Brass Bands Archive Update (May 2024)

As you all know from our previous update, in 2018 custodianship of the National Brass Band Archive was transferred to Brass Bands England (BBE). The Archive is now known as the Brass Bands Archive.

Over the years we have managed to get ad-hoc funding to employ a number of archive professionals to list, and catalogue the material which has then been transferred to Heritage Quay, the University of Huddersfield Archive. BBE were able to create a catalogue of records which can now be accessed via Heritage Quay’s website –

Brass Bands England applied to the National Heritage Lottery fund to assist in funding for the Archive. The Archive needed an archivist to finish cataloguing the sheet music, deal with new donations, and continue more in-depth cataloguing of the material as well as raising the profile of the Archive as an amazing resource through outreach.  In January 2024, I was hired as the Brass Bands Archivist on a fixed term till January 2025, and I began to finish the cataloguing of the original archive, sort donations that had been saved in the time between archivists, and assist with finding and sharing all the stories that are held within the Archive.

Within a short period of time myself, along with a number of loyal volunteers have successfully finished cataloguing the sheet music which included scores, and parts for brass bands. Now all that is left is a number of boxes of beautiful manuscript, and typescript scores which will be catalogued by the end of the year. We have been able to catalogue some significant donations, such as manuscript scores from the late 1800s from the Belle Vue contests in Manchester, and fantastic programmes from Brass Band competitions which fill gaps in our collection.

We are very grateful to the National Heritage Lottery Fund and Scottish Power for the funding we have received as it is allowing us to do significant outreach work to tell the stories in the Archive.  As well as hiring myself as the Brass Band Archivist, we have also managed to hire our projects coordinator Sue to assist in all the exciting projects we are undertaking.

We have been able to start some great projects including the Brass Band Archive podcast! In each episode, we dive into Brass Bands England’s exciting Brass Band Archive and the stories within it.

We have partnered with Shape North to deliver outreach to schools in Huddersfield. Children will learn all about the Archive, and Brass Banding through sessions in school, and visits to the Archive during Brass Bands Week in July.

We have set up a Brass Band Archive instagram page, which shares the records held within the Archive and keeps everyone up to date with all things Brass Band Archive –

There are a lot more exciting things to come as we catalogue more donations, and delve deeper into the stories that are held within the Archive. We are planning a couple of exhibitions so my advice would be to watch this space, as you wouldn’t want to miss out!

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