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The Grimethorpe Colliery Band is a brass band, based in Grimethorpe, South Yorkshire, England. It was formed in 1917, as a leisure activity for the workers at the colliery, by members of the disbanded Cudworth Colliery Band.[1] The band has 28 players.[2]



[3] The year after the band's formation saw it enter its first competition at Belle Vue in Manchester. Its first radio broadcast was in 1932 and from 1941 to 1951 was on UK national radio every month.

George Thompson was musical director from the early 1950s until 1972 during which time the band won the British Open Contest for the first time. Thompson was followed by Elgar Howarth as Professional Conductor and Musical Director. 1974 saw the band, with Black Dyke Mills Band become the first to perform at The Proms.

The band continued through the industrial troubles of the 1980s and the closure of Grimethorpe Colliery on 13 October 1992. However the Band gained first place with 99 out of 100 on 17 October 1992 in the National Brass Band Championship at the Royal Albert Hall.

Since the closure of the Grimethorpe Colliery, the Band was initially sponsored by RJB Mining (later UK Coal plc) and then by Powerfuel.


The Grimethorpe Colliery Band has premiered some of the most important brass music of the twentieth century, including Sir Harrison Birtwistle's Grimethorpe Aria, written for the band, Hans Werner Henze's Ragtimes and Habaneras as well as several pieces by Sir Malcolm Arnold.

In films

International fame came with the film Brassed Off, the plot of which was based on Grimethorpe's struggles against pit closures, and whose soundtrack was recorded by the band. The band also performed Ron Goodwin's film score for the 1976 Disney film Escape from the Dark (also called the Littlest Horse Thieves), with the composer conducting.


  • National Brass Band Championships - Winners 1970, 1992, 2006 and 2007.[4]
  • English National Brass Band Championships - Winners 2007[2][5], 2008.[6]
  • Yorkshire Champions - 1963, 1967, 1973, 1983, 1991, 1995, 2005, 2006.[3]
  • Brass in Concert Champions - 1977, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1983, 1986, 1993, 1994, 1999, 2001 to 2005.[3]
  • Mineworkerse Champions - 1967, 1968, 1969, 1973 to 1980, 1983, 1985 to 2002.[3]
  • British Open Champions - 1969, 1984, 1991.[3]
  • Granada Band of the Year - 1972, 1973, 1976, 1977, 1981, 1985.[3]

Other events

The band represented England at the European Brass Band Championship in Norway in May 2008 and came second behind the Cory Band, both on 194 points.[7] In June 2008 Grimethorpe gained its second successive victory at the English National Brass Band Championships, thus qualifying to represent England once again at the European Championships in Ostende, Belgium, in 2009.

Notable members

  • Robert Westacott - Principal Cornet
  • Michael Dodd - Solo Euphonium
  • Kevin Crockford - Soprano Cornet
  • Andrew Holmes - Flugel Horn
  • Arfon Owen - Solo Horn
  • Gary MacPhee - Trombone
  • Michael Wells - Baritone
  • Ken Ferguson - E-flat Tuba

Partial discography

Year Album Conductor
1976 Grimethorpe Special Elgar Howarth
1999 Grimethorpe Colliery Band - Australian Tour Edition Elgar Howarth
2001 Eric Ball - The Undaunted Elgar Howarth
2002 Grimethorpe in Concert Garry Cutt
2004 Grimethorpe in Concert Volume II Richard Evans
2004 The History of Brass Band Music - The Golden Era Elgar Howarth
2004 The History of Brass Band Music - The Salvation Army Connection Elgar Howarth
2005 The History of Brass Band Music - The Early Years Elgar Howarth
2006 The History of Brass Band Music - The Modern Era Elgar Howarth
2007 Grimethorpe in Concert Volume III Richard Evans & Philip Harper
2007 The History of Brass Band Music - Classical Arrangements Elgar Howarth
2008 The History of Brass Band Music - New Adventures Elgar Howarth
2008 Hymns Phillip McCann


  1. ^ "Brass band keep their shine", Western Daily Press, 1 September 2006
  2. ^ a b "Colliery band hits top prize note", BBC News, 1 July 2007
  3. ^ a b c d e f Information presented in a 2009 concert programme.
  4. ^ "The National Brass Band Championships", The Harrogate Band, accessed 17 December 2007
  5. ^ "English National Brass Band Championships", British Federation of Brass Bands, accessed 17 December 2007
  6. ^ Results: 2008 English Nationals,, accessed 28 June 2008
  7. ^ Buffet Crampon, woodwind instruments : clarinets, professional clarinet, oboe, bassoon

External links


Video clips

Audio clips


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