Aldbourne Heritage Centre
Exploring the Village Story

Chapter 12 : Bandrooms

The earliest known bandroom amazingly still stands. We know of its existence from chats held with Albert Stacey and Bill Deacon, when as a young lad he had worked for Albert in his bakery. The location used was a wash house behind “Ellen Liddiard,s”. She lived there in the early part of this century. It stands at the rear of Holly Cottage in Church Street. It’s a room only 10 to 12 feet square, still complete with the fireplace and boiler for washing, and was used until they moved to somewhat larger premises c1900.

The next was an large shed that stood at the side of “Chandlers lane”. It leads to the rear of the Blue Boar to the terrace known as Willow Cottages. This was one of several buildings that had originally been constructed for use by our willow weaving industry. By the late 1890’s these sheds had become redundant but this one being large was being used for public functions, it was even called the “parish room” and for a few years it became the home of many village organisations such as the “workmens club”.

The salvation army also held the odd meeting in this “parish room”. This barn was fairly large and one end “farmer Pike” stabled his horses. At one such meeting and whilst an officer was evangelizing a horse was heard to break wind, this of course brought a snigger to the lips of the young lads that were there. Now instead of letting things pass the fatal question of “who was that?” was asked. One of the lads named Teddy Hawkins shouted out the name of one of his pals. “it was Jack Sheppard” The officer replied “Well God bless Jack Sheppard, for he is a sinner”.

The one major thing that the village has never aided the band with, is the owning of its own bandroom. With more and more of the top bands in the West of England having their own bandrooms they have been able to adjust the acoustical properties to help them in the all so important area of making quality sounds. We sadly have been unable to keep up with them in the one area that our band was always renown for, the quality of its sound. Perhaps one day it  might be fortunate to have one of its own.

In 1909 the band yet again moved bandrooms. This time to Mr FW Couch`s room in West Street square. It had been originally been converted for use for the Salvation Army (though never used by them) and a report of Friday 5th February tells an interesting story.

“The band gave an entertainment in their new bandroom, the first held there and it was full”. Mr Henry Brind Sheppard was chairman and was recorded in saying that “the band did a lot of good in brightening up the village and that he was very proud of the band”. Selections were played and songs were sung by J. Orchard, G.Barrett. Mr Collier played the harmonium and Miss Palmer gave the auction sale. Of particular interest she also played some songs on a gramaphone and F. Jerram and C. Martin did some recitations.

The West Street band room was to be our home for many years. Nancy barrett told that as a young girl she lived opposite this room and often listened to the band never realising that it would one day become such a prominent part of her life.

In 19?? we again moved to the grounds of the Old Rectory. We had the use of a large stable with a tin roof. freezing? etc

Next we move over the road into the church hall that once stood ? This room must have seemed a luxury as it had heating.