Codnor Brass Bands

Codnor Old Prize Band
Founded in July 1860 by Mr William Eyre (conductor) and his brother Joseph, Codnor Brass band was for many years the only source of entertainment (apart from the annual wakes) in Codnor. The various chapels could always rely on the band on anniversary days to lead processions in the village and at Christmas they would play hymns in front of the big house at Hall farm. They also had a competitive reputation and entered numerous contests winning many prizes. The band was at the height of its fame around 1905 and held weekly practices at the Miner's Arms, The band ultimately merged with the Butterley Colliery Ambulance Band (see bottom)

Fig.1 Codnor Old Prize Band pictured in 1906, names from left to right are;
Back Row: Bill Ratcliffe, W. Bostock, John Wathey, John A Eyre, J Grainger, George Walker, Jim Sheldon, Ted Fletcher, W. Gaunt, Jim Hartropp, Harold Wright, Len Hand
Third Row Standing: Fred Warren (Base drum) Joe Walker, G Gilbert, Alf Challands, Tom Langley,?,?,?,?,?,?,?,?
Second row Seated: John Eyre, Harry Eyre, Bill Curzon, Albert Walker, Harold Hand, Jim Hartropp, G Lamb, John Brown
Seated on ground: Jim Daniels, Ed Eyre, Joe Eyre, Tom Brown

Fig.2 Codnor Old Volunteer Band photographed at Loscoe on the occasion of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee 1897.

Back Row Left to Right: Fred Warren, Willis Brown, Wm Eyre (conductor), Hiram Eyre, Harry Eyre,  John Wathey, Harold Langley, Wm Eyre, jun, Wm Abbott and Geo. Wadkinson.

Front row Left To Right: Samuel Woolley, Ben Clarke, John Grainger, Joseph Eyre , jun, W. Curzon, John Mellors, Tom Wadkinson, Joseph Eyre and Robert Hogg

               Displayed with kind permission of Stuart Brown

Fig.3 This is the Butterley Co. Ambulance Band pictured at Codnor Miners Welfare in 1938.

Displayed with kind permission of The Ripley & Heanor News

The names from left to right are;

Back Row: Gordon Platts, Ron Pidcock, Frank Spencer,?, Jack Parkin
Middle Row: Dennis Burgin, Harry Booth, Pat Spencer, Bill Watson, Ernie Ingtam, Tom Crossley, Dennis Langton, Lawrance Taylor, P Cresswell, Bill Mills,?
Front Row: Ray Webster,  B Langton, Walter Sharpe, Esra Platts, Jack Webster, Harry Sharp, Alf Challands, Tom Litchfield

Band Contest - Codnor  21 September 1874 

The following article is credited to the IBEW website at

The village of Codnor - famed chiefly for colliers and smoke, and a glaringly painted picture of Lord Byron, which adorns the principal alehouse in the place - was en fete. There was a brass band contest in the village, and an event of so alarming and extraordinary a character naturally operated very forcibly on the mining mind, and threw it into a state of agitation and unrest. The contest took place in a field some few minutes' walk from the village proper, and as the weather, in the early part of the day, was fine and promising, there was a pretty large attendance of spectators, the colliers mustering in strong force. In the afternoon black, ominous-looking clouds gathered overhead, and at length the rain came down in earnest, accompanied by thunder and lightning. The ground was cleared in a "brace of shakes", and it was some time before the contest could be resumed. Eight bands competed, and the prize money, amounting to £26, was divided into four prizes; the first £11, the second £7, the third £5, and the fourth £3 The competing bands were from Ruddington, Heanor, Chesterfield, Codnor, Normanton, Sutton-in-Ashfield, Hathern, and Clay Cross, and they occupied the platform successively in the above order. It was arranged that each band should play two pieces - "Gloria" in Mozart's 12th Mass first; the second piece whatever ever each band thought well. The "Gloria" was played very creditably by most of the bands, and each was separately applauded, the Sutton-in-Ashfield band being the general favourite. After going through the first piece there was an interval of about half an hour, and then the contest was renewed. The Sutton band again fell in for a large share of applause, after playing a lengthy selection - "Il Flauto Magico" with much taste and skill. The Codnor band was likewise much cheered after finishing a long and somewhat tedious selection, but this band was not fortunate enough to secure a "place". At the conclusion of the contest, shortly before seven o'clock, Mr. King of Derby, one of the judges, ascended the platform and read out the following decision: 1st prize (£11) Sutton-in-Ashfield; 2nd (£7), Heanor; 3rd (£5), Clay Cross; 4th (£3), Chesterfield. The other judge was Mr. McCarthy, also of Derby, and the awards seemed to give general satisfaction.


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