On Saturday 7th December members and visitors were treated to Christmas cake, cheese, mince pies and a hot drink. A surprise was being greeted by a medley of tunes from the Crofton Silver Band. We knew that Roger Hine, chairman and concert secretary, would be there to tell us about the history and progress made by the band since 1873 but the presence of the band was an extra delight. Its first recording was made in 1895 while fully decked out in uniform with John Stead as its first conductor.
Roger then informed us of how by the 1930s the band practiced at the Royal Oak pub, which is still there opposite Crofton Academy.
It disbanded from 1939 to 1945 because of the war. However it was discovered that on starting up again a number of instruments were either missing or damaged. The National Coal Board helped by starting to sponsor the band and by 1955 was renamed the Nostell Priory Colliery Band.
When the pit closed in 1993 the band was renamed the Crofton Silver Band.
An exchange arrangement was created with a German band from Hagen in the Ruhr valley in 1971. Roger would take a break from his talk while the band played a number of carols and Christmas songs in which we were all invited to sing along.
A feature of the composition of the band over the years, was that often members would often come from the same family. This would mean that a father and his son could be playing or siblings from the same family. Some had a fifty-year family link with the band.
Venues varied from local working men’s clubs to the Great Yorkshire Show and from Crofton High to the park bandstand in Filey
The band also entered a number of contests, often winning prizes at a Yorkshire regional level to National ones.
The talk and music provided, proved highly enjoyable, and members had a chance to look at a display of photos and books that covered the band’s history with a variety of photos and books.
The next meeting will be February 1st when John Rumsby will provide a talk called ‘Yours for Eternity.’
On November 2nd the guest speaker was Andrea Hetherington, an independent researcher and writer with a particular interest in the First World War. Her talk was based on her published book with the above title.
She took one aspect with reference to what happened to wives whose husband had died in the war and issues of compensation and widow’s pension. At first the government and society did not react well.
There were no pensions available to widows during the Victorian period. Only in the Boer war was some compensation paid to some widows.
There were over 200,000 widows from WW1 and it wasn’t until 1914 that some received a sliding scale of pensions from Officers to privates ie the latter got a lot less than officers. Initially it was a charity organisation, Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Family Association, that helped with some compensation. By 1916 under the Liberal government, a Ministry of Pensions was set established.
Using one family as an example, Andrea explained how the death of a husband killed in action affected a family. Private Joseph Lamb a miner from Northumberland had a wife and four children. The criteria that was used to determine if a pension could be awarded depended on several things eg was the soldier married at the time of enlistment; was death due to war service; did death occur overseas or at home. Again, a widow could lose out if her husband had a criminal record or if she had taken up with another man and remarried. Widows who remarried got a lump sum of one year’s pension and then nothing.
There were charities that did help such as the Salvation Army, Poor Law Guardians and Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Family Association. It wasn’t until 1919 that the British Legion was formed and with the pressure on the relevant ministry from these organisations a widow might receive a decent pension.