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Beeston Toreadors Carnival Band - 1934-1939

The Beeston Toreadors Carnival Band was hugely popular in Beeston in the years leading up to the Second World War. Its combination of precision marching, performed at a quick pace, stirring music and colourful costumes provided a timely boost in what, for many, was an otherwise grey era.

The band was founded in September 1934 after an iniative by a group of employees of the Beeston Boiler Company.

At the inaugural meeting, the following executive was appointed:
F M Fletcher (President), Victor Oade (Chairman), Harry Fawcett (Secretary), Harry Fearn (Bugle Bandmaster), Herbert Toon (Drum Bandmaster), Dan Toon (Melody Bandmaster) and George Buchanan (Drum Major). Soon after this, Dick Clark was appointed as Band Commander; as an ex-Quartermaster Sergeant, Dick's influence and discipline was critical in the development of the band's style and excellence.

The photograph on the right shows two of the band members - Edna Hollingworth and her brother-in-law Albert Preston - in the band's distinctive red, white and black uniforms.


From the start, membership of the band was large - 180 had joined at the beginning - and there was always around 100 on each parade.
This photographs, taken on Dovecote Lane Recreation Ground gives an indication of how popular it was.

Another group of members pictured on Broadgate Recreation Ground in the later 1930s - around the bandstand that was there at that time

Toreadors8 - Humber Rd

Toreadors9 - Humber Rd

The band parading up Humber Road lead by two riders on horseback (shown in detail on the right. Albert Preston is the rider on the right)
The backs of the then newly built Queens Drive can be seen clearly in the background.

Toreadors1 Parade
Here the band is seen rounding the corner at the top of Dovecote Lane, with West End in the background and the houses on Grange Avenue on the right,
possibly on the occasion of the Silver Jubilee of King George V and Queen Mary on 6th May 1935.

Toreadors - Champions
Two days earlier, the band had won first prize in a competition at Bobbers Mill, Basford. Although it was its first competition and they faced stiff competition from longer established bands from the area, the Beeston band won through - such was the local excitement that the news was projected onto the screen in the Palladium and Palace cinemas and the band paraded along the High Road on its return, despite the lateness of the hour.

Below is a further selection of photographs from that era, when the band continued to win awards in carnivals and competitions throughout the region.


Jim Fearn has identified his uncle, Harry Fearn, He is on the extreme left of the previous two photographs of the band with the trophies and is the second Toreador from the left on the trophy photograph above those two.

Sadly, the outbreak of war in 1939 meant that this highly popular local iniative was brought to end.


This photograph, probably from about 1939, is probably one of the last taken of band members before the war years changed everything
It includes Frank Fearn aged about sixteen, the latest member of his family to be a member, then the band's Drum Major, with the mace
This mace has now been donated to Beeston & District Local History Society as part of its collection of local memorabilia.

Thanks to Brian Preston for his assistance and to members of Frank Fearn's family for providing some of the images.

Suggestions for names are invited - there must be many who can recognise parents, grandparents, work colleagues, neighbours - or even themselves - in these photographs.
We would be pleased to hear from them.

More Pictures of the Toreadors

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