Slaithwaite Philharmonic Orchestra

The Slaithwaite Philharmonic Orchestra was formed in 1891 by a group of working people who wanted to form an ‘orchestral band’.53 Their first meetings were held at the home of John Taylor, where they drew up the aims of the orchestra, which included a commitment to regular practice and attendance at rehearsals. This was seen as vital as they relied on subscriptions from the public to meet the day-to-day expenses of running an orchestra. As one subscriber put it, ‘All the subscriptions in the world would not make a good band if the members do not attend the rehearsals.’


Slaithwaite Philharmonic Orchestra




In common with the rational recreation ethos that surrounded brass bands they wanted to impress any subscribers with their good works. The first committee wrote, ‘Now that we have the sympathy and support of the public of Slaithwaite, it only remains to build up an Orchestral Society that shall be a benefit to its founders, a benefit to the district and to which it shall be counted an honour to belong.’

The first concert was held in the Liberal Hall in Slaithwaite. They boasted ‘a full orchestra of 30 performers’, but they had no oboe, horn, trumpet or trombone. The majority of the orchestra were string players. The first concert made a loss of one pound, eight shillings and four pence. Nevertheless, in spite of this problematic start in recent times the orchestra has been successful; recognised by the award of the National Federation of Music Societies’ Sir Charles Groves Prize in 1993 and a Performing Rights Society Enterprise Award in 1991 and again in 1996.

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