Abertillery Town Band’s 50th Anniversary: Why is Brass Banding ignored in Wales?

Wales since 1945

Abertillery Town Band’s uniform emblem, displaying the town’s mining heritage – Photograph by author.

The 50th anniversary of Abertillery Town Band marks a significant point in the band’s history. So why have historians of Wales ignored what is arguably an iconic part of Welsh history? Whilst brass banding isn’t unique to Wales, it is an important part of its history. Whilst studying the history of brass banding in Wales is difficult, its links to the mining community, identity, and importance to the individual cannot be ignored.

Background

Brass instruments have been used in bands since the early nineteenth century. Enderby Jackson claimed that two brass bands formed in 1832 were the first in Britain.[1] However, the information is contentious. Jackson said one was based in Pontybydurum, although there is not a village of that name. Nonetheless, this information was cited in several works on brass bands ‘without discrimination’.

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