Denton Original Prize Band
Previously the Denton Original Band

The first Denton Brass Band
The origins of a brass band in Denton can be traced back to 1817/18 when a ‘village band’ was formed. This was founded by Joseph Howard, a hatter, and Robert Thorneley, a publican, both of Haughton, at a cost of £210 for instruments and music. These were purchased from Messrs Robert Bradbury, musical instrument makers, of Piccadilly, Manchester, on the 16 September 1818. Initially the band was called the Haughton and Denton Band but this dismayed Dentonians and after some debate the name was changed to the Denton and Haughton Band, sometimes referred to as the Denton and Haughton Old Band or simply the Denton Old Band.

The place of practice chosen was William Linney’s house, the Masons Arms (‘Old Pondicherry’), at Three Lane Ends but in 1837 they moved to the nearby Cock Tavern (now the Cock Hotel) on Two Trees Lane. The first tutor was Thomas Hibbert Beeley, a schoolmaster, and on the 5 November 1818 they celebrated their first anniversary. On the 5 November 1878 the band celebrated its sixtieth birthday at the Cock Tavern.

Denton Original Band and its change of name
The origins of this brass band can be traced back to 1859, or shortly before, when Baxendale's Band was formed. Thomas Baxendale (aka Baxendell, the founder of Alpha Mill) was the patron of this brass band as well as being a generous member of the United Free Methodist Church on Manchester Road. The band quickly became successful, winning brass band competitions across the North West. It attained increasingly high standards of performance under its conductor, Whittam Smith. The first headquarters of the band were at the small works of Thomas Baxendale at the top of Taylor Lane but later it moved to a room at the back of the Bowling Green Inn on Manchester Road and then to its own Band Institute on Ashton Road. At some point Baxendale's Band was divided to form Baxendale’s Works Band and the Denton Original Band but the circumstances in which this occurred are obscure.

The high point of Denton Original Band came in 1900 when it took part in a contest for brass bands from all over Britain and the Colonies. The contest was held at Crystal Palace in London and when news arrived in the hometown that Denton Original Band had won there was much celebrating. The band had won £75 and the 1,000 Guineas Challenge Trophy of the Crystal Palace Band Contest. The trophy was kept in Denton Town Hall but £1,000 had to be pledged by Denton councillors as security. Following this event the band changed its name to the Denton Original Prize Band.

Besides the Denton Original Prize Band, Baxendale's Works Band was active into the 20th century. Another band of note was the Denton Salvation Army Band that was also active into the 20th century.

Left: Baxendale's Works Band, 1926.
Right: Baxendale's Works Band in competion at the
Kings Hall, Belle Vue, Gorton, Manchester, 1920s.
Denton Original Band, 1900. The 1,000 Guineas Challenge Trophy is mounted above the drum.
Denton Original Band outside Denton Town Hall, 1900. The bandstand, Victoria Park, early 20th century.

On the 27 October 1903 the band was reorganised to put it under public control. The precise meaning of this reorganisation is now uncertain but it is likely that from this date the band was no longer receiving support from Denton hat manufacturers. On the 7 June 1906 Mr Albert Parke, a Denton hat manufacturer, presented the band with a ceremonial mace, the head consisting of a silver plated bowler hat surmounted by a pivoted cartouche.

The cartouche obverse is inscribed: Denton Original Prize Band Established 1859 Re Organised Under Public Control Oct 27 1903

The cartouche reverse is inscribed: Presented By Mr. Albert Parke June 7 1906

Ceremonial mace, drum, and uniform from Denton Original Prize Band, 16 Sep 2007.
The whereabouts of the mace is now unknown.

Following the achievement of 1900, the band was rated as one of the best in Britain and it was in great demand. Its reputation as one of the leading bands in the Manchester area was maintained until the late 20th century.

Over the years, there was a Denton 'A' Band and a junior Denton 'B' Band but the 'A' Band became briefly known as the 'Oldham Battery Band' before changing again to the 'Denton Original Band', the word 'Prize' being dropped. It was briefly known as the Oldham Battery Band because this company had become its sponsors. The new venue of the band was the Oldham Batteries Sports & Social Club on Hyde Road but due to the industrial recession in the 1980s their sponsorship was withdrawn and the two bands were moved into the foyer at the Edward Street entrance of Oldham Batteries. This proved to be an unsatisfactory situation, so the 'A' Band moved into the building of the Co-op Bank on Amelia Street and the 'B' Band moved to Egerton Park School.

Notwithstanding this, disaster struck in 1993 when vandals caused a fire at the premises on Amelia Street and in so doing brought about the demise of the Denton 'A' Band. Fortunately, the junior Denton 'B' Band was associated with the Original Prize Band and after this incident its name was changed to Crown Point Brass and it moved to Denton West End WMC on Grosvenor Street. This band made a sterling effort to keep going until March 1999 when Denton Brass was formed with premises at the Silver Springs Hotel on Ashton Road. It then moved to Denton Library on Peel Street and presently it is based at the Denton West End WMC. The current Denton Brass can, therefore, trace its lineage back to Baxendale's Band of 1859.