The Cleveland Police Band officially formed in 1971
Cleveland Police grew from a number of separate police forces following amalgamations in the 1970’s. Originally named Teesside for a number of years, in 1964 sections from North Yorkshire Police, Durham Police and Teesside were joined to become Cleveland Constabulary.
The history of Middlesbrough Police goes even further back but the story of the Cleveland Police Band starts in the 1960s. A period musically of great change, with the effect of numerous styles of American music to influence as well as the famous Merseybeat and the birth of the Beatles. The development of the musical and the huge film industry desperate to succeed with their Oscar nominations relied heavily on the use of music as main title and background support.
Historically, in the North East of England, the brass band has progressed, through the likes of the mining communities and Salvation Army, for perhaps the last one hundred and fifty years. In so doing it has planted a deep appreciation within the public. The popularity in radio and television has also gone a long way to bring brass band music into the public domain.
However the actual live performance of music is still regarded as a spectacle and source of entertainment that should continue. To be able to give public performances within the region is therefore, clearly an important feature of the band. Furthermore, a number of the performances are specific to other organisations, (The British Legion for example) and our support in this area goes a long way in extending the traditions of the country. Our involvement with many charities both local and national, are also well received.
To quote from one of the documents at the time, "In September 1970, the Police Committee Cleveland Constabulary sanctioned the formation of a Police Band"
Officially formed in 1971, Tony Longstaff takes up the story…..
"In the days of Middlesbrough Constabulary there was a Sergeant by the name of Bill Fall. He was a sort of Entertainments Manager for the Force and used to organise any number of outings, concert parties, etc. to which all and sundry either just attended or contributed in some way. The contributors to these concert parties came from a cross-section of society with whom Bill had come across from time to time – Ambulance Service personnel, Social Workers, Teachers and the like. There was even one bloke who used to play a musical saw!! The Police Show Band was an off-shoot of these ventures
"During the same era Bill had come across a car mechanic called Albert Longstaff who owned a Garage/Motor repair workshop on South Bank Road, Middlesbrough just about where Lawson Garages are situated now. Albert was a supreme bagpipe player. He had been Pipe Major of the 2nd Battalion Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders during his military career (having joined as a boy soldier) and was more than likely the finest piper in the Northern Hemisphere (those in the southern hemisphere couldn’t blow their nose!!) and he was one hell of a teacher of Pipe playing.
"Some time in the mid-sixties Bill Fall suggested that it would be something of an event if a Police Band was created to represent the Force and suggested that a pipe band should be created and recruited Albert as the Pipe Major. Classes were commenced and the rehearsal venue was the Gym on the top floor of Dunning Road Police Station. Those who wished to play pipes purchased ‘Chanters’ and the rest bought drumsticks. There were also plans to incorporate the Police women in a Scottish Dancing team. I also believe that Stan Salmon’s brother was recruited to take the drummers on board whilst Albert concentrated on the pipers and dancers.
"Things were moving along quite well with Colin Donnelly and Colin Bell (ex-traffic) doing a sterling job on the pipes and even giving public performances in a quartet with Albert and another chap who lived in Westbourne Grove, North Ormesby
"As with all bands, a uniform had to be decided upon and the Davison tartan was selected as the livery (representing Ralph Davison the then Chief Constable but the whole thing came to a grinding halt when, after research, it was learned that it would cost £1,000 to kit out each Band member, and so it was suggested that, having regard to the amount of interest indicated in the forming of a pipe band that it would be worth considering forming a brass band, or more realistically, a band which played brass instruments, which proved to be more economical.
"I was not involved at this time but I learned that the obvious people to approach with regard to the intricacies involved were the Salvationists within the Force, and they were Bram Cox and Clive Mason. Bram was of Officer status at the time and although he gave advice he declined the invitation to join the Band owing to his connection with the Salvation Army Band. Clive on the other hand, who I believe was Sergeant at the time, took over the baton and was the first Director of Music of the Band.
"I became involved in about 1972/3 when they were in need of a bass drummer for an Eisteddfod parade through Stockton. The regular bass drummer, Arthur Hogarth, was required to take his son to a specialist surgeon that day and as the result of a search through personal records, Bram Cox, who was the Band Officer at that time learned that I had served in the Corps of Drums whilst in the Army and rang me up with an urgent request - come order – to fill the position for the day.
I stayed with them for some years playing bass drum on parades and Flugel on concerts later transferring to the cornet bench as players moved on, etc."
Above: Cleveland Police Band
Front row L to R: Bruce Colville, Don Davison, Cliff Hunt, Howard Flattley,Director of Music Derek Harris, Sam Woodhall,Ron Phelps, Mick Allen, Mike Jones.
Second Row: Jack Findlay, Caroline Skilbeck,Bill Brown, Giles Young, Colin Purcell, Linda Purcell, Dot Robinson, Trevor Holden, Johnny Woolnough.
Third Row: Peter Coombs, Ken Robinson, Roly Masterman, Johnny Marshal, Derek Hall, Unknown, Kevin Davison, Tony Longstaff, Stan Salmon.
Back Row: John Tindale, John Raine, Arthur Hogarth, Richard Meakins, Eddie Bellerby, Barry Smith, Unknown.
Mike Jones takes up the story…..
"The Band was first mooted by the Chief Constable of Teesside Constabulary, Ralph Davison, in 1969. He sent a circular round the force inviting people interested in setting up a band to a meeting at the TA Royal Signals Band room. This was actually a rehearsal with the Signals Band, about 15 people turned up and after the practice the TA Director of Music Mr? Peacock reported back to the Chief Constable that he had a viable band.
"The Chief Constable then asked Supt Bramwell Cox and Brian Oxley to obtain a set of instruments. They located and bought a second hand set of converted instruments. The instruments were presented to our emergent band at concert given by Durham Police Band held in Middlesbrough Town Hall in early 1970.
"At the first rehearsal, which was held in the gymnasium of the now Middlesbrough Divisional Offices, we were introduced to our newly appointed Director of Music Mr. Peacock. Instruments of choice were then issued, I always remember the comments of PC John Hinchcliff who was given a Bass to play - he was only asked to go on bass because his car had a large boot!
"Rehearsals took place twice per week in the Gymnasium and quickly we had a full Band. Some of the first members were PC S Salmon (drums), PC J Hinchcliff (bass), Sgt. C Mason (solo Cornet), PC C. Donnelly (Horn), PC G.Young (Horn), Sgt. L Seamarks (euphonium), and Myself (Bass).
"During the first years we always turned out for Armistice at Redcar and Stockton Battle of Britain parade. The Band in those days did some contesting and fairly early in its History we qualified for the Wills Finals in London. This was our first trip away with the Band and the Hotel arrangements were left to one of our bandsmen Inspector D Hall who contacted a colleague in the Metropolitan Police. We arranged accommodation in a rather run down hotel in Earls Court, and needless to say we did not get anywhere in the contest.
"Shortly after this we had our first change of conductor. Mr E Boynton was appointed who was ex Royal Welsh. We also had a change of venue for rehearsals at about this time. We moved to the room above the garages at Thornaby Police Station, and apart from the stairs this was ideal as we were able to call it our own. It was at Thornaby where the late PC Swindon became our full time librarian and set up the library system, which has stood us in good stead until recently.
"We were asked in 1980 to represent Hartlepool in their twin town of Hucklehoven during the town’s celebrations. The Band set off from Middlesbrough Police station in a coach and a large hire van for the Equipment. The journey was uneventful until we hit the Dutch Motorway from Rotterdam, where the tyre on the bus burst and we had to change this on the hard shoulder. We finally arrived at our accommodation in Weltz, a small village which had a centre for use in civil emergencies. It took the band 2 days to find that just around the corner in the village was a public house, and from then on it became our evening rendezvous.
"It had been arranged that we would have our meals at the Westphalia Police Training School in Linnich. The Officers at the school invited us to tour and try their facilities and in return we gave a concert in their hall. The visit included weapons instruction and we went on their range and practiced shooting with Walther automatic pistols and Heckler and Koch Automatics. We also had the water cannon trucks to try out with water only (they could add up to 10% CS gas to the water just for added effect). We were all very impressed with the range of training they gave to their recruits. This included Language Laboratories, Ferret armoured cars, and every sort of emergency equipment you can think of.
"In Hucklehoven we were given a Civic welcome in the Rathaus. This was followed by various concerts and marches around the town, one of which was in a particularly run down area.
"After a very enjoyable week we set off back to catch the ferry from Rotterdam to Hull. When we were only a few kilometres from the Port, once again the rear tyre burst and we hadn’t a spare. We managed to limp to the ferry and the driver arranged for a new wheel to be at hull to meet us the next day.
"The Crossing, however was not a smooth one. The weather was bad with force 9 gales which delayed our arrival in the UK by some 5 hours and to compound our misery the new wheel had still not arrived. We eventually arrived back in Middlesbrough in the late afternoon.
"The band has had three further trips to Germany, A return trip to Hucklehoven, and two trips to Oberhousen."
Mike appears generally on the front row of the band photos throughout these web pages. The only change over the years is that his hair seems to get lighter.
Throughout the eighties and into the nineties an annual charity event was organised at the Billingham Forum. This included invited celebrities and groups. Locally Marske Fisherman’s choir, Hartlepool Operatic and Drama association,Coulby Newham choir, Green Lane school choir, ICI Wilton Male voice choir, Margaret Jones, John Carter and many others.
Celebrities included Bernie Clifton, Anne Nolan, Jake Thackery and Patrick Moore OBE, famous astronomer from The Sky at Night and self taught xylophone player.
During this period the police band grew in strength as a marching band and were involved in a number of events nationwide, plus Scotland and Germany. With a total of almost fifty personnel performances at passing out parades and Filey’s famous torchlight processions made the band highly desirable for events.
Ronnie Keogh was one of Middlesbrough’s most colourful characters. On the particular occasion of taking the salute in Middlesbrough, Ronnie took it upon himself to ignore the dignitaries and marching up to the podium and standing to his full 6’4” attention he commenced to outshine the event in full preparation of taking the salute, just before the parades arrival.
The above photograph shows the event shortly after his unceremonious removal and all is calm
Above: Police Band walking in Middlesbrough Town Centre.
Above: One of the many photographs of the Cleveland Police band. This one is at Stewart Park in Middlesbrough around the 1980s
Above: The Cleveland Police Showband
Joe Skilbeck - Piano, Bill Turnbull - Guitar, Stan Salmon - Drums, Terry Holloran - Guitar, Tony Longstaff - Trumpet, Johnny Marshal -Sax , Geoff Stanway - Trombone
Above: Cleveland Police Showband on stage
Above: Police Band circa 1980
Front Row L to R: Dot Robinson, Don Davison, Unknown, ACC Dave Wood, Ken Robinson, Ron Turnbull,Unknown, Unknown, Pam Tansley.
Middle row L to R: .Mal Clark, Unknown, Unknown, Mike Jones, Eric Bailey, Unknown, Lewis Dawkins, Unknown, Mal Roxborough, Peter Hollis,Unknown
Back row L to R: Unknown, Cliff Hunt, Gordon Richards, Bill Brown, Unknown, Dave Ayton, Trevor Holden, Liz Hunt, Unknown, Unknown