The Band was formed around 1840 as the St Matthews church band. Originally a pipe & drum band, their purpose was to lead church parades on Sundays, but over time the band evolved to become a semi-military band and later a brass band.
In 1844 the Band was adopted by the Stretford Council and became the Stretford Civic Band but rehearsed in the church hall and kept close connections with the church. At the council’s request, the name changed to Stretford Band.
The Band’s name changed twice after that, first to Stretford Prize Band when they started to win contests and then Stretford Silver Band when they acquired a full set of silver-plated instruments, some of which are still in use.
Stretford Band 1935
Stretford Pageant in 1969
Our president is MP for Stretford and Urmston, Kate Green.
Band Manager: John Quirk
Treasurer: Paula Bygrave
Librarian: Marj Howard
Properties: Beth Cooke
The Band was in great demand and among many other engagements, was engaged to play in the first coach on the first train to run from Manchester to Altrincham, as reported at the time in the Manchester Evening News.
Conductors, during the period the Band contested, were well known, Fred Mortimer of Fodens, Tom Himes, JA Greenwood (composer) and Herbert Brooks among others. The longest serving resident MDs were probably James Rogerson, Ray Harris and Don Shepperd. Don originally joined the band on trombone and moved to cover for MD Wilf Walker when he was taken ill. Ray and Don each served for over 25 years. Don’s descendant Duncan currently plays solo cornet with the band, and his own son is carrying on the family banding tradition. Banding really does run in families. Please see the section on Musical Directors for more recent information.
In 1919 they played at the first Stretford Pageant which they did annually until 1933, when the job was split in half with the “other” band, one playing for the crowning ceremony and one for the parade which continued until 1982 when the pageant finished.
On 16th September 1933 the Band played at the opening of the new Stretford Town Hall, which was also the day that Stretford received its new charter. Unfortunately, some of the players were the worse for drink which led to arguments about a total ban on alcohol and at the AGM shortly after, some abstainers walked out. They formed the Stretford Temperance Band and later became the Stretford Borough Band and then Sale Band. The original band changed name to Stretford Old Band to denote that they were the first and original Stretford Band! They had quite a successful competition record under James Rogerson. If you are interested to know a little bit more about him, please take a look at the news section for October 2017.
It’s worth noting that Sale Band is no longer a Temperance band and that band members from both bands enjoy a friendly and collaborative relationship, and often have a drink together.
The standard of the Band has always been apparent in the fact that they have won many prizes over the years, although currently the Band is non-competing.
When the Band left St Matthews (exact date unknown) it moved to the hayloft over a barn at the back of the Bull Inn, which once repaired and decorated was the band room for many years until the barn became due for demolition. The pub has also since been demolished. The Band moved in to Sale Sports Club and has enjoyed a long and ongoing association with the club, over more than 30 years.
The Band changed its name back to Stretford Band in 2012.
In February 2017 the band relocated to Sevenways Methodist Church in Stretford after Sale Sports Club announced a redevelopment. The band had been looking at a return to Stretford for a while, especially as the Sale venue also hosted Sale Brass. We are looking forward to being part of the Sevenways community, and to building up our profile in Stretford again!