The first band was formed to provide a respectable rational recreation for the area’s youth, and consisted of a group of boys around 15 years old. Their first rehearsals were in a former slaughterhouse, known locally as ‘Th’owd Killin’ hoil’.
After their appearance at the 1891 Belle Vue competition they became known as ‘Wark’ ‘us lads’ (work-house lads), a name that stayed with them even though the membership of the band became older.
From 1900 they had repeated success at Belle Vue, eventually leading to a celebrated tour of Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania, from 1911-1912. It was noted that many ex-Huddersfield residents came to support their concerts. The local press in the towns they visited enthused about the musicianship of these people from Huddersfield. One Christchurch correspondent wrote: ‘The Huddersfield Bellringers have reduced bellringing to fine art, and, having conquered everything there was to conquer at home, have Alexander-like, sought new worlds. Their reception at the Antipodes has been worthy of their merits, for they certainly provide a revelation in their own particular line of musical casuistry… The Huddersfield [hand-bell ringing band] displays a marvellous exactitude, and secures a wonderful tone.’