Sheffield Citadel Band is believed to have originated in 1881 under the leadership of Bandmaster Charlie Wright.  The first instruments were a large bell and antiquated drum but despite these humble beginnings the Band quickly grew and despite many ups and downs in its early days continued to proclaim the gospel in Sheffield.
The earliest known photo of Sheffield Citadel Band

The earliest photograph of the Band in 1891

As Paul Wileman wrote in his book “Sheffield’s Citadel“:
“the Citadel Band wasn’t always a good one and playing standards fluctuated enormously.  In the early 1900s the Band was actually stood down by the Commanding Officer because it was so poor.  This was a terrible disappointment to many and a number of bandsmen left the Corps as a result.  Some didnt give up so easily, however.  They continued to practice on their own in a room on Hodgson Street and when it was thought that a new officer was imminent some of the direhard secretly went round those who had left and asked them to come back and start practising again, unbeknown to the rest of the Corps.  They practised for two weeks in the Victoria Hall and when the new officer was duly appointed the re-formed band turned up at the Corps open-air meeting as though nothing had happened.  No-one had the heart to tell them they couldn’t take part and the new commanding officer was none the wise.  So the Sheffield 1 Corps had a band again.”

As the years rolled by, the Band’s reputation and ability grew and they travelled around the country on away weekends.  SCB was the first English band to make a wireless broadcast when in December 1923, from an old workshop in Bridge Street, 15 players -as this was all there was room for- were broadcast on the old crystal sets.  It is even said that the windows had to be opened to give the trombone players room for their slides!

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November 2022
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