A rare photo came to light recently showing some members of a Brass Band, partly in uniform, in the grounds of Duff House. With the kind assistance of Gavin Holman who has extensively researched early Brass Bands throughout the UK, as well as our own research, we have been able to ascertain that in the last half of the nineteenth century and the early part of the twentieth, four different Banff Brass Bands have been recorded. The first was around 1857/1860 when there was also the Banff Rifle Volunteers Brass Band. Mr Sutherland then organised a Brass Band in 1893, but it seems that was different from the one conducted by Mr R W Hutcheson around 1899. This latter is recorded as parading around the streets of Banff on Hogmanay for the turn of the century – although they did stop for midnight!
But this photo clearly shows the band members in and around a motor car; now identified as a Renault Limousin (there were several models) which were only built from 1912 onwards.
A new Banff Brass Band was formed by Mr Arthur Wilson in the summer of 1913 and it is supposed that this photo must be this band. One of their first engagements it seems was at the Macduff Swimming Gala on Wed 20th July, held of course in the harbour (20 years before Tarlair was built). No doubt they also attended many other local events. They also organised their own dances including at St Andrews Hall. But on Wed 30th July they played at the opening of the new Tea Rooms at Duff House Golf Course on Wed 30th July 1913 (by this time Duff House itself was a Sanatorium); in view of the location of the photo perhaps this is the date of the photo.
The location is shown on this map by the red arrow.
The Vinery can be seen in the photo and on the map, and it is of course more than fifty years before the present “New Road” was built from Banff Bridge to the town. The present road is raised on an embankment, but the original Duff House drive was not, as show in the photo below. The main photo of this Story was taken just to the centre left of this image, looking left to right across the driveway.
The view in the main picture above therefore, looking north, is through gaps in the hedge, to the original Airlie Gardens (as they are known today) as laid out in the 1860’s by Lady Agnes, wife of the fifth Earl Fife, through to the Vinery. The map shows the part of the old Barnyards – the old Duff House stables – that can be seen to the left in the photo. The first Golf Club Pavilion – Tea Rooms? – is out of sight to the right of the main photo. The main photo of this Story was taken towards the centre right of this photo of the Pavilion.
Note: For eagle-eyed readers please note the 1928 OS map as shown above depicts the new Golf Club Pavilion opened in 1926, not the original as in the photo above. It also shows an extra greenhouse in Airlie Gardens built circa 1925, not there in the main photo where the view is right through to the Vinery.
If any reader has any further information, or insights, into this Brass Band or photo, we would welcome them being in touch.