Posted on: April 3rd, 2013

silver band

It is a matter of great honour and pride for The Developer to hereby announce the reformation of the famous Lea Mills Silver Prize Band after a 98 year ‘taking stock’ lay off.

The band were kitted out in 1890 by John Marsden Smedley who also provided the instruments bought at great cost (£120) from London, later to be replaced by an even shinier set at a further cost of £320 in 1906.

Equipped with bowler hat, fife and drum, this much revered outfit went on to win many a national award, competing against the finest brass the North could throw back at them, only to come a right cropper in December 1911 when they played to the striking workers at Lea Mills and, thus, an incensed J. B. Smedley demanded the immediate return of all uniforms and instruments.

It’s my ball, you’re not playing with it, and I’m going home.

Like an olden day Simon Cowell, Smedley found that he could make or break a band and so he sent them packing.

The big bass drum was tucked away in the rafters of a works building and the trophies stored in penance in the archive until, that is, this week – where our intrepid musicians return to the former spinning room in the factory to make music on silver instruments, joined, today by local produce Corey Mwamba, born and raised in Derby.

Just as the cotton is shipped into Smedleys from Peru, and the wool from New Zealand, via China and Italy, our truly international cast play on instruments from Germany, America, Dorset, India, France, Britain and Japan, but this time all paid for by the players, no benefactors this time, no stock taken.

We start marching now.


Ancient wind instrument used by the new silver band at Lea Mills, powered by electricity and printed circuits