John Paley

Visitors to our site may be interested in the following piece from the Shipley Times in 1917:

A kindly act and one which cannot fail to be of interest to people of the Shipley district, was seen in the public street in Bradford on Saturday.


Early in the afternoon an itinerant musician who has had the misfortune to lose both his arms and who was playing an organ by pedalling with this foot,was performing in Charles Street. While so engaged, three gentlemen passed along and one of them, after stopping to make an inquiry from the poor fellow, pulled forth a cornet from a case which he carried and began to play.


Naturally, a crowd soon collected and a collection taken up realised the sum of 12 shillings which the maimed organist received with thanks.


To many who gathered around, the cornet player was well known but to one who did not recognise him and made the inquiry, ‘who is he?’ the answer was soon forthcoming, ‘It’s John Paley.’ This we may say is by no means the first time Mr Paley has thus been the benefactor of some wandering musician and the public of Shipley, of which town the famous cornetist is a native, appreciate the kindness of heart which

prompts these deeds.


Shipley Times & Express 14 December 1917

Support for our Heritage Appeal

The Black Dyke Heritage Appeal launched in July has just received a major boost with many celebrities all pledging support.

The actor and comedian Russ Abbot gave his support and commented that he had always been a huge fan and that the band was very close to his heart.

Ed Balls, the former politician and “Strictly” star also backed the appeal and writing in The Guardian newspaper called the band’s performance on the Pyramid at Glastonbury ‘set of the festival!’

Michael Eavis also backed the appeal and added that the band’s performance at Glastonbury Abbey in August ‘was indescribably brilliant and a joy for the thousands that were there.’

Opera star Lesley Garrett herself from Yorkshire also has backed the appeal as has Richard Morrison, chief music critic of The Times, who commented that the band’s jaw dropping achievements and 160 years of ferociously dedicated music making deserved support.

Commenting, Professor Nicholas Childs said that the project had already benefitted from the band’s successful Heritage Lottery Fund award but that a vast amount of work to record, restore and renovate the collection of memorabilia and digitise the collection of original compositions was still to be done.  He went on ”Many will have seen the new Heritage Centre featured on ITV and BBC 2 in the programmes surrounding our appearance at the Glastonbury Festival. We’re delighted that along with our loyal worldwide supporters these celebrities are also backing us”.

To help with the band’s heritage work go to our Appeals Page



Additional Artefacts for our Heritage Centre

Since opening in July we have had a number of visitors to our Heritage Centre and some wonderful artefacts and memorabilia have been donated to the collection. There are several items originally owned by Dr Roy Newsome, who for many years was the bands musical director, including an inscribed baton and a small engraved drinking cup. Also, of great interest is a book complied bythe legendary  Arthur O. Pearce of all BBC broadcasts by the band from the 1920's to the late 1940's featuring many during the war years.

These items will be in display at the end of September 2017.

Heritage Centre nears completion

After almost 18 months of hard work by our curator, historian and volunteers, the Black Dyke Heritage Centre nears completion. The official completion of the project is September 30th 2017 when all the building work and renovations are signed off. Subsequent to this the band are now looking at ways in which to preserve the centre for the public and also to supplement our display of artefacts and memorabilia.


We have been very lucky to have been given personal momentos by ex-players of the band which are on show in our display cabinets. Equally our personal history videos are a fantastic record of life in Black Dyke Band from previous decades with fascinating reminiscences of their days as players.

Fred Bower - Contest Medals discovered

Pictured: Fred Bower



A wonderful find by our archivist Andrew Tebbs and historian John Clay, are three contest medals presented to Fred Bower, one of Black Dyke Mills Bands' long serving members. Fred was part of the famous Queensbury Bower family who served the band for almost a century, with Phineas and Harry Bower both being bandmasters in the mid to late Victorian period, and Fred playing Solo Trombone, retiring in 1930.

Medals were regularly given to the players of winning bands at both Belle Vue (British Open) and Crystal Palace (Nationals) and the practise continued until the early 1970's.

Once cleaned and catalogued, the medals will be on display in our Heritage Centre and also be listed on our heritage website.

Help us to preserve our heritage by visiting our Just Giving site

New Signage for our Heritage Centre


The Black Dyke Band Heritage Centre have now installed our new external signage to the front and side elevations of our historic 162 year old building. The new signage was part of our Heritage Lottery Grant and proudly displays the bands logo. Visitors can now be in no doubt that they have reached the home of one of the finest brass bands in the world.

Assist us in our Heritage Project and our quest to preserve our unique history by donating to our Just Giving page.