Some may relate to entertainments in Rosherville Gardens, Northfleet (1837-1901 and 1903-1911) which became a favourite destination for thousands of Londoners.
Other bands also existed in the area at the time - Gravesend Temperance Band, Gravesend Excelsior Band, Gravesend Drum & Fife band have also been mentioned in local papers.
Additional bands which have existed in the area over the years include Northfleet Silver Band.
Details of concerts by the band before the 1970s are limited. Unfortunately early band account books, which would have provided some pointers to non-charity concerts simply by recording a payment, were mislaid during a bandroom move a number of years ago. Concerts listed are from personal memories, the chance appearance of a document detailing the event (Local paper cuttings, old programmes, Gravesend Corporation minutes etc.).
If you have details of concerts or events relating to the band please contact us.
Sat 10/01/1880 First mention of a possible band for Gravesend in a letter to The Reporter:
Having seen in your valuable paper a brief notice of a brass band having made its appearance in public on one or two evenings, ... I believe the object is to make a town band, and if successful, they deserve much commendation for their spirit, which I trust the public generally will appreciate. In many towns of England there are town bands, ...
Sat 17/01/1880 In a letter to the editor of the Gravesend Reporter:
Sir,—In answer to your correspondent's letter respecting a town band, I beg to state that there is one now formed. The band numbers at present fifteen members, who have been practising for the past three months at the Darnley Arms, Trafalgar Road, under Mr. Barnard, who is conductor, and it will be known as the Gravesend brass band. It is the intention of the band to play during the summer, when we hope to meet with the approval of the public, both in regard to patronage and subscriptions. I must state the members have been at a great expense in purchasing instruments, and subscriptions are earnestly needed to make the band efficient. I think, like your correspondent, that a town like Gravesend should have a town band; and I can duly endorse the opinion expressed by him, that a member of the town council, or some other influential person, should ventilate the question of having a town band. Trusting you will insert this in your next, I remain, yours truly, R. Barnard.
Sat 14/02/1880 ... musically-inclined young men are welcome to join our band, and can receive the benefit of gratuitous instruction from our excellent bandmaster, so that I fail to see the use or 00011hi011 for a so-called town band. I am, sir, yours sincerely, Charles Stuart, Capt …  
  05/1880 ... principal streets of the town, and were listened to by hundreds of people, the general impression being that, with a little more steady practice, they will be able to hold their own against the other bands of music in the town and neighbourhood.  
Sat 03/07/1880 Notice to the Public:
The Gravesend Town Brass Band Band will play on the Clarendon Hotel lawn every Wednesday evening in July, from 7 till 9 o'clock
1882 Date Event Time
  05/1882 Promenade Concerts.—Weather permitting, the Gravesend Town Band will play in the Terrace-gardens each Wednesday evening during the summer.  
  08/1882 Gravesend Town Brass Band Band heading a procession from Meopham in traps.  
1883 Date Event Time
Sat 28/07/1883 Gravesend Temperance Brass Band were arranging a Bazaar in early September and advertised for articles for sale or contributions. The band, who were based at the "Port of London Temperance Hotel", appears to have been active between 1883 and 1892 and a new Gravesend Temperance Band made an appearance in 1899.  
1884 Date Event Time
Thu 29/05/1884 Played selections of music at a grand bazaar, fund raising for the British and Foreign Sailors Society in Gravesend Town Hall. The two day event raised over £100.
Band of the Training Ship Cornwall also played (either Wed 28th or Thur 29th May).
1885 Date Event Time
Wed 07/01/1885 Gravesend Town Brass Band annual dinner of members and friends.
Nearly fifty people attended at the Band's headquarters, Darnley Arms, Trafalgar-road and the Mayor (T. F. Wood, Esq.) presided.
One of the toasts was "The Army, Navy, and Reserve Forces". Sergeant E. Driver (1st K.A.V.), in responding, referred to the Egyptian Campaign, hoping that the mission of Sir Garnet Wolseley in relieving that true, brave, and nobel soldier—General Gordon—would be crowned with success, and if they returned to England he hoped General Gordon would disembark at Gravesend where, he was sure, the inhabitants would give him a most hearty reception. [General Gordon was killed in the siege of Khartoum less than 2 weeks later on 26/01/1885, Wolsely's expedition arriving too late to save him.]
The mayor commented that the band members must have been put to much expense for their instruments and uniform and noted that they were not provided with clothing like the newly-constituted Borough Fire Brigade.
Mr. S. Tunstall briefly reviewed the band's progress since its establishment. He said it was about six years ago when the movement was first started [early 1879], and at that time a few members banded themselves together, and by payment of a weekly contribution funds were provided with which to buy instruments. Time past on, and their numbers were strengthened, and a musical instructor was engaged. The band then made its appearance in public, and the organisers, at the present time, must be truly gratified to find the advancement made and success achieved. He also thanked Mr. Elford who had advanced the money with which to buy the new uniform.
From the balance sheet:
Brought forward, £18 8s. 8½d.; cash at bank, 13s 1d.; members' contributions, £56 5s. 3d.; services rendered, £10 11s.; subscriptions, £54 5s. 11d. Making a total of £120 3s. 11½d. The expenditure was—Mr. Allen (for tuition), £28 15s.; hire of Terrace Garden, £8. hiring practice room, £6; gold braid on tunics, £4 2s. 10d.; secretary's salary and postage, £4 3s.; stationery and music, £3 5s. 11d.; making, with sundry smaller items, a total of £102 10s. 1d., thus leaving a balance to the good of £17 13s. 10½d.
During the evening there were a number of songs given in good style and the mayor gave a donation of £2 2s. to the band fund, and was loudly cheered as he left the room.
Wed 10/06/1885 Crystal Palace - Great Sunday School Fete and Concert. Gravesend Town Band is listed amongst the paricipants, as is Gravesend Gordon Choir. 18.00 -
Mon 14/09/1885 The Gravesend Town Band played onboard the Koh-I-Noor passenger steamship, a paddlesteamer, which serviced the London to Clacton-on-Sea route daily. This was as part of the first annual benefit for Captain J.R.Holland, a native of Gravesend. It was reported that at one point "... Gravesend Town Band played, "Hearts of Oak", "A Life on the Ocean Wave," "The Bay of Biscay," and other nautical airs ..."  
1888 Date Event Time
Tue 14/02/1888 Annual supper at the Darnley Arms, Trafalgar road.
Around 40 members and friends attended. Host Mr. J. Elford provided an excellent repast, the room was tastefully decorated with banerettes, evergreens &c. and the brass and other instruments of the members were displayed on the walls.
Bandsmaster Mr. J.Ward sent a letter apologising for his absence, which was unfortunate as the members had got a very nice present for him of a silver plated fish carver and fork, with ivory handles, enclosed in a morocco case, on the lid of which was the following inscription: — "Presented to Mr. J. Ward, by members of the Gravesend Town Band. February 14th, 1888". Band chairman was Mr. W. Raspison, treasurer Mr. E. Elfod and secretary Mr. E. Dennis.
The balance sheet showed that the band started 1887 with £20 18s. 11d. In hand, and during the year subscriptions were collected amounting to £37 9s. 3d., while members contributed £19 15s. 6d., and, together with smaller sums received for services rendered, the total reciepts were £80 14s. 8d. After paying the various expenses incurred, a balance in hand still remains of £21 10s. 3d., showing an increase of 11s. 4d. on last year's amount.
After supper there were a number of toasts including "The Queen and Royal Family" and "Success to the Gravesend Town Band".
During the evening, and at the end of the night, a number of songs were sung by band members.
Thu 24/05/1888 Played for dancing at Chatham Recreation Ground as part of the Ancient Order of Comical Fellows athletic fete in celebration of the Queen’s Birthday.
Date (Queen Victoria's birthday) may not be accurate for this event e.g. 02/06/1888
1889 Date Event Time
Sat 23/03/1889 Advertisement in "The Era" weekly paper:
Wanted, for Gravesend Town Band, First and Second Violin, Flute, Harp, Basso. Share till Whit Monday, then Salary Three Months. Secretary, 15, Glover-street, Chatham
First reference to orchestral instruments, these do not fit with the Town Brass Band name, howeve there appears to have been a larger musical organisation sharing the name.
Mon 27/05/1889 One of five bands playing for a procession from Gravesend railway station to the Bat and Ball Ground as part of the Annual demonstration of the Kent and Sussex Labourers' Union. About 5,000 people attended the fete, unfavourable weather prevented planned cycling events and a public meeting, however other entertainments delighted the crowds through the afternoon and evening. 12.00