Market Lavington Museum

Lavington Band – 1880s

It is always good to report on successful new events and schemes in our villages – like the Lavington Community Band who have now performed for us for two successive Christmases. One might call this band a revival organisation. We had a fifty year gap without a local wind band.

Of course, music never died. We know that music has been an important part of village life for centuries but fashions and habits change. The ‘traditional’ church organ is really a Victorian innovation. Before that motley crews of varied musicians played the music at church services. Perhaps Market Lavington Band grew out of such musicians, displaced by the arrival of the organ in church.

This photo, not the best in quality, shows that we had  a band in the 1880s.

Lavington Band in the 1880s

Lavington Band in the 1880s

We have this picture dated at 1886 and the location is the grounds of Clyffe Hall. This band seems to have five cornet players and an assorted collection of other horns. There are a couple of drummers and one chap may have an accordion.  The men look to be small in stature – perhaps no surprise as the average height of UK men has increased by about four inches since this photo was taken.

Unfortunately, we can’t name any of the men – not even the one (third from left, back row) who has been marked with an X.

And we can only guess at  the colour of the uniforms. Here at the museum we imagine them as dark blue with gold braid – but that could be completely wrong.

These days, of course, the band is very different. It has woodwind instruments and not just the brass ones and most of all, the number of potential players has doubled because women are just as welcome to play as men.