The Early Days
Porthywaen Silver Band is based five miles south of Oswestry on the Shropshire side of the border with Powys. The band has its origins in choral music. In the 1920’s the Llynclys Hill Male Voice Choir was accompanied on cornet by Len Evans. Len then trained two other local men, Arthur Davies and Doug Lloyd, to play brass and accompany him with the choir. Cyril Gillham, an accomplished flute player, joined forces and a quartet was then in existence. The choir ceased to exist by 1934 but interest within the quartet was strong. A meeting was held on the 22nd May 1934 at a disused office at the Llynclys Hill Lime Works. It was this meeting which saw the beginnings of the Porthywaen Silver Band. Engagements were taken up and funds were raised, instruments were purchased and membership grew. The photo on the right was taken in 1934. By the end of 1934 the band’s membership had grown to some 20 players. Several of these players would have been “borrowed” from other area bands in existence at the time, such as Llandrinio, Llanymynech, Trefonnen and Llangynog.
The band has always had a ‘home grown’ policy as it mainstay in recruiting players. During the second world war the youth aspect was particularly important in keeping the band going. The photo to the left is of the youth section in 1943. One of the players shown is still playing in the band. That is Mr John Pugh MBE, who is the band’s president. John received his MBE for services to the band.
The text to the right is copied from the band’s minute book. It reads: Owing to war and black out, no meeting was held except Ladies to arrange for Rummage Sale and Social.The date is January 11 1940 but the writer has, as we all must have done at the start of a new year, used the previous year -1939 -and changed it to 1940. The war had been underway for some three months. A reflection of some of the minor but significant changes made to peacetime life. It is also interesting to note the role of females -one of fundraising and organisation of social events, not as players!