Saturday, 5 November 2011

Bandstands, ancient and modern

Cliftonville bandstand still exists though it's a modern reconstruction of the original Victorian one shown on this card dated 1908.  Cliftonville is a very near neighbour of Margate, once the holiday destination of choice for many Londoners.  In the foreground you can see a row of deckchairs.  Margate was the first resort (in 1898) to offer deckchairs for hire. Incidentally the town was also the first to have donkey rides on the beach (1890). 

The Deal bandstand no longer exists.  This unused card was published by JW&S Portsmouth who were publishing from 1903 to 1914.  I think the bandstand must have been demolished after WWII when a lot of reconstruction had to be done.  It had certainly gone by the 1950s, as far as I can tell.

This final picture, obviously, is a much more recent postcard.  It shows the band of the Royal Marines playing beside the Deal Memorial Bandstand - too small to shelter them all - built just over ten years ago. 

Deal has had a long history of association with the Royal Marines.  The Barracks in the town date back to 1794 and later housed the Royal Marines School of Music.  In 1989 the IRA bombed the barracks killing 11 bandsmen.  It was decided that the best memorial to the bandsmen would be to build a new bandstand.  It was made possible by donations and it opened in May 1993.  Each year the Royal Marines band returns (they moved to Portsmouth in 1996) to play a concert to a huge crowd.

A post for Sepia Saturday.

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  1. Now I come to think of it I haven't seen a bandstand in use for years, at the seaside or anywhere else. I do have some fond memories of a bandstand in the Recreation Ground in Stamford Lincolnshire - courting memoiries from over 50 years ago.
    I've always admired the band of the Royal Marines and remember that bomb with horror.

  2. Like Bob, I remember that bomb. I also recall, that whilst our family was stationed with the RAF in Rheindahlen in 1985,18 members of the RAF Germany band were killed in a motorway collision. I was teaching at one of the primary schools there at the time and the shockwaves reverberated throughout the whole community. Until I saw your wonderful pictures I’d not thought of either incident in years, and of course we must always remember them.

  3. I hope there is a movement underway to preserve the bandstands that have survived so far. They are beautiful to me, and I think they are a great reminder of our need to have "community spirit".

  4. During our time in Cornwall, our village band-leader was a former band-leader of the Royal Marines Band, at Deal. I only remember him as Jonathan.

  5. I've only seen a couple in use but I always like seeing them.

  6. On a visit to London I'm pretty sure that a band was playing in a bandstand in Hyde park. Am i right all you British folk? I'll have to dig up my old photos of the trip to verify if this bandstand really exists. Or did I dream it?
    Nancy Javier

  7. Bandstands bring to mind the Musical Box on Trumpton, or was it Chigley, or Camberwick Green? I loved them all, and still do, big kid that I am.♥

  8. Those Victorian and Edwardian bandstands are splendid structures and they do seem to be making a bit of a come-back (in the North of England at least) Several local parks have been "done up" and the bandstands returned to their former glory.

  9. I would have thought being a musician in the service was a safe job, but a lot of them were killed in WWII as well as by the IRA.

  10. I love the old- fashioned bandstands, although my experience has not been with the lovely Victorian architecture. Growing up in NYC I enjoyed the Central Park band shell as well as the band shell at Damrosch Park, right behind Lincoln Center, which always has a feast of free concerts in the summer.

  11. @Bob, the Memorial Bandstand is used every Sunday afternoon during the summer and occasionally on a Wednesday evening.

    @Little Nell, Remembrance Day is coming up of course. There are so many now...

    @Mary, I think many of them are protected in some way or another.

    @Martin, what a coincidence!

    @Odie, they are great to have.

    @Barbara and nancy, yes, there is one in Hyde Park.

    @Jinksy, I missed all those programmes. Where was I? My boys must have been too old.

    @Alan, that's good to hear.

    @Postcardy, I think that's why it's so shocking when you hear of the incidents.

    @Linda, I daresay the shels are better acoustically though I can vouch for the carrying power of the Deal bandstand.

  12. Hi Sheila, what a very interesting post! To think of being the first to put out deck chairs and donkey rides ... I bet the other resorts were having V8 moments after that.

    That is terrible that the barracks were bombed and that people doing something as nice as playing music were killed. War sucks.

    Thanks so much for stopping by to say hello,

    Kathy M.

  13. Bandstands do seem to be making a comeback. We have one here but it doesn't get as much use as I would like. I remember one of my conductors' remorse at the demise of musical performance. Music really is an interaction which is lost with recordings.

    After reading Ticklebear, perhaps not entirely lost!

  14. I just love England!! Bandstands are something I haven't seen here. As for donkey rides on the beach, I would imagine someone must follow close behind with a pooper scooper!!!

  15. RNSANE, the incoming tide does a pretty good job! I remember the bandstands on the promenade at Mrecambe, next to the huge outdoor pool. The seating area had glass walls around it to protect the listeners from the wind.

  16. Bandstands are fading into the past, and the ones that remain aren't being used enough - at least not for what they were intended. I'm glad you still have concerts in yours.


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