History of the Police Band
(Stockport Borough Police Band circa 1955)
The Band was first formed in 1952 as The Stockport Police band. In 1967 Police boundaries changed and the Band became the Band of the Cheshire Constabulary.
Mr Charles Holt, the Band's first Musical Director led the band for over 30 years leading it to many successes in the contest field. Sadly he passed away in 2006. A great loss to the band movement and to the Constabulary. He is sadly missed by all who knew him.
The band was initially based at Lee Street Police Station, and at that time consisted wholly of serving Police officers who were given time off from Police duties to attend band.
The Watch Committee of Stockport Police deemed the Band to be a valid public relations venture and this ethos continued as it became the Cheshire Constabulary band on amalgamation.
From 1971 the band became competetive and won minor prizes on BBC Manchester 'Blow For Blow' radio contests and Belle Vue contests. One of the memorable concerts with the band was in August 1971 when the band played with Fairey Engineering Band under Harry MORTIMER.
During the period from 1971 to 1973 the then Chief Constable, Bill KELSALL organised church services during the summer all around the old County of Cheshire including Birkenhead and Wallasey (Now Merseyside). Unlike recent times the summers were notably hot which was of particular s relevance as the band then wore the "old style " black 'dog-collar' tunic emblazoned with silver braid.
In 1973 the qualified for London in the 1973 finals, it was announced that a further amalgamation would take place and Stockport would be absorbed into what is now known as Greater Manchester Police. As there was already a Manchester Police Band which was a military style band it was decided that the brass band had to go.
Fortunately thanks to the efforts of Charles HOLT permission was granted for a new Cheshire Police Band to be formed which would be based at the Force Training Centre, Crewe.
The first rehearsal of the " new " band was held in February 1974. Several players from the "old band" had transferred across to the new Cheshire band including Jim Genders, Geoff Hall, Mike Greaves, Ernie Nixon, Heather Kilshaw,Joyce HOLT,David Owen, Joe Moores and last but not least Colin lloyd on Bb bass. It also gained others such as a certain Cyril Grocott and Colin Stewart.
Following the latest amalgamation Cheshire had lost Birkenhead, Wallasey, Stockport and most of Tameside. We did, however, gain Warrington and Widnes.
In 1977 the new Chief Constable, George Fenn offered the services of the band for any village celebrations between May and August to help mark the Queens Jubilee. That year over EIGHTY applications were received, and honoured with the band playing up to three venues per day in village squares, village halls etc.
(Photo taken in 1981 at the old Force Training Centre)
From 1979 to 1982 the band fought its way up to the then 2nd section taking two London finals, one at the Royal Albert Hall. Each time the band qualified it did do by gaining 1st places by three points. It was also at this time we made our first recording. "Out of the Blue" which was recorded at Strawberry studios in Stockport.
In the mid 1980s the band continued it's community work, and in addition started to attend the famous Whit Friday March Contests. A tradition whic it maintains to this day. The band also attended the wonderful isle of Man Brass Band Festival on no less than 4 occasions winning its section on each visit.
Charlie Holt the MD of the band eventually hung up his baton in the late 1990s after over 30 years service as MD of the band. Sadly is passed away in 2006.
He was suceeded by several MDs such as the wonderful cornetist Jim Davis and the equally excellent trombone player, Nick Hudson.
The longest serving MDs since Charlie Holt is our current MD, David Woollam but it is unlikely anyone will ever exceed the length of service and achievements of Charlie.
The current band are proud to carry on a tradition that has been maintained in Cheshire for so many years.