According to local records, the Haverhill Brass Band (aka Haverhill Old Band, Haverhill Oddfellows Band) was formed in 1820 and had close ties to the Oddfellows Society for its entire existence. Local newspaper articles from the mid-19th to early 20th century show that the band was highly active within West Suffolk and West Essex; performing at various parades, fetes and country shows under the leadership of its long-serving bandmaster Charles Mizon; a prominent Haverhill silk weaver and lodge secretary.
Haverhill Brass Band had a busy performance diary and travelled extensively across East Anglia which reached as far as Downham Market and Thetford.
The group enjoyed a good relation with the town’s second brass band; the Haverhill Shepherds (read more about them here). Haverhill Brass Band and the Shepherds frequently performed alongside each-other, particularly at the Haverhill Gala, as well as various processions – the Friendly Society Parade being a notable one.
The band had their fair share of memorable experiences, including a Diamond Jubilee Celebration at Baythorne Hall in 1897, to a rather unfortunate incident in 1885 when performing at Birdbrook Flower Show; upon playing the national anthem, the music startled a horse and trap which then reportedly bolted into a packed crowd.
Haverhill Brass Band, circa 1857.
The band continued to perform into the 1910s and was last mentioned in a local newspaper in August 1913, performing at the Haverhill Gala and Flower Show alongside the Shepherds.
The band was very much a family affair and at one time consisted of seven members of the Bigmore family and three members of the Poole family.
At present, we know that the band was led by at least three bandmasters: these being Jonathan Parkin, Mr J. Bigmore, Charles Mizon and Charles Elliott.