The Band’s Homes
Since the band was established in 1934 it has had several ‘homes’, all in the Porthywaen area. The map shows the different dates and locations. The quarrying background of the area is shown by the many embankments, cuttings and railway lines. There is still a working quarry close to the current band hall. Two other major quarries have closed down some time ago. There are stories of cramped conditions where players had to temporarily leave the building whilst players of the larger instruments were seated. Central heating consisting of a large coal-burning stove in the middle of the room – those nearest got roasted and those at the edge of the room were frozen. At one time the function room at the Red Lion was used for the youth section. The seniors played in the band hall across the road. The Red Lion is still across the road from the band hall but has been re-branded as The Lime Kilns.
The current band hall was built on land donated by John Casewell and was opened in 1964. The hall is a monument to community working and dogged determination as it was built by volunteer labour and no Lottery grants! The building took several years to complete with work stopping in the winter weather.
Both playing and non-playing members of the community were involved in the building process. The architect for the building was Mr John Pugh MBE – conductor of the senior and youth bands for many years, continuing to play in the senior band and currently the band’s president.
When the next door Porthywaen Primary school closed, the band purchased the redundant ‘mobile’ classroom and incorporated it into the band hall. The classroom was used mainly for younger players and known as Room 87 after the year it was put in place. The picture alongside is the main concert hall. The picture below is the replacement hall for Room 87.
That’s the end of the history trail for now.