DALKEITH & MONKTONHALL COLLIERY BAND : 1920-2000Margaret Baillie
The Band in the nineties, taken at Motherwell after a competition
Back row, 1eft to right - Irene Carstairs, Karen Scott, Fiona Campbell,
Sarah Black, Diane Scott, Gordon Burns, Philip Lodge, Garry Kennedy
Middle, left to right, Larry Blair, David Richardson, Steve Younger,
David Robb, Ross Cargill, Anne-Marie Conn, Joanne Burns, Stan Gowrie,
David McDonald, Elaine Cargill
Front row, left to right - Walter Clark, Kevin Harkness, Calum McFadyen,
Jacqueline Wilson, Euan Drysdale (Musical Director), Thomas Campbell
(Treasurer), James Murray, Bill Baillie, AIan Fernie (Conductor),
Prestonlinks Colliery Band was originally founded in 1918 immediately
after WWI. It took these First members two years to build the
band to the maximum number of 25 brass and 2 percussion. The nine
founder members were: Alex Thomson (Baritone), Ian Hay Sr (Cornet),
Ian Hay Jr (Cornet). George Baillie (Cornet). Alex Stewart, Special
Constable (Cornet). J Grundison (Bass Trombone). William Shepherd
(B Flat Bass). J Crawford (Euphonium).
They rehearsed in the Blacksmith's shop behind the Forth Garage
and grocery' shop at Cockenzie and went on to become the Prestonlinks
Colliery Brass Band. registered as a full band on I September
1921. The fundamental aim of the band was to provide light relief
to the members from their arduous task down [he mine and so. under
the baton of James Jardine and John Hay (assistant conductor),
they look the First steps to what has been a very colourful seventy
A constitution and rule book was drawn up and each member had
to pay the sum of 3d (1 1/2 p) per week to help the band's Finances,
a custom which endures to the present day.
In the following years, the band gradually began to play an active
part in the social events held wilhin the community, including
every Gala Day until 1954. It was about this time that the band
was faced with closure unless someone could be found to conduct
them. Luckily. Jim Fleming from Musselburgh who had been a boy
member became conductor and. by recruiting and training youngsters,
gradually rebuilt the band. In 1962 Prestonlinks Colliery closed
and for the next two years the band played under the name of Prestonpans
and District Miners until the miners at Monktonhall Colliery took
them under their wing with financial sponsorship. With backing
they went from strength to strength - new uniforms, and in 1966
promotion from 4th to 3rd Section and a place in the National
Finals in London.
Over the next fourteen years steady progress was made. New instruments
were purchased between 1975-80 at a cost of £25,000. boosting
morale and improving the sound. Many successcs were registered.
Scottish euphonium champion. Area Solo and Quartette champions
in 1980 with promotion to the 2nd Section.
The early eighties were a golden period when a major prize came
their way at even contest they attended. By 1984 they were Scotland's
Band of the Year. but from this year on things went into decline.
As the workforce at the pit dwindled so did the financial sponsorship
and the band was forced to survive on the subscriptions of its
members. Things went from bad to worse, at one time only ten members
were left out of the usual thirty five. This malady was not common
to Prestonpans only but to many other bands throughout Britain.
Another band in the area facing similar problems was Dalkeith
Burgh Band and. in 1987. in order to survive, the two bands amalgamated
to be known as Dalkeith and Monktonhall Colliery band.
In 1992. the band secured the sendees of a new Director of Music.
AIan Fernie. the well-known composer and arranger and within a
few weeks had won a prize at the Mineworkers Contest in Blackpool,
a feat he repeated annually for the next five years. In Scotland
too honours and promotion came the band's way. At the Scottish
Championships in February 1996 they were awarded I st place in
the 1st Section and gained promotion to the Championship Section.
In the present time they arc one of the top ten bands in Scotland.
The band still continues to play a large part in the local community
and boasts a close link with founder-member George Baillie, namely
his son Bill who plays solo euphonium and has been a key player
for 46 years making him the longest serving member, and Joanne
Burns who. like her grandfather George, plays cornet and has been
with the band for 12 years.
So the music goes on into the 21st Century bringing with it new
challenges and high hopes for the band's future in its eightieth
year.to march off in the year 2000 with the - "Star of the
East Flute Band".