Queen Victoria was on the throne when a band, the fourth oldest in the Salvation Army,

was founded in Nottingham in 1880.

Then known as Nottingham 1 Band it faced opposition in the early years and difficulty obtaining instruments, but out of adversity emerged a band with 40 members who proudly marched the streets, which were often lined with city folk enjoying the spectacle.

Under the leadership of Bandmaster George Burton the band flourished playing in city parks and bandstands and taking part in various processions.

A short history of the William Booth Memorial Halls Band

The highlight, however, was the visit to the city of William Booth, the Nottingham-born founder of The Salvation Army. When he arrived at the Mechanics' Hall the band was supposed to play. See the conquering hero comes, but the men got as carried away as the crowd and stood up and cheered as he climbed the steps to the platform. When Bandmaster Burton retired Will Vickers took over, but difficult times were ahead and the start of the First World War left the band with only five men for several years.

It was during this time, however, that the William Booth Memorial Halls were opened (1915), built by the city to honour the Founder, and the band now proudly bears that name.

During his leadership the band played before the Princess Royal at the Albert Hall, took part in BBC Radio's Sunday Half Hour programme, appeared on Songs of Praise and toured Switzerland and Norway. The band were also prominent in civic engagements and in December 1959 the Chief Constable asked whether the band might present music in the City Centre on New Year's Eve in the hope that it might have a positive impact on crowd behaviour.

The event continued very successfully for some years until a firework was thrown down the bell of a bass instrument and it was thought too dangerous to carry on. Bandmaster Bristow retired in February 1986, when Band Sergeant David Garrett took over. During his 14 year period of leadership the band continued to travel the country and embarked on a memorable European tour. The centre-piece of that tour was the participation in the opening celebrations for a new Salvation Army Centre in Karlsruhe, Nottingham's twin city in Germany.

Bandmaster Duncan Cameron took over when Bandmaster Garrett retired in 2000. Under his leadership the band continued to play and travel and seek out new ways of ministry. A thriving Friends of the Band scheme now exists and under its auspices there have been great festivals in which the band has worked with some of the foremost brass virtuosi in the country. All through the years though, in addition to these highlight events, has been the week in, week out commitment to ministry in the Salvation Army Citadel and the Open Air services; in the hospitals, prisons, schools and care-homes.

Paul Cuthbert became Bandmaster in 2010 when Bandmaster Cameron retired.

This is Salvation Army banding; presenting the gospel message in music and proclaiming to all who would listen.

Also around this time, the Commanding Officer started a new instrument scheme and a complete set of our own-make instruments were purchased for a total cost of 640.

Bandmaster Sid Sutton took charge just before the Second World War, when again many of the men were called to serve their country. Will Vickers took over again when peace returned until Bandmaster Vaughan was appointed. In July, 1951, bandsman Ralph Bristow was appointed Bandmaster and held that position for 35 years.