At the Chichester City Band we are in a privileged position to be part of a band that has a long history. In this section you will find a rich resource containing lots of information about the band’s history.
Brief History of the Band
During a Council meeting in June 1897, it was suggested that Chichester should have its own band to attend large functions in the city and the surrounding area. What is now known as the Chichester City Band was founded in 1897 by Mr. Robert Bottrill, a well know coal merchant in Chichester and Bognor. To begin with, the band was known as the Chichester Brass Band (South Ward) and rehearsed at the Crown Inn, Whyke Road Chichester. Details of the band’s early yars can be seen from a concert programme of the time.
” The… newly established Band beg to inform the citizens that it is their intention…to play in and around Chichester…appropriate music. The Committee of the band hope that by this means to justify public support, which is greatly needed to pay off the debt on the instruments, which cost about £60. Donations may be paid to the Treasurer, or properly appointed members of the band, who must produce written authority of their position as collectors.”
During the 1914 -1918 war, the band was roped into the Territorial Army, playing as the soldiers marched from the Royal Sussex Barracks to the Railway station, whenever there was a draft of men going to France. No doubt Sussex By the Sea was prominent amongst the Marches played and indeed this remains in the band’s repertoire to this day.
Many bands draw their members from family groups and Chichester City is no exception. One extended family within the band provides four cornet players, two horns and a bass player! However, for years service it would be difficult for any current member of the band to match the record of the Tadd family. Eric Tadd, who died in 1998 was one of the band’s Tenor Horn players and was with the band for 75 years and had many stories about his time with the band. Eric’s father Edward was a member in 1897 and between them, Eric and Edward had 150 years service with the band!
As well as concerts for the public, the band has entered many brass band contests over the past one hundred years. This has led to the band playing at some prestigious venues. Before it burnt down in 1936, the band played at the Brass Band Championships at the Crystal Palace. Much more recently, the band has played at Wembley Conference Centre (1995), Cardiff International arena (1996) and in 1998, Birmingham’s magnificent Symphony Hall. Chichester City Band started the new millennium in the best possible way by qualifying for the Finals of the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain. In October 2000, the finals took place at the Royal Albert Hall and it was the first time that the band had played at this world famous venue in its 103 years history.
In 2010 the band won the 1st section of the Southern Counties Amateur Band Association autumn contest.
In 2011 the band achieved a creditable 5th place in the National Brass Band association London & Southern Counties regional contest with their performance of Eric Ball’s ‘Resurgam’. A brief fallow period followed, where people moved on and the band, having been promoted to the 1st section, dropping back to the 3rd.
As we head towards 2020, however, the band has gone from strength to strengh, with qualification two years running (2018, 2019) for the National Finals in Cheltenham, winning the Champions’ shield for the 3rd section at the L&SC regional contest in 2019. We have a thriving youth section and look forward to heading towards the ‘2020s’ to build on our successes!