2017: Upcoming Papers, Publications & Research


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Ever since I began my PhD, back in 2007, and finally graduated in 2015, December and January have proved to be busy times not only for research, but also for writing and conferences. So it has proved to be this year. Why the darkest time of the year is the busiest, I have no idea. Nevertheless, here is an outline of current papers, publications and research for 2017.

January the 21st will find me at the University of Durham where I will be giving a paper at the conference: A Great Divide or a Longer Nineteenth Century? Music, Britain and the First World War. This paper is based on research carried out for the Royal Northern College of Music’s project Making Music in Manchester during World War One. The paper will argue that the repertoire played in Manchester’s Public Parks during the conflict reinforced a Victorian ideal of nation and patriotism. The abstract is shown below:

Conference theme number four: In what ways did popular music—whether repertoire, performers, or the industry—change because of the war? In what ways did it carry on Edwardian and Victorian traditions?

 Brass Band Music, Contests and Entertainment in Manchester’s Public Parks in World War One: Reinventing Repertoire, Patriotism and Tradition?

Manchester was the gathering point for brass bands in the industrial regions surrounding Manchester. From the 1840s the growth of brass bands in the region was rapid. In spite of being a national movement, by 1914, the British Bandsman stated that ‘it could not be denied that the cradle of the brass band was on the slopes of the Pennine Chain.’[1] During the war years Manchester was significant for bands because the British ‘Open’ Contest at Belle Vue Gardens was the only large contest that kept going. In addition, bands played regularly in Manchester’s public parks.

1913 was a watershed year for the brass band movement. Labour and Love, Percy Fletcher’s tone poem, was performed at the Crystal Palace Contest.[2] Labour and Love was significant as it was composed music of some substance that was available to all bands.[3] It was the first test piece that was composed for the standardised brass band line-up and that the sources can account for fully. Composers such as Elgar and Bliss would soon follow.

In spite of the brass band movement moving away from its standard repertoire I will show that not only did older working-class traditions of music-making reinforce Victorian and Edwardian values in the public space, but also that public performance encouraged patriotism by reinventing patriotic themes found throughout British history.

.[1] British Bandsman (18 April, 1914), p. 349.

[2] Jack L. Scott, The Evolution of the Brass Band and its Repertoire in Northern England (unpublished PhD Thesis, University of Sheffield, 1970), p. 267.

[3] Paul Hindmarsh,’Building a Repertoire: Original Compositions for the British Brass Band, 1913-1998’, in, Trevor Herbert (Ed.), The British Brass Band: A Musical and Social History (Oxford,2000), p. 248.

February will be publication time and I have a piece coming out in the respected journal Northern History.

The article,  Southern Pennine Brass Bands and the Creation of Northern Identity, c. 1840-1914: Musical Constructions of Space, Place and Region examines the ‘northernness’ of brass bands as as constructed metonym in popular culture.

In spite of being a national form of music-making the brass band movement is accepted -almost without question in the popular imagination – as working class and northern. Hence, writing The Times, in 1974, Peter Hennessy described a band contest at the Albert Hall:

A roll call of the bands is like an evocation of industrial history. From Wingates Temperance and Black Dyke Mills to more modern conglomerates […]. Grown men, old bandsmen say, have been known to cry at the beauty of it all […]. Of all the manifestations of working-class culture, nothing is more certain than a brass band to bring on an attack of the George Orwells. Even the most hardened bourgeois cannot resist romanticizing the proletariat a little when faced with one.

This stereotype, which emerged in the nineteenth century, generated the following questions about northern identity: What elements in the brass band movement created this reportage of northern bandsmen and how did bands, which thrived in large numbers in the Southern Pennines, emerge as a musical and cultural metonym of the industrial landscape? This article explores notions of music-making and the creation of a musical space, place and region through the reporting of brass bands c. 1840-1914.

Ongoing research for 2017 includes women in brass and military bands, masculinity and militarism in the brass band, and a biography of a well-known Victorian singing teacher. I am also being drawn towards local rock music, and an exploration of discos in the 1980s. 

So, for someone without a full-time position, it feels full-time. Keeping in the loop, that’s the key to moving forwards in academia, I think.

 

Brass Bands as A Stereotype of the North


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On the 24 February I will be  leading another session of ‘Slate-Grey Rain and Polished Euphoniums’: Brass Bands, the Working Class and the North, ca. 1840-1914, at Heritage Quay Archive Centre, at the University of Huddersfield. This short adult-education course explores why, in the popular imagination, and, almost without question, the brass band movement should be such a powerful symbol of northern working-class identity? This question is all the more surprising when we recognise that the brass band movement was a national movement in this period. Why, in other words, were the brass bands of the Southern Pennines at the centre of this creation of northern working-class culture, ca. 1840-1914? The  Course Handbook can be downloaded and if  you would like to discuss arranging the course for your learning centre email me for more details.

Session one examined how the manufacturing districts of Yorkshire and Lancashire  developed a reputation as a centre of excellence for amateur working-class music making. This gave brass bands a secure foundation to begin a leisure pursuit that would become a highly recognisable working-class hobby. This region was also where influential historians, such as E.P. Thompson, Eric Hobsbawm and Patrick Joyce,  have turned to understand how labouring people lived their lives during  the ‘classic’ period of class formation. We discovered how the history of labouring people could be understood by the examination and use of local archives. This was an approach advocated by Asa Briggs and the journal Chartist Studies and as such influenced a significant amount of research into working-class identity.

Session two developed this idea further and we examined a significant amount of archival documents and discovered how bandsmen ‘invented a tradition’ of music-making that was self-replicating, mentor driven and spread by a semi-oral transmission of style. This resulted in bandsmen creating their own working-class identity with their own rituals and customs, made up of concerts and in particular a regular contest season.

 

 

Session three will examine how and why brass bands should be considered a northern phenomenon?

In 1907, the popularity of the national brass band contest at London’s Crystal Palace led the Musical Herald to reflect on two of the bands that were taking part in the contest. They were Wingates Temperance Brass Band, formed in 1873, near the north-west town of Westhoughton, in Lancashire, and Goodshaw Brass Band, formed in 1867, at Goodshawfold, in east Lancashire’s Rossendale Valley, an author in the Musical Herald wrote:

 

Where is Wingates? Where is Goodshaw? You don’t know. The same answer might be given regarding scores of villages whence bands came on Sept. 28th to the Crystal Palace […]. We have had bands for a generation past coming out of the unknown and making their villages famous.[1]

Wingates Temperance Band, 1907

 

 

Goodshaw Band, 1903

 

 

Such questions, clearly aimed at a musical audience outside of the region, showed that the industrial north contained communities where brass bands flourished. This session explores how the bandsmen, and the brass bands of the Southern Pennines, influenced the construction of an idea of the north: In spite of being a national movement the bandsmen, through their culture of brass bands, contributed to a clichéd perception of the north that flourished well before 1914.

There were a significant number of ‘crack’ bands that came from the Southern Pennines and these bands were emulated by others. Yet this does not account fully for their distinctiveness, as other areas of the country had equally strong brass band traditions. It is undeniable that the Southern Pennines had a strong tradition of music-making and musical appreciation, but there was a great deal of activity in other areas of the country. By the late nineteenth century virtually every town and village in the country had at least one kind of amateur musical ensemble, and Dave Russell has argued that ‘the brass band was perhaps the most pervasive of all.’[2] Alun Howkins, for example, discovered 148 bands in rural Oxfordshire alone that were active between 1840 and 1914.[3] Brass band periodicals reported on the activities of bands from almost every corner of the country.

 

This session will explore how the brass band did not so much create separate identities for Yorkshire or Lancashire but brought them together as a recognisable ‘north’ that southern readers could identify as a specific industrialised north, often without clear boundaries. Moreover, this north was a place that represented industrial and urban manual labour over commerce and agriculture. The press and brass band periodicals between 1840 and 1914 provided an anthropological view of ‘northernness’ that focussed upon the manufacturing districts of the Southern Pennines. As a result of this reporting, to the northern and the southern Victorian and Edwardian observer, brass bands represented an example of the clash of values between northern and southern identity.

As before we have many archival documents to unpack and analyse.

 

[1] Musical Herald (1 November, 1907), p. 342.

[2] David Russell, The Popular Music Societies of the Yorkshire Textile District, 1850-1914: A Study of the Relationships between Music and Society (PhD Thesis, University of York, 1979), p. 316.(In the south and west of England Russell points out that they are more accurately described as ‘brass and reed’ or ‘military’ bands.)

[3] Alun Howkins, ‘Whitsuntide in Nineteenth-Century Oxfordshire’ History Workshop Pamphlet, No 8 (1973), cited in Russell, The Popular Music Societies of the Yorkshire Textile District, p. 316.

Publications and Ongoing Research


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On this page are a selection of my publications and ongoing research. I am happy to give guest lectures, host seminars and offer adult-education programmes and tutoring  based on the themes raised in my research. The key themes are class, culture, community, gender, region.

I  can also offer seminars and advice on managing post-graduate study. Themes could include time-management, project management, academic writing, conference organisation, networking, motivation, dealing with research isolation and mining for research ideas. Email me for more details.

Books

Anne Baldwin, Chris Ellis, Stephen Etheridge, Keith Laybourn and Neil Pye (Eds) Class, Culture and Community: New Perspectives in Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Labour History (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, 2012)

Abstract:

In recent years historians have debated fervently on the reason for the
decline of British Labour History as an academic discipline. Most certainly
the challenge of Thatcherism to the working classes and trade unions in the
1980s, and the fragmentation  of Labour history into gender studies,
industrial studies  and women’s history, have contributed to its apparent
decline. Post-modernists challenges to the concept of class, culture and
community have done their damage. As a result “Labour history “, in its
broad-school sense, has been taught less and less in British universities.
Yet it survives and there are grounds for believing that it will revive.

This collection of chapters arose from a conference held at the University
of Huddersfield in November 2010, held under the auspices of the Society for
the Study of Labour History, where nineteen papers were presented. Ten of
this disparate array of papers form the basis of this collection and one has
been produced separately. The theme of community and localised struggle form
the first section, ranging as it does from the newspapers representation of
Yorkshire miners to brass bands and the development of separate culture. The
second section deals with the more  traditional trade unionism and varieties
of industrial struggle. The third section focuses upon the political aspects
of working-class activity, drawing upon the role of women, and Labour policy
on steel nationalisation and defence. The fourth deals with radicalism,
ranging from the failure of Chartism, the policy of working-class
organisations to emigration, and the failure of the “soft” section of the
British left in the 1920s and 1930s. There is no all-embracing concept here
for what is a varied collection of chapters. However, what can be said is
that British labour history continues to provide new areas for research.
Indeed, its death as an academic discipline has been greatly exaggerated.
This collection of book chapters represents the current revival in Labour
history which has emerged in a form that brings together community and
culture alongside class and political representation to explore the breadth
and depth of working-class identity.

Chapters in Books:

Etheridge, Stephen,  ‘Brass Bands in the Southern Pennines, 1857-1914: The Ethos of Rational Recreation and Perceptions of Working-Class Respectability’ in, Class, Culture and Community: New Perspectives in Nineteenth and Twentieth Century British Labour History (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle-upon-Tyne), pp. 37-54.

Etheridge, Stephen, ‘Music as a Lifelong Pursuit for Bandsmen in the Southern Pennines, c.1840-1914: Reflections on Working-Class Masculinity’ in, Catherine Haworth and Lisa Colton (Eds.) Gender, Age and Musical Creativity (Ashgate, 2015) pp. 80-100

Abstract:

This chapter examines musical careers that run in parallel with brass players’ employment in the industrial north of England. Focusing particularly on notions of masculinity in the brass band movement of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, I find a strong linkage between the construction of masculine ideals in Victorian society, in terms of the value placed on economic independence and moral behaviour, and the expression of those ideals in the homosocial space of the band room and in public performance.

Forthcoming Articles:

Etheridge, Stephen, The Brass Band and Perceptions of the North: Musical Constructions of Space, Place and Region c. 1840-1914 in Northern History pp. tbc

 

Articles Under Consideration:

Etheridge, Stephen, ‘Representations of the Working Class and the Construction of Cultural Identity: Brass Band Contests, Brass Bands, and Bandsmen in the Press, c. 1840-1914’ in the journal Labour History Review

Brass_Band_News_1938
A Nice Find

 Ongoing Research:

Punk Rock in East Lancashire’s Rossendale Valley, c. 1978-1982: Representations of Conflict and Resolution in a Traditional Working-Class Community

Two Punks

The Deeply Vale Rock Festival

Pop Fans

Women and Jazz in A 1930’s Staffordshire Town

elke's

Women Brass Musicians in Military and Brass Bands, c. 1940-1960

The Reception of Jazz in Britain, c. 1900-1930

The Nineteenth-Century Choral Society and Civic Identity, c. 1840-1914

Music Clubs and Leisure c. 1930-1950

Provincial Nightclubs and Social Identity, c. 1969-1990

 

 

Selection of Guest Lectures


Shown below are a selection of conference papers and guest lectures that I have given. They cover all aspects of brass bands as an expression of class, culture, region and gender. I am available to give tuition, speak at guest lectures, or host seminars using these themes to explore social history and musicology. In addition a short adult education course about brass bands, class and regional identity is available. Please email me for more information.ugd0072

 

Where the Brass Band is Beloved: The Pennine Brass Band and the Working Class a Study of Cultural and Regional Association, 1840-1914

Abstract:

In 1974 Peter Hennessy reported on the National Brass Band Contest, at the Royal Albert Hall, he highlighted the metonyms of working-class cultural and industrial history that brass bands were capable of producing, writing:

A roll call of the bands is like an evocation of industrial history From Wingates Temperance and Black Dyke Mills to more modern conglomerates like the far from poetic Williams…Grown men, old bandsmen say, have been known to cry at the beauty of it all….. Of all the manifestations of working-class culture, nothing is more certain than a brass band to bring on an attack of the George Orwells. Even the most hardened bourgeois cannot resist romanticising the proletariat a little when faced with one.

As Hennessy  suggested, whilst the brass band was a national musical experience for working people, that was also popular in the rest of the nation, most notably Cornwall, Scotland and Wales, it is most readily associated with, and indeed has become a cliché of northern working-class culture.  By 1914, The British Bandsman reflected on the fact that, ‘it could not be denied that the cradle of the brass band was on the slopes of the Pennine Chain.’Eric Hobsbawm argues that working-class traditions were invented from 1870 to 1914. The working-class world of labour with a capital L, cup-finals, fish-and-chip suppers, community singing,  performing  Messiah in crowded town halls and the palais-de-danse, that Richard Hoggart wrote bitter-sweet elegies about in the 1950s, all have their roots in memories of working-class life.  This paper will examine reportage of brass bands in the media from c.1880 to 1914, exploring the reasons why popular images of the brass band movement should centre themselves on the northern industrial working class.

Brass Instruments, Bandsmen and Working-Class Identity: Brass Bands in the Southern Pennines and the Creation of Working-Class Identity, c.1840-1900

Abstract:

In 1840, John Murgatroyd was the owner of Oats Royd’s Mill, near Halifax. He purchased seven brass instruments for a fledgling brass band, within ten years he had thirty three players and a number of Besson First Class instruments worth over a thousand pounds. The questions that arise from such philanthropy are how bandsmen in the area used such instruments to create a cultural working-class identity that is still with us today? What elements of musicianship and working-class identity came together by playing these instruments?

‘The Mournful Sounds of a Cornet….’ Music as a Lifelong Pursuit for Bandsmen in the Southern Pennines, c.1850-1914: Reflections on Working-Class Musical Traditions and the Reinforcement of Working-Class Masculinity through these Traditions.  

Abstract:

In 1888, the Musical World noticed brass players practicing so they could join a brass band, writing ‘….. From many a small cottage in country villages, or in the back streets of a Lancashire town, may be heard the mournful sounds of a cornet… as the mechanic struggles to make his evenings a preparation for harmonious concerts later on, when he shall have qualified for admission to the nearest amateur band he can find.’  Then a player could be a member of a band for life, a trait noticed by The Observer, when they wrote, ‘in old age he may end up with the BB flat bass, the deepest instrument of them all, requiring the lungs of a glassblower to fill it.’  This lifelong performance, then, not only created a working-class musical tradition, but also reinforced aspects of working-class masculinity common in the industrial north. This paper examines how the brass band created a metonym of working-class culture and identity that was a powerful expression of working-class masculinity.

‘Dancing was Afterwards­ Indulged In and Kept up Until a Late Hour’. The Pennine Brass Band as the Social Cement of the Community?­

Abstract:

In 1907, The Musical Herald wrote:

Where is Wingates? Where is Goodshaw? You don’t know. The same answer might be given regarding scores of villages whence bands came on Sept.28th to the Crystal Palace…. We have had bands for a generation past coming out of the unknown and making their villages famous.

The Musical Herald showed that despite large industrial output the Southern Pennines consisted of small communities. Brass bands were at the heart of community life. If not the reason for the community event, they were a constant presence at them.
Specifically, it was the band room that acted as a rallying point for the identity of the bands. This paper will show how the brass bands’ community identity grew from individual player, to instrumental section, to band. I show how the band room acted as the social cement that brought the communities musical identity together to represent the village in a larger area from c. 1850-1910. Cloud 14

 

‘Slate-Grey Rain and Polished Euphoniums’:Course Handbook


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The course document for the upcoming short course at Heritage Quay at the University of Huddersfield can be downloaded here: Course Handbook

At the moment the course is fully booked, please use the email supplied in the handbook to reserve any places that may occur.

If mentioning the course on social media please use the hashtag #SlateGreyRain @Heritage_Quay

A Short Adult-Education Course: ‘Slate-Grey Rain and Polished Euphoniums: Brass Bands, The Working Class and the North, c. 1840-1914


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In February 2016 I will be leading a short adult-education course at Heritage Quay – the archive department of Huddersfield University.  I am enthusiastic about this course as I will be exploring popular music as an expression of social history. Shown below is the course outline and session plans.

Course Outline:

Brass Bands have become a clichéd representation of northern working-class culture. Hence, in 1974, Peter Hennessy described a band contest at the Albert Hall:

A roll call of the bands is like an evocation of industrial history. From Wingates Temperance and Black Dyke Mills to more modern conglomerates […]. Grown men, old bandsmen say, have been known to cry at the beauty of it all […]. Of all the manifestations of working-class culture, nothing is more certain than a brass band to bring on an attack of the George Orwells. Even the most hardened bourgeois cannot resist romanticizing the proletariat a little when faced with one.1

1 The Times (11 October, 1974).

This stereotype, which emerged in the nineteenth century, generated the following questions that can be explored through three seminars held at Heritage Quay in Huddersfield. What musical and social elements in the performance of brass band music strengthened working-class cultural identity in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries? How did bands, which thrived in large numbers in the Southern Pennines, emerge as a musical and cultural metonym of the industrial landscape?

This series of three seminars examines internal and external reporting of elements of brass musicianship in brass bands that constructed working class and northern identities. From the archives the seminar participants will gain an understanding of why and how brass bands have become such a powerful metaphor for northern working-class identity. An outline of music-making in the north shows how the region supported bands’ development when they began to emerge from the 1830s. This highlights the many different types of music-making in the region and there will be an exploration of the reasons why the area was considered musical. Brass musicianship and musical performance strengthened working-class cultural identity. Explorations of musical performances, leisure, rational recreation, social networks, gender and region all combine to produce a fuller understanding of the northern working class between c.1840 and 1914

This short course is designed to appeal to wide range of adults who have an interest in local and regional history. I should point out that no musical knowledge is required for this course. The course will examine local documents and recourses to explore the history of the well-known brass band tradition of the region. As such the history of brass bands will give the participants the opportunity to examine local archive material that is not only often new to the historical record but also, until recently, neglected in social history and musicology. An exploration of brass band history adds to the understanding of the origins of stereotypes about working-class culture and northern identity that emerged, and came under scrutiny, from 1840-1914. As such the seminar participants gain a secure foundation with which to explore the social networks that emerge from musical groups if they wish to pursue their own archival research.

Seminar 1. (2 hours)

Music-Making in the North of England: An Overview of the Creation of a Musical Region

Learning Outcomes:

An outline of music-making in the north will show the participants that the north contained all classes and cultures, nevertheless, as industrialisation progressed, working-class musicianship began to gain ascendancy and become noticed as a cultural identity in the industrial north. The participants will gain knowledge of how this happened.The participants will have an understanding of why brass instruments became so popular in this early period.

Seminar 2. (2 hours)

Working-Class Cultural Identity and Musical Performance: The Northern Brass Band and the Invention of Musical Traditions

Learning Outcomes:

The participants will examine archive material to explore how northern brass bands created an invented tradition of music-making.

Seminar 3. ( 2Hours)

Rational Recreation and Perceptions of Working-Class Respectability

The archives will give a background to the social networks that emerged in the contest arena, particularly homosocial and masculine groups.

The participants will have an understanding of how the brass band contest created an arena for not only working-class masculinity but also wider social networks to flourish.

The participants will understand how to interpret newspaper and periodical reports. (Who wrote it, why was it written and in what context?)

The participants will understand that even though the brass band was a national movement it was chiefly external and middle-class commentators that created the northern cliché.

The participants will understand that the themes of class, culture, community and gender are hidden within the archives of all musical groups and can be used to help understand the social and working lives of people from the past.