John Henry Iles, Bristol-born entrepreneur honoured in style
City of Bristol Brass Band performed at the unveiling of a blue plaque to commemorate John Henry Iles. Lord Mayor Councillor Lesley Alexander did the honours at a ceremony in St Andrews Park
John Henry Iles was born in Bristol and the band played at the ceremony outside his matrimonial home on Sunday 29th April. A colourful and diverse entrepreneur, Iles was one time owner of the British Bandsman newspaper, R Smith & Co music publishers and the founder of the National Brass Band Championships. He was also highly successful in the Amusement Park business and became owner of Belle Vue, Manchester and also the British Open Brass Band Championships. It was whilst in Manchester that he fell in love with the sound of a brass band commenting "It is not too much to say that I was positively astounded... I came away from that contest a completely converted enthusiast for their cause". As a result he organised a massed band concert of 10 bands, conducted by Sir Arthur Sullivan, at the Royal Albert Hall in 1900 for veterans of the Boer War. These massed band concerts were to become a much-loved post contest feature of the National Brass Band Championships, which he instigated at Crystal Palace and then moved to the Royal Albert Hall.
Iles had promoted a world tour by the famous old band, Besses o' th' Barn, from Manchester and while with them at Coney Island, New York he bought the UK rights to a dream train which he had built at Blackpool Pleasure Beach. He went on to purchase a small pleasure garden in Margate in which he invested significant sums of money to make Dreamland which has just recently taken on a new lease of life after a successful council - community partnership. The amusement park empire was extensive including many in the UK and also Barcelona, Paris, Berlin, Cairo and St Petersburg.
The ceremony, which was facilitated by the Worshipful Company of Musicians (who award the Iles Medal for services to brass bands), was attended by his grandson and great granddaughter as well as members of Bristol Civic Society who designed the plaque and arranged the installation.
A Blue Plaque in John Henry's memory is being installed in Bristol
The City of Bristol Brass Band are to perform at the unveiling of a blue plaque in honour of one of the most significant figures in brass band history.
John Henry Iles was born in Bristol and the band will be playing at the ceremony outside his matrimonial home on Sunday 29th April. A colourful and diverse entrepreneur, Iles was one time owner of the British Bandsman, R. Smith & Co. and the founder of the National Brass Band Championships. He was also highly successful in the Amusement Park business and became owner of Belle Vue Gardens and Zoo, Manchester and also the British Open Brass Band Championships.
The event takes place on Sun, 29th April at 3pm in St Andrews Park, Sommerville Road, Bishopston.
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After an absence of 3 years, the City of Bristol Brass Band returned to the Gloucestershire Brass Band Association's Entertainment Contest yesterday. The challenge was to play a twenty minute programme to an open adjudication and this year trombone soloist Brett Baker was the man of power.
There were many prizes on offer and we were not disappointed with best soloist given to our soprano cornet player Andy Briggs (who played Live and Let Die), highest 2nd section band and third overall.
Overall results were: 1: Abergavenny; 2: Forest of Dean; 3: City of Bristol; 4: Cinderford; 5: Wotton Silver; 6: Stourport-on-Severn and 7: Pillowell.
City of Bristol headed for the hills last weekend, for the annual Whit Friday march contests. Every year since 1884 the sound of brass music has echoed through the foothills of the West Pennines on Whit Friday, and this year was no exception. The contests saw 133 brass bands and over 3,500 musicians gather from all over the world on the Lancashire/Yorkshire border for an evening of entertainment and music making.
The Band played at five Saddleworth villages to large crowds on a beautiful summer’s evening. Widely regarded as the "greatest free show on earth", thousands of locals and visitors poured onto the sun-filled streets to watch the bands march. The organisers of Greenfield contest, estimated a vast crowd of 4000 people - quite possibly the largest audience the band has ever played to.
Whist on the march, the Band performed the theme tune to Wallace & Gromit, in homage to their home city. The bass drum even featured a Gromit mascot, alongside Shaun the sheep, and Feather’s McGraw – who all came along as support.
The band played consistently well, and even won a prize at Greenfield for their performance of the march ‘Knight Templar’ by composer George Allan (1864 – 1930) written as a tribute to the fearless knights of the Crusades.
Bands from all over the world attend the Whit Friday contests, as there is £60,000 in prize money up for grabs. 2014’s event saw bands attend from Germany, Switzerland, Holland, and amazingly, Neo Brass, a band that had travelled from Japan to take part.
Principal Cornet Steve Ellis said: “Whit Friday is a not-to-be-missed event for any brass band musician, and is one of the biggest events in the brass band calendar. I thoroughly enjoyed the day and it was an honour to represent Bristol in front of such large crowds”.
2nd Horn Player, Emma Metcalfe who organised the trip said: “It was fantastic to take City of Bristol Brass Band to the Whit Friday contests. It is a unique event, and it was the band’s first time. To have come away with a prize shows the band can compete with some of the best brass bands in the country.”
The popular Weston-Super-Mare Own Choice Contest took place at the Winter Gardens, Weston-Super-Mare on Sunday 18th May. The City of Bristol Brass Band were once again there to try for the Second Section title. Also competing in the same section were Avonbank Brass, A.W. Parker (Drybrook), Blaenavon Town, Ebbw Valley Brass and Swindon Pegasus. The adjudicators across all sections were Paul Cosh and Stan Lippeatt, with, for the first time in the contest's history, both in the box at the same time. The contest began at 10.30am with the Fourth Section (4 bands) and moved straight onto the Third Section (8 bands), after which they were presented with their results.
While that was happening, the Band had a rehearsal and final run through under Bryn James, our chosen testpiece being Royal Parks, by George Lloyd.
The Second Section started a little late and was followed by the joint First/Championship Section (5 bands) with our results at the end of the day.