History of the band
The very earliest record of paper-making is from 1704, but it is from the mid of the 19th century and an interesting man named Edward Lloyd that we need to start.
In the 1840s there was Government stamp duty on newspapers which meant that no newspaper could be sold for less than 4p which was out of the reach of most working men’s pockets. Edward Lloyd produced from about 1840 what were called penny-papers, sold for a penny. Lloyd circumvented the stamp duty by never printing a story that was true. The stories would allude to the truth, but would change the locations or the people involved. He also serialised parts of novels in these papers that would be suspiciously like Dicken’s stories but would be called Oliver Twiss or David Copperful. Demand for the penny-papers was high and in 1863 Lloyd bought a site at Sittingbourne to supply his paper mill in London will straw pulp grown in the fields around Sittingbourne. The paper-making process gradually grew in Sittingbourne and by the time Lloyd had bought his respectable newspaper, the Daily Chronicle, in 1876 machinery had been installed to produce paper.
In 1883 Lloyd set up his brass band for his employees then called the Daily Chronicle Band. Ownership of the mill changed to an Eric Bowater in 1936 and for fifty years until 1986 the band was known as the Bowater Band. Since 1986 there have been more changes of ownership of the mill but the band has remained the UK Paper Band and is now affiliated to the UK Paper Leisure Club, which was formerly the mill’s social club.
In the early days of the band all the players worked at the paper mill and were given time off to attend rehearsals and play at concerts. The band was often seen at parades and processions, marching along Sittingbourne High Street. In recent times the number of players working at the mill has fallen and the band attracts players from across north Kent.
What we do
The UK Paper Band is currently going from strength to strength, under the leadership of musical director Mark Hinchliffe. The band plays at many engagements across Kent, in a variety of venues, from bandstands on the coast, to churches around North Kent, at summer fetes, or at our "home" in the Appleyard. We also love to journey further afield. In 2009 we travelled to Llandudno in North Wales for the weekend and in 2011 we spent a weekend in Staffordshire playing at The Churnet Valley Railway.
In every concert, we play a balanced programme containing varied music to suit everyone's tastes. Our repertoire contains traditional marches, and selections from popular musicals, but it also contains popular songs and some more unusual pieces as well - we provide a programme to entertain everyone!
We always welcome new players. We are not a contesting band, but enjoy making music together and entertaining the public. If you play a brass instrument then we would love to hear from you! At the moment, we would particularly welcome new players who play a drum kit.
We rehearse on a Wednesday evening at the Appleyard, Avenue of Remembrance, Sittingbourne, Kent, ME10 4DE from 7.30pm to around 9.30pm.