Brass bands in England followed the Industrial revolution in the early nineteenth century. Employers began to finance work bands to decrease the political unrest among their workforce. Until the second half of the nineteenth century, these bands comprised many different instruments. Politicians of each side often hired bands to enliven their campaigns. Local bands worked hard to outdo their competitors and by the 1840's, a thriving local contest circuit had grown. Taking advantage of improved mechanical skills and the growth of music departments at universities, the standards of instrumental technology and performance quickly improved. From around 1850, brass bands standardised their instruments; cornets, flugelhorn, tenor horns, baritones, trombones, euphoniums, B flat and E flat basses and percussion.
Seventy years later, in 1919, World War One bandsmen, coming back from the front line, were keen to maintain their skills and show the public what they could do. They formed the Nailsworth Silver Band. This encouraged many youngsters to take up an instrument and the band flourished for many years.
After the second world war, numbers flagged and in 1948 Nailsworth amalgamated with Horsley to become the Nailsworth & Horsley Silver Band. The band went from strength to strength in the fifties and sixties. It was during this time that Ellis Williams, doyen of the local brass band scene, took the Band to several of their contest successes, notable ones being the Minchinhampton and Brimscombe contests. Other well-known local brass bandsmen associated with Nailsworth include the late Fred Clark of Thrupp, who was still playing with the Band when well into his eighties, and the late Jock McCamley, the ex-scots Guards euphonium/trombone player whose untimely death robbed the Band of a fine musician. The McCamley Cup is now awarded annually to a promising Band member in his memory.
The band changed it's name back to Nailsworth Silver Band in the early 1970's. They performed for royalty in 1978, when Princess Anne visited Nailsworth. The Musical Director, Jim Portbury, composed a special piece of music, "Gatcombe Parle'', for the occasion.
Nailsworth Junior Brass was formed in 1998 with 10 boys and girls, most of whom had no previous musical knowledge. They quickly learned, and the numbers increased. Their first public performance was for The Home Farm Trust at Frocester Manor in December 1999.
Nailsworth Band became a registered Charity in 1985 and operates under the banner of The Nailsworth Music Society. It has its own headquarters and an extensive music library. The band has a Management Committee, which organizes and supports a wide variety of fund-raising events.
In 1988, the Brighouse & Rastrick Band were giving a Concert in Stroud. On the journey from the railway station Derek Broadbent, a famous composer of brass band music, was persuaded to write a March that we could use as a signature tune. The tune would revolve around a famous motor-car hillclimb which still runs on a hill going out of Nailsworth on the first Sunday in February every year. It has been used for motor sport since the 1920's. Derek kindly agreed to do this and a few weeks later we received the March - all hand-written parts complete with a score. His composition was a gift to the band. The Nailsworth Ladder is included in many of our performances and it always goes down well. We are very proud of our connection to Derek Broadbent.