Award-winning 150-year-old band fears future 'in jeopardy' as devastating rent hike risks leaving it homeless

Award-winning 150-year-old band fears future 'in jeopardy' as devastating rent hike risks leaving it homeless

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GB News
George Bunn

By George Bunn

Published: 22/01/2024

- 11:35

Gresley Colliery Band has been practicing at the Old Hall for the last five decades

An award winning brass band faces being chucked out of its home for the last 50 years over a rent hike.

Gresley Colliery Band in Swadlincote, South Derbyshire is facing being chucked out of their home over a dispute with trustees at Gresley Old Hall.

The band, which dates back to around 1850, served a 28-day eviction notice from Gresley Old Hall. The band is now urgently seeking a new home and welcomes any suggestions or offers from the community.

Members of the band have said they are determined to "preserve their rich legacy" and find a new location to base themselves.

\u200bGresley Colliery Band

Gresley Colliery Band is looking for a new home

Gresley Colliery Band

Band spokesperson Craig Stevens said: "The current situation has arisen due to the Gresley Old Hall trustees proposing a significant rent increase for the volunteer-led community band.

"Despite efforts to negotiate a more reasonable rent, and requests for an extension to find a new home, the trustees have served an abrupt 28-day eviction notice.

"Gresley Colliery Band has been an integral part of Swadlincote for 150 years, with a music room at Gresley Old Hall for 50 years. Our youngest player is nine and our oldest 80.

"We are disheartened by the trustees' decision to force us out without giving us the opportunity to discuss the matter, or providing us with the time needed to secure an alternative location."


Gresley Old Hall

The band have rehearsed at Gresley Old Hall for the last 50 years

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The announcement comes at a key time for the band as the band is set to enter major brass band competitions.

Band manager Matt Pope added: "The band has a packed schedule for this year starting with the Annual Area competition, we also support the Council, Rotary Club, South Derbyshire Music Centre, Churches Together and Cherish to mention just a few.

"Our Youth and Community Band is becoming ever more successful in its own right, with new players looking to join all the time.

"On top of our players in the International Staff Band of the Salvation Army, we even have young players in the Fodens Motorworks Youth Band, Derbyshire County Bands, even the prestigious National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain and one of our ex-players has gone on to become Solo Cornet at His Majesty the King’s Royal Marines.

"Without a permanent band room all of this is now in jeopardy."

Much like other mining towns across the country, Swadlincote's Gresley Colliery Band was formed from mineworkers in the 19th century.

The colliery, which had merged with nearby Cadley Hill Colliery in 1967, officially closed in 1988. However, the band continued with members of the South Derbyshire and nearby East Staffordshire community.

Anyone who may be able to accommodate the band in the South Derbyshire area is being encouraged to get in touch with secretary

The trustees at Gresley Old Hall have been contacted for a comment.

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