In 1816 Peter Wharton founded a brass and reed band in the Yorkshire village of Queenshead – later to become Queensbury. Within its ranks was a young French Horn player John Foster, the founder of the then Black Dike Mills, based in the village.
Wharton’s Band eventually disbanded in 1833, but shortly after, the Queenshead Band, of around 18 musicians, many perhaps from the older band, was formed, reaching its zenith during the years 1838 to 1843.
However, as the fortunes of this band eventually waned it was reported in the local Halifax Courier & Guardian newspaper in September 1855 that: ‘Messrs. John Foster and Son, of Queenshead, having lately become acquainted with the depressed position of the band, determined to make an effort themselves to raise it up again.
Accordingly, they have purchased from the eminent maker, Mr Joseph Higham, Victoria Bridge, Manchester, a new set of instruments, which have this week been delivered to the band, that in future is to be denominated the ‘Black Dike Mills Band’.
On 15th September 2005 the Black Dyke Band proudly celebrated its 150th anniversary. Two of the many highlights that celebrated the occasion came with the publication of a book entitled ‘150 Golden Years – The History of Black Dyke Band’, by former resident conductor Dr. Roy Newsome, and the release of ‘Jewels in the Crown’, a triple CD that featured historical recordings of performances given by the band from as far back as 1903.
Since that anniversary event the band has continued to add to its exceptional list of artistic and competitive achievements – culminating in the successful application to the Heritage Lottery Fund to secure financial support for their round breaking Black Dyke Heritage Project.
Please follow the link to the current Black Dyke Band