The origin of the Foden’s Band goes back to 1900 when the village of Elworth and Sandbach in Cheshire held a celebration after the Relief of Mafeking during the Boar War. Various local bands including the “Sandbach Volunteer Brass band” and the “Wheelock Temperance Band” took part but were delayed by the generosity of a local landlord who offered them free drinks. Things didn’t quite go to plan as when the bands were due to march to Elworth they decided to take advantage of the free drinks and stayed in Sandbach rather than march to Elworth for the return leg of the march. Outraged at being let down by the bands a group of prominent members of Elworth decided to form their own band for such occasions and so the Elworth Band (Later the ‘Elworth Silver Band’) was formed.
Unfortunately a difference of opinion about performances in the area to celebrate the Coronation of King Edward VII on the 26 June 1902 (Postponed until 9 Aug 1902) again meant the disbandment of the Elworth Band only to be resurrected by Edwin Foden of the local Steam Wagon Works. Now under the name ‘Foden Motor Waggon Works Band’ (Later the ‘Foden Motor Wagon Works Band’ and finally the ‘Foden Motor Works Band’) they had modest ambitions for the first few years, but in 1908 after a fundamental reorganization had taken place they achieved Championship Section status, a prestigious position that has been maintained ever since.
1914 Fodens in Prussian uniformThe band has been delighted to play by Royal Command on four occasions: in 1913 for King George V and Queen Mary on a visit to Crewe (23 Apr 1913), in 1938 at Windsor Castle for King George V1 and Queen Elizabeth (24 April 1938) and again on the 29 Aug 1940 this time at the Crewe Alexandra Football Ground in Cheshire. Most recently on the 3 June 1983 the band had the honour of playing for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace.
In wartime the band toured Europe for ENSA (1939-45) and in peacetime it has toured Canada, South Africa and Israel.
By the 1980’s lorry making in Sandbach was on a downward turn and the company which had for many years sponsored the band sold its assets on the 13 October 1980 to the “Paccar Company of Seattle”, USA. They decided that the band were a great asset to the company and decided to keep its sponsorship going.
Two years later it was a different story. Now renamed the “Sandbach Engineering Company” they told Allan Littlemore (Band Manager) that they had decided to withdraw funding for the famous Brass Band on the 31 December 1982.
With National coverage of the situation and an appeal by Harry Mortiner for a savour the band’s prayers were answered by Richard Carlton Tickell who had seen the coverage and decided to do something about it.
As owner of OTS (Overseas Technical Service) he took over the sponsorship of the band and now the Fodens OTS Band were back in business. His involvement was short lived as he died on the 14 December 1982 and his family inherited the band. However due to problems with the company in June 1986 they decided that funding would cease and a new sponsor had to be found.
In July 1986 the band accepted sponsorship from the Britannia Building Society becoming the Britannia Building Society Foden Band. However after a member of the public at a concert at Dunham Massey (9 -10 July 1988) standing next to Managing Director Michael Shaw of the Britannia Building Society, said that she had always enjoyed listening to the “Fodens” brass band. It was considered that the name of Foden over rode the sponsor’s name and so it was decided to drop it while they sponsored the band.
The band has maintained its position as one of the country’s leading bands, becoming BBC Band of the Year in 1990 and 1992 and European Champions in 1992, French Open Champions in 1998 along with becoming All England Masters Champions in 1990, 1991, 1994 and 1995.
In 1997 the band accepted new sponsorship from the French Instrument manufacturer Antoine Courtois that also allowed the band to use its original name of Fodens. Making their contest debut with their new name due on the 6 Sept 1997 at the “British Open Championships”, Symphony Hall, Birmingham it was unfortunately delayed the funeral of Princess Diana. This meant that the 13 Sept 1997 concert at Huddersfield Town Hall saw them with their new name of Fodens (Courtois) Band.
In 2003 the band became the Fodens Richardson Band when Richardson Developments of Oldbury, Birmingham took over the Sponsorship.
By the end of 2007 and the start of 2008 the Foden band were again looking for sponsorship as the Richardson association came to an end. Instead of one major sponsor the band has become self-financing and has joined a number of organisations who have become “Partners” in the band.
Let´s drink the hard working people, let´s drink to the salt of the earth … and listen another wonderful Britsch brass album with beautiful tunes for christmas !
Still alive and well: Live at the Royal Albert Hall, London (2015)
Foden´s Motor Works Band conducted by Rex Mortimer
Northwich & District Festival Choir conducted by Cyril Dawes
01. Christmas Prelude (Traditional) 4.02
02. All On A Christmas Morning (Amers) 5.50
03. A Christmas Offering (Golland) 11.31
04. Hark The Herald Angels Sing (Mendelssohn) 2.42
05. Carol Of The Bells (Bearcroft/Mawey) 1.27
06. Sans Day Carol (Traditional) 3.03
07. Jingle Bells (Traditional) 1.50
08. Away In A Manger (Kirkpatrick) 2.12
09. Hail To The Lord’s Annointed (Ball/Montgomery) 5.08
10. Ring Out Wild Bells (Fletcher) 4.13
11. Drummer Boy (Simeone/Onorati/David) 2.23