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Leyland Band: still motoring after 75 years

Tuesday 2 November, 2021

The Leyland Band is steeped in history – and shows no signs of slowing down.

During its existence, the Lancashire outfit has enjoyed the highest of highs and some perilous lows. Brass band historian Tim Mutum reflects on 75 years of banding as he charts the musical development of the famous Leyland Band.

 

British Open winner in 1994 and National champion in 2005 are the crowning glories in contesting terms for the Leyland Band – but the Lancashire outfit wasn’t always at the top of the tree. Indeed, for the first 30 years of its life, it was much like many others, hovering around underneath the cream of British bands.

The Lancashire town of Leyland, from which the band takes its name, is about six miles south of Preston. Its claim to fame is undoubtedly the bus and truck manufacturer which started in 1896 as the Leyland Steam and Motor Company. Between the 1950s and 1970s, the company expanded and grew to own several British motor manufacturers, including BMC (a successor to Morris, which had its own band), Standard Triumph and Rover.

It culminated in the massive British Leyland company, although today it just operates as a truck business – Leyland Trucks owned by the large American firm, Paccar (which supported the Fodens Motor Works Band for two years when it acquired the company in 1980). Before this massive expansion started, and with Britain still recovering from the Second World War, the company decided to follow in the footsteps of so many other large industrial concerns and form its own band. It was a late entry to the party but in May 1946 the Leyland Motors Band was established.

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