Rimmer was born in Southport to a bandmaster of the Lancashire Volunteer Rifles and as a young man he made himself into one of the finest cornet players in the country under the steely eye of Alex Owen at Besses o’ th’ Barn. Their rivalry became the stuff of legend and before long he was fast surpassing his mentor as the finest conductor of his generation.
Rimmer made his debut at the Open in 1895, but came away unplaced. However, the following year he gained second place with Kingston Mills, before losing out to Owen the following year. His first win came with Irwell Springs in 1905 and from that time until 1909 he was unbeatable at the contest. His 5 wins were with Irwell, Wingates in 1906 and 1907, then Black Dyke in 1908 and finally with Fodens in 1909, although his last actual conducting performance was with Black Dyke that year (they drew 20th and came 2nd to Fodens who drew number 8). He then retired.
He too conducted more than one band at the contest on the day, including winning 5 of the top 6 places in 1909. Amazingly he also won the Nationals for the five years from 1905 to 1909, and so claimed five consecutive “Doubles” – and remained unbeatable until his retirement. Ill health dogged him though and this was perhaps the reason for his decision. He died in 1936, his reputation sealed.
View William Rimmer's record on Brass Band Results