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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.
These photographs (above and below), taken on Broadgate Recreation Ground, give an indication of how popular it was.


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, possible 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.


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

Thanks to Brian Preston for his assistance. 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.

Jim Fearn has identified his uncle, Harry Fearn, He is on the extreme left of the bottom two photographs and is the second Toreador from the left on the third from bottom photograph.

More Pictures of the Toreadors

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