Two coaches were engaged from Lewis and Co. to take members and friends of the Band to the Brass Band Championships at Crystal Palace. These yearly outings continued until December 1936 when the Crystal Palace was burned down. During the last few years of the Palace the Band contested in the 7th and 8th sections.
All sections competed on the same day, either in different halls or in parts of the grounds. Most sections, excepts the Championship, had about 33 bands in them and Chichester were usually between 14th and 20th in the results.
Promotion like ours was based on our previous results throughout the year at other contests.
These trips to the Palace each year were a bit hectic at times. The Band would leave Chichester at 6:00 am and would arrive back between 2:00 and 4:00 am as usually, either going or coming back the driver would lose his way.
After the Crystal Palace contests the next two or three National Contests were held at the Alexandra Palace.
During the 1920’s it was decided by the City Council to build a bandstand in the Jubilee Park in New Park Road. Unfortunately it was of bad design and the whole structure was made of concrete and was haxagonal in shape with six concrete pillars topped with electric lights. It had no sides or roof and consequently the tone of the band was deadened. Throughout the summer on alternate Sundays concerts were held, these were well attended. On every Wednesday evening dancing was held on the grass.
After a few years the local “Stonehenge” as it was sometimes called, stayed unused for several years and was eventually demolished in the 1950’s.
During the 1914-18 War the Band had a few woodwind instruments and owing to the loos of several players through call-up for the forces the instrumentation was augmented with fife and drums. No doubt some of the players were from the old “Somerstown Fife and Drum Band”.
During this time the Band was roped into the Territorial Army so that they were able to play the soldiers from the Royal Sussex Barracks to the station whenever there was a draft of men going to France. The band also went on Marches on Sunday mornings.
Mr Bottrill (Bandmaster) held the rank of an officer.
In return for services rendered by the Band during these years they were allowed free use of the Drill Hall for as long as they wished for rehearsals twice a week. Also a dry and warm lock-up cellar room for music etc.
The Portsmouth Evening News sponsored a contest where bands from the Isle of Wight, Sussex, Hampshire, Wiltshire and Dorset competed. The prize was a large shield with the crest of each county designed in enamel and incoporated into the general design.
After the City Band won it for the third time the Portsmouth Evening News presented it to Mr E. D. Shepherd, conductor at the time, who accepted it on behalf of the band. The shield to be kept by them permanently.
In 1931 the shield was loaned to the Southern Counties Contest Committee to be contested for at Southsea. It would then be held for one year only by the winning band.
The shield was won by the Royal Navy Bluejackets Band of Portsmouth. On return it was deposited at Barclays Bank and many years later was transferred to Lloyds Bank, East Street for safe keeping.
The shield is now on permanent loan to the Chichester City Council who insured it, and display it in their silver room at the Assembly Rooms, North Street. It was officially handed over to them in the late seventies by Mr Charles Newell, Chairman of the band, and Mr E. W. Tadd who was Band Treasurer at the time.
The Band was registered at Southampton as “The Chichester City Band”. The uniform at this time consisted of pill-box hats and dark navy uniform jackets.
The Band marched Boer War reservists to the station.
The “Chichester City Band” was first formed by Mr Robert Bottrill who owned a coal business in Chichester and Bognor Regis.
Initially the band was called the South Ward Band (South Ward of Chichester) and rehearsed at the Crown Inn, Whyke Road, Chichester. Programme 1889