World’s Largest Brass Band archive to open in Yorkshire with unseen historical items from exclusive brass bands collection - on public display for the first time

The World’s Largest Brass Band archive is to open in Yorkshire to help preserve over a century of musical heritage.

From the famous Grimethorpe Colliery Band who were featured on the film Brassed Off to up and coming bands set to compete in The Yorkshire Brass Band Championships, this collection is dedicated to preserving global brass band heritage.

A special exhibition titled Brass Bands: History and Culture celebrating the collection will be on public display for the first time.

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Launching early March at the Heritage Quay in Huddersfield to coincide with The Yorkshire Brass Band Championships, the archive will be publicly accessible to researchers, brass bands enthusiasts and anyone else hoping to learn from over a century of banding heritage.

The Brass Band Archive at Heritage QuayThe Brass Band Archive at Heritage Quay
The Brass Band Archive at Heritage Quay

David Smith, Public Engagement Officer at Heritage Quay, said: "It has been a fascinating journey assembling this exhibition from the interesting and varied collection of brass band memorabilia and historic items, and I'm thrilled that highlights of the collection will now be available for public viewing. It's a great opportunity to showcase everything that brass bands have achieved, as well as a chance to learn something new about their history. If you love brass bands, you won't be disappointed."

The exhibition will include some of the gems from the archive, including trophies, scores and photographs.

What is The Brass Bands Archive?

The archive was started by Walter Ainscough and Alan Marsh, two brass band players and enthusiasts, who maintained the archive out of a flat in Wigan.

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Ownership of the archive was permanently transferred to Brass Bands England in 2018, who have been repackaging and cataloguing the collection so that it can be made accessible to the public for years to come.

Volunteers from Brass Bands England, based in Barnsley who own the archive will be on hand at the opening weekend on Saturday March 4 and Sunday March 5, to answer any questions.

The exhibition is open to all and will be free to visit, running until April 23, 2023.