Cheshire Observer – Saturday 05 June 1897



Sir, — It seems funy than an ould woman lik me with one fut in the grav and the other in a red flanel bag cose of rewmatiks shud have to rite to the papers, but nobody els seems to tak our part, and I wont stand it no longer. It’s about that Neston band. I am the sam age as her grachus magestik, an I’ve been a member of the Ladies’ Club 60 years turned, but I never ‘eard the like of this afore. Play agen no indeed! W’y there is two of them banders — l wont giv no nams — that bin lade akros my nee mor than wance, and got it ‘ot afore they was ut of froks I mean— an now they’re goin to play agen folks that filled ther wescots with vittles and ther pockets with mony every club, I remember the time, I darsay it is fifty years ago, wen Mester Yarker was the parson, there was a hopposition band and we had a playakters band from Liverpoole. They had to go back urly so we had a dance on the Cockpit. Mester Wolley, the register, him as my nevyew says does the hatches matches and dispatches, played the flute an’ Samuel Miller played the big drum, an’ somebody else played the fiddle. That was the best dance I ever had. Play agen, no indeed ! Looks well playin agen sik folkes that depends on the green money to get ‘um a bit of sumthin’ extra when they took bad. Some folks is never sathisfide. The more they gets the more they wants. It ‘ud look better of ‘urn if they giv’ us somthin’, an’ as for that Town Hall, I suspect they’l giv’ the money back to the poor strivin’ women it’s took from. The times an’ times people’s tried to upset this Club, an’ the times an times they’ve made ‘umselves luk soft when they’ve tried ! A lot of poor ould women drinkin’ a cup of tea vexes sum of urn worse than a red clout afore a bull. It’s mostly these new commers that does it. They won’t have um any ware else, and so they cum here an’ try to make us good. They think the folks here, who have known us all our lives, nose nothink, and they lift up their skirts when you say ‘Ladies’ Club,’ as if they was tredin’ in mud. It’s a kind of affliction that comes over um, but it mosley goes off agen when they get better sense. Luk at them skurshuns they got up for folks to go an’ be served with cheap tickets. Hoff they went all day where nobody could see ‘urn and back they cum at nite and dun there share of the sin and wickedness. When my Selina— she wasn’t married then — wanted to go, you could av nocked me down, with a straw. ” What ?” I says ; she turned as red as the rose. ” What,” I says “you want to go off with that Joe— flootan and over about then Overten Hills, where nobody can see you. No” I says “if you and Joe goes there yer mother goes with you. If he wants to sweetheart you, let him take you to Neston Club like a respectable girl. They don’t miss much in Neston and they’ll see you behaves yerself.” Well, I must finish this long letter. I’ve had two or three wets at it. I think l am a bit like ould Jacky Williams. He never would sit down, because he said he was always goin’ when he was standin’, an’ the same with me. I forgot to menshun that some of the bowling clubers once tried to let their green for dancing to the musik of our band, which plays right agen um. It was clever, and it was mean, but bless yer sole, nobody went anigh urn.
Well, tbe first bansman that comes past this house on club day al ear somethin’ he wont like. The mony, and the mony they’ve had off our club— a lot more than off the men’s! An becos they cudn’t skweese some more out of us off they bang like a lot of nawty babbies and play agen us. But wait a bit. Selina says they don t put their own name in the paper, so I’ll just put my cosin’s by my first husband.
Selina Belinda Jones.




The annual festival of this venerable institution was held as usual on ‘ the first Thursday in June.’ The society set out upon its career of usefulness just 83 years ago, and during the interval it has dispensed many thousand pounds to the sick and bereaved of the district. It satisfactorily solved the old age pension problem, as regards its own members, before many of the present day politicians were born, and its festival, which is largely made up of a grand floral procession to the parish church, followed by a public tea and dance upon the green, has long been regarded aa the most popular gathering in the Hundred of Wirral. The members formed in procession at the schoolroom about two p.m., the handsome silk banner of the society, borne by two Volunteers in uniform, leading the way. Next came the brass band of the Ist VBCR. This was followed by the floral crown of the lady patrons, carried by a boy. The procession of honorary members, led by the Vicar (the Rev. Canon Turner, trustee) and the lady patroness (Mrs. Russell), included the Revs. J. Lyon and H. B. Sherwen, Dr. Blunden and Dr. Yeoman (medical officers), Mr. Percival Gamon(legal adviser), Mrs. Turner, Mrs. Aaron, Mrs. B. J. Price, Mrs. Sawers, Mrs. Ariel Gray, Miss Mary Lyon, (hon. stewardess), Mrs. Percival Gamon, Miss Seager, Miss Roberts. The benefit members, headed by the Misses Webb and Youds, came next, the ladies, both honorary and benefit, carrying beautiful bouquets of flowers. The procession passed down the crowded High- street, and, entering the church through the south-west door, passed up the nave, the organ meanwhile pealing forth the National Anthem. The customary hymns were sung, and an excellent sermon preached by the vicar, after which the procession was re-formed in Church-lane, and proceeded, via Parkgate- road to the Cross, which was thronged at this time by hundreds of spectators. Here the members formed a large circle, and the band, stationed in the centre, performed several selections, concluding with the National Anthem. The processionists afterwards marched to the schoolrooms, where the secretary called the roll and presented the balance- sheet, shewing that the disbursements during the year had been £100 9s. and the total receipts £115 4s. 1d. The total funds now amount to £1,514 invested in Mortgage Pennsylvania Railway shares and Liverpool Dock bonds and annuities. In commenting upon the affairs of the club, Canon Turner referred to the death of the Rey. J. W. Aldom, vicar of Thornton Hough, who had for a great many years been a staunch supporter of the club, and always made a point of attending its festivals. The following telegram, which was dispatched to the Queen in the morning, was read by the Vicar, and was received with much applause by those present : — To the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty.
The members of the Neston Female Friendly Society, which was established in the year 1814, and is believed to be the oldest existing female friendly society in the United Kingdom, beg on this the occasion of their annual festival to tender to your Most Gracious Majesty their loyal and hearty congratulations on your attainment of the Diamond Jubilee year of your glorious reign. The members re-echo to-day this wish, which has for many years appeared on their banner, ‘ Long may your Majesty reign in the hearts of your people.’ — Signed by the Lady Patrons and the Vicar.
Tea was afterwards served, Mrs. Russell presiding, and later in the evening the members adjourned to the green. Without the proceeds from the green, the liberal scale of benefits given by the society would need to be severely revised. On this occasion, however, an attempt was made to intercept the money which would otherwise have found its way to the sick and infirm members. The local band which has for many years been engaged for the festival declined to play this year unless an additional charge was paid for a ‘band stand,’ alleging that they had plenty of other engagements at a far higher remuneration than that paid by the society. The Committee of Management, after consulting with some of the trustees and principal honorary officials, declined to pay the increased charge, on the ground that they were paying the band at a far higher rate than was the case at other local friendly societies. On the evening that they received this reply the band engaged the Town Hall for an opposition dance for their own benefit, and in hopes of crippling the efforts of the promoters of the festival, all of whom labour without fee or reward. Each of the tenders received from a distance was for a less amount than that refused by the local musicians, and the band of the Ist V.B.C.R. charged just one-fourth less. Unfortunately rain began to fall at the hour fixed for the dance on the green, and as a huge poster appeared outside the Town Hall announcing the dance and a Volunteer band, many strangers no doubt entered under the impression that they were patronising the society. The hall was crowded during the evening, while the attendance on the green was much thinner than usual. The courteous proprietor of the green, on being applied to at once lent the materials for a suitable stand, which was erected by the society for a few coppers. The society had never previously erected a stand, and the action of the band in playing in opposition to a benefit society because they declined to erect an expensive stand to be used for three hours is probably unparalleled.


Cheshire Observer – Saturday 12 June 1897



to the editor.
Sir, — When our districk visiter cum in this week she was laffin al over er fase, She’s a very nise yung lade, but a bit to forrud fur my likin an cums like the rest ov the quality just wen wer gettin our bit ov diner. ” O Mrs. Jones,” she ses wat a delitful letter you put in the Observer.” ” No ” I ses quit modest. ” O yes” she ses “everybodies talkin about it.” ” Well ” I ses ” I must say I was a bit proudlike wen I see it in print but them Usherts as kep the thatched skool over Flemins cole yard is now no’d how to larn ye. I ses. ” Childrun got better inflamation in them days, an they tort one manners too” I says quit sharp fur I cud see she was laffin at me. ” O Mrs. Jones she ses ” smilin away at me al the time, ” did you kasch a banman ?” ” No I ses drat un but I nerely got one.” “I sat at this winder al day neerly on the skreech with the springin in my leg an at the long last I sees one at the korner. I puts the stick that I obbles down the flags with, wen my gamy leg ul let me, andy, fur ye never no wat such lik al do when theyre veksed, an I called out to my little grandson, ” Billy, I ses, go an’ tell that nise gentleman that your poor ould ganny wants to spek to un; ask un nisely, I ses, an’ praps he’l come.” Billy goes up to un : ” Wot,” the banman ses. ” Wot,” he ses, “Mrs. S. B. Jones ; not if I knows it,” he ses, ” I’m engaged.” An’ he went off as suddint as if he’d been bit. ” Wot did you want un fur, ganny ?” ses Billy when be cum in. “I wanted to tak to un ’bout them tenders,” I ses, ” but wot they wants with railway engins an’ things at our club puzzles me ‘bove a bit.” “Ganny,” he ses agen, ” will the banmen give that money to the poor sick people?” “My deer,” I ses, “they wudn’t mind if we al went to the workus like a lot o’ porpuses.” Law sakes, the questions childrun ask. I often tell Selina that Billy’l never liv’, he’s so ould fashioned. “They say they’re goin’ to stop yer club money, cos the banmen’s got ii ?” he ses agen. “Billy,” I ses quite solem, ” there’s One above nos more than banmen, an’ sum of them banders al want a ‘af -crown befor yer ould granny ; yet,” I ses, ” go an’ play,” I ses, fur I felt a splinge cumin’ on.

” Mrs. Jones,” ses the distrik visiter when I finished, ” do rite agen this week ; now do, Mrs. Jones.” “Well,” I ses, ” I won’t sa’ as I will, an’ I won’t sa’ as I won’t ; I’m goin’ to try mash Mallers an’ the ‘intment reseet that poor ould Marget Archer gin me— it was afore she died. If so be’s my leg’s better, wel an’ good, but I don’t promies.” Poor Marget. If anybody plaged her shed say “ha yul av a donkey ov your own to driv sum day,” and sur enuf they always ad. Well them ban-men “but no forgive and forget say I.”
Selena’s husband Joe was a bit uffed at me puttin im in the paper last week, but Selena as the upper an of im proply and she soon dressed im down. He’s bin workin at Hessa and e ses weve spilt our band with givin um too much mony an givin no other band a chanse. Why he ses youve bin given um at the rate of a pound a day a man to shillin a our a man for every our theyn actelly plad. Theres no band in Cheshur ever got so much mony. The Hezza bands every bit as good as Neston an better and forteen of um plas from nine in the mornin and marshes miles and miles he ses fur the mony yur bands had from to in the afternoon and no marshin’ at all, and yet some of the fokes al ould with the Neston band fur grabbin fur sick mony. O, I ses, its only the riff-raff as oulds with um, an they didn’t no the truth or tryd a broke there strumpets over there eds. ” Well they darsnt do it to a men’s club that sartin’,” ses Joe. Thers bin such a lot a bys goin about, I ses. ” Can that Hazza band pla proper ? “Proper, be oilers,” makin me gump, ” why the swet was droppin off their chins.” “Well,” I ses, quit cam, “ye needunt get yer monki cokt, I didn’t know mushisaners pled with the swet ov their browa.” Then wa he stampt out an bang the dor, its a good job Selina was out on a herrin. But ‘e isn’t a bad sort at the bottom, isn’t Joe. I ‘ere as one of them ban-men wudn’t av any ov the mony after al them sweltrin lot ad gon out an mopt their selfs outside the Town Hall. He ‘as an ould woman’s blessin’. I’d see that mony at tbe bottom of the deep blue sea afor I’d touch hapeny on it. It’s burnin’ ther pockets now wats left ov it, I no, but my legs gettin crampt. I’ve ad it up afore me al the time ive bin ritin’.

Selina Belinda Jones.

Sir, — As a member of the Neston Female Friendly Society, my first care on opening my weekly copy of the Observer on Saturday last was to see how ‘ club day had passed off in Neston.

As I read on I was delighted at the appropriateness of the message sent to the Queen ; but my delight was quickly turned into the utmost disgust at the tactics pursued by the band of the local Volunteers in setting up a counter attraction — a dance at the Town Hall — all because their demand for increased remuneration was not met. The present terms, fixed years ago, are, in the opinion of many members, already too high, as compared with those paid by other societies ,- but in any case the natural remedy of the ‘ band ‘ would seem to lie in taking up one of the ‘ numerous other engagements ‘ where higher remuneration could be obtained. Not so thought the band. These doughty champions, banded together for the defence of hearths and homes, have, in this year of the Diamond Jubilee, turned their warlike ardour against a society of females formed for the express purpose of ‘bearing each other’s’ burdens ‘ in times of sickness, old age, or adversity. Surely in helping such a society by placing themselves at the head of its pro cession aglow with flowers, the band of the Neston Volunteers would have been honouring themselves and maintaining the chivalrous traditions for which hitherto our soldiers — citizen or otherwise — have been famous.
But what about the Town Hall? How came that to be let for a purpose so utterly at variance with the public spirit and the true interests of the good old town ? Surely there must have been some great misunderstanding here. It is to me, inconceivable the pro- prietors would lend themselves to any attempt to injure so worthy an annual institution as ‘ Club Day.’

The little income derived yearly from the festival has enabled the society to augment its benefits, and so rejoice the heart of many a sick and aged member, but a repetition of the unmanly course pursued this year will inevitably restrict those benefits, and as the visitors to Neston are attracted solely by the ‘Club,’ the latter, and not the Volunteers, are entitled to benefit by the reputation their annual festival has attained. If the Volunteers want a dance by all means let them have one, but let it be on one of the other 364 days of the year, and not on the club’s day. They have no right to appropriate the reputation so justly earned by the Female Friendly Society to fill their own coffers. Let them make for themselves a reputation, nay, they are doing so — a record one ! ! and they are welcome to it.
For many years I have with great pleasure taken my place in the procession, to the accompaniment of a band composed, as I fondly though, of men — Nestonians, who would if need be stand by us as a society, but I, with many others, have been rudely awakened, and never again will I follow if the present band of the so-called ‘ Neston Volunteers ‘ is at the head of the procession.

In writing thus I have striven to express as temperately as possible the disgust so generally felt, but I have no doubt many others, more able than I am, and who have the reputation of Neston at heart, will have something to say upon a subject so closely concerning them. —
In thanking you, Mr. Editor, for inserting this, I must for the present sign myself
Not a Nestonian.
Liverpool, June 9th, 1897.

Cheshire Observer – Saturday 19 June 1897



Sir, — I would ask to kindly answer the question made by one of your correspondents in your last week’s issue, viz., how it was that the Town Hall came to be let to the Volunteer Band? I would remind the questioner that the Town Hall is the property of a limited company, and, like other public companies, always accepts legitimate business when it is offered. The Ladies’ Club had not thought fit to engage the Hall, and it was, therefore, open for the Volunteer Band, who availed themselves of the opening to hire it. — Yours respectfully,
W. Tranter,
Secretary, Neston Town Hall Co., Ltd.
Neston, June 17th, 1897.

Sir, — The correspondence which has appeared in your columns on the above subject has effectually opened the eyes of the local public to the real state of affairs, but it is to be hoped that the matter will not be allowed to drop until it is probed to the bottom. The extraordinary action of the band led people to believe that the latter was suffering some great injustice, and torrents of abuse were heaped upon the club officials, by a section of the public and a few well- known individuals actuated by personal spleen, who now keep themselves carefully in the background and leave the band to bear the blame. The ventilation of the subject in your columns makes it clear that the band had not the slightest grievance, and the official correspondence, which may yet be published, will shew that they have throughout been treated in a perfectly fair and business-like manner. The action of the band in playing against the benefit fund of the club shews how little mercy the club might have expected if they had yielded to the demands for more money. Like Oliver Twist, the band would have continued to ‘ ask for more.’ If they had given their services for the few hours they were needed by the club, as is often done by much better bands, it would not have hurt them, nor would they have been worse off probably by the year’s end. As it was they were overpaid, and because they could not wrest more money from those responsible, they commit an action which, while it has put a few pounds in their pockets at the expense of the sick members of the club, has once more dragged the name of Neston in the mire, and made it a byeword in the surrounding districts.
Most of those who distinguished themselves by playing against the club on this historic occasion had relations or friends who had benefited by the society, and in one instance a relative of one of the players had received over £100 in benefits. An immediate inquiry should be instituted by those responsible, with a view to unmasking the wire-pullers, insuring such restitution as is possible, and making such contemptible tactics impossible for the future. The matter cannot be allowed to rest where it is. — Yours, &c,

Cheshire Observer – Saturday 03 July 1897

The Editor is not responsible for the opinions of his Correspondents.
All letters must be authenticated by the sender’s name and address, not necessarily for publication.
Sir, – it will be news to your readers that the much-chastised Neston Band have at last found a suitable champion to espouse their cause, and as might be expected, he has done them infinitely more harm than good, for he has taken up a case in which alas no defence is possible. ‘Thrice is he armed who has his quarrel just’ says the poet, and the writer who facetiously styles himself ‘Fairplay’ is evidently conscious of the truth of the saying, for instead of replying to the charges against the band in the columns where they appeared, he sneaks off to another journal in the fond hope that his effusion will pass unnoticed, save by such of his friends as he may care to point it out to.
In a feeble letter of fully half a column, which few people will have the patience to peruse throughout, ‘Fairplay’ smudges the bandsmen more by trying to defend an action which has excited general disgust. . He even tries to wax funny over “the stand made by the band and the bandstand,” and adds the astounding assertion that ‘nothing was further from the minds of the bandsmen than to injure club’. Certainly not! These models of manly virtue, finding they could not increase the excessive charge already paid to them took the Town Hall, which happens to be situated near the Green entrance, and advertised a dance for the same evening as The Ladies’ Club festival. ‘Fairplay’ would have us believe that it was simply a coincidence, and that the gentle innocents who compose the band would shod tears, at the thought of injuring the club. Try again,

‘Fairplay’, and please don’t compare the band to a ‘badger’. It is not kind, and they won’t like it.
A considerable portion of ‘Fairplay’s’ wearisome letter is taken up in wriggling about the connection between the band and the Volunteer corps, and he charges the writers of letters in your paper with trying to injure a loyal and patriotic body of men. If any injury has been done, it has been done by tie band, and not by the letter-writers, whose remarks are, if anything, too mild for the transaction which elicited them. The publicity given to the matter has proved a public benefit. No one has any desire to say a word against the Volunteers, who as a company have always done credit to the Battalion, or to cast any doubts upon their patriotism. But to repeat, as ‘Fairplay’ does again and again, that they have nothing to do with the band is sheer moonshine. The bandsmen are members of the Volunteer company, and their secretary, who happens to be the sergt.-major of the battalion, acts in the name of 1 Company, !st V.B.C.R. If the company have no control over their band the sooner they alter such a ridiculous position the better for the company. ‘Fairplay’ speaks with authority, and is evidently a member of the Volunteer Corps, yet be it observed he does not allow one expression of regret to escape him as to the action of the band, but distinctly applauds their conduct. To their credit be it said, this is not the feeling of local Volunteers generally, and now that the facts are known, there is but one opinion among the people of Neston. ‘The gentry of the neighbourhood’ quoted by ‘Fairplay ‘ do not share his opinions, and they are determined to stand by the most popular friendly society in the district against this, most unjustifiable attack upon its funds.

The residents in the wilds of Connaught would scorn the action so warmly approved by ‘Fairplay ‘ and the denizens of Central Africa would certainly repudiate it. If ‘Fairplay’ really wishes well to his friends, he should persuade them to hand over the £15 or thereabouts which they took at the Town Hall to the first public charity they come across, and after making the fact public send the most humble apology it is in their power to make to the society of ladies, who are the losers to that extent.. But for goodness sake, ‘ Fairplay,’ keep out of print until you have something better to say, else will both bandsmen and Volunteers exclaim, as with one voice, ‘Save us from our friends! ‘

— Yours, &c

Sir.— Mr. Tranter, secretary to the Town Hall Company, points out that he was simply doing his duty to the shareholders in letting the Town Hall to the Neston band. The Neston Town Hall Company is, of course, on the same footing as other public companies, who have ‘neither a soul to be saved nor a body to be kicked,’ and Mr. Tranter no doubt had no option in the matter. His position must have been a very painful one. His entire sympathy would of course be with the beneficent institution which was about to be attacked, while duty called- him another way ; but, after what was no doubt a severe mental struggle, he answered to the call of ‘ duty.’

— Yours, &c.,

Sir, — I have only to-day (Thursday) seen a letter in one of your contemporaries in response to the Neston Band. In the course of a long letter the writer flounders hopelessly about, vainly, trying to find some excuse for our gallant bandsmen, but his defence simply amounts to this, that the club has ample funds, and that it throws the local band away for a few coppers. This is simply a ridiculous perversion of the facts, for everyone knows now that the band threw up their very best engagement because they could not make their charge still higher. Their excuse, however, is quite in keeping with the whole affair. The band had ‘ plenty of engagements at a far higher price,’ so they pleaded; but they adopt the miserable expedient of getting up a dance for their own benefit, on the same evening as the annual Club dance. That is the pith of the whole matter. Their defender does not try to deny it, and he is so proud of the fact that he makes desperate efforts to shew the band has no connection with the Volunteer company to which it belongs. The public will need a little more proof than the bare assertion of the writer of the letter, who for aught they know was the principal instigator of the affair. The true friends of the Volunteer company at the present time are those who are desirous of clearing the matter up, and shifting the blame on the proper shoulders, and not those who would hush it up. The excellent bands which have performed in the neighbourhood of late, including that of the Cheshire Regiment, have been content to play standing on the green turf, which makes the local band’s demand tor an expensive stand appear silly in the extreme. The club wanted no stand, so I am credibly informed. The writer says that the letters which have appeared in connection with this matter are- ‘the outpourings of one great mind.’ In this he is quite correct. The letters, although written by different individuals, principally reflects the great mind of the vast majority of the people of Neston, who have now but one opinion in regard to this matter, and are determined to stand by the right.—

Yours, &c,
An Old Nestonian

Cheshire Observer – Saturday 10 July 1897

Sir, — No doubt your readers and the writers of the various letters appearing in your valuable paper will expect that ‘Fairplay ‘ will reply this week or else be snuffed out altogether. Allow me to first state that I have not had the opportunity to do as I would wish, but that instead of sneaking off to another paper Fairplay will explain him- self and the position of the band in your paper next week, and on that occasion will not sail under any nom-de-plume whatever, and advises the other writers in future to do the same and have things straight out and above board. —

I am sir, yours respectfully,

Mr. Editor, — I write you concerning the Neston Ladies’ Club and Selina Belinda Jones. I don’t know any member of ar club by that theere name, so I caunt send her a letter to her rete address. I will tak on mysel to send it through yore press, and Selina is sure to get it, as hoo must be fonder on the press than hoo is of ar club, or else hoo would never have drawed us to such ridicule as hoo as, aw about nothing. And now hoo has the impertance to try and blame the poor banmen, and hoo knows very well, if hoo likes to spake the truth, it is her own and the scratchetary’s fawt and nobody’s else’s. Selina yo mit well be bad and lap yore poor gouty foot in red flannen. It has made a good lot of us members bad aw through yo and him, but Selina to tell yo and him what I think it would be better to do ar business and do it rite than have any body to do it for nowt, and make such blunders as yo have this last anniversary. It is aw very well to send letters through yore Press to try and clear yoursen, for yo know yore getten in such a hole with nothing but red flannen for a foundation, its much if ever yole get out alive, and they tell me yoor aged a lot since ar club walked on the third of June last. But well yo mit, Selina, for yo av sommat to answer for, if an ar members is the same as me. I really don’t know how ye ar going to meet us club members, but it sarves us reet for letting ye have so much of your own road, for ye mit as well squander money recklessly as spend it foolishly, aw for a change an to spete the banmen or somebody belongin to urn. I mit a wrote amost as soon as yo, Selina, but I thout I’d wait and get both sides o’ the question after ye blamin’ them ban chaps for aw the upset, and I’ll tell yo agen there’s nobody to blame ony one or two and weve got to pay the piper. Yo do well to tell Billy yore grandson to go and play and not ax foolish questions. Yo awt to be ashamed of yoresel to ca’ the poor lad foolish. How con he help it, seeing it must be a bit hereditary to be a bit foolish in times, and now I’ve gotten both sides of the tale, I’m sartin, Selina, that ye ar to blame, and not the ban chaps at aw, for I know for sartin they proffered the sarvices as usual providin ar club would be content with the stand as would suffice for the band, as far as the band was consarned, but ye would not carry that tale and save a lot o bother. No it suited yore spiteful ends better and make mountains out on mouley work hills and persuade oursens and everybody else as it they intended impedence to ar club and yo know Selina it was nowt o the sort and yo know Selina Belinda I’m aumost as owd as yo. Them ban chaps never insulted our club in anyway or shape but was always told by the stewardess and the ladies that they’d done very well and that the club was very well satisfied and annybody. Us country foke and all the strangers from town and yo and Selina could very well see ar own band, the Neston volunteers, was proud of heading ar procession and con- ducting ar dance on the Green, and ony for yo theyd a bin theere this ear, as they allays ay bin sin they could blow a tin whistle, aye and their faythers afore em, an yo know Selina they’d follow ar band for dancing from far and near, and well they mit for yo cawnt find a band no weer to lick ar own band for, dancing annyhow.
For shame, Selina, makin such upset for nowt, ony as yo sen a bit of a stand, as nobody wanted, ony the Neston Band — l mit say ar own band. Now, Selina, fair doos for ar own band for once in yore life. Who axed for the band stand this year, and why was there one made ? The fact is ar club have shewn by their actions that they have every reet to put up a band stand and I cawnt help but laugh when I find out’ the truth. Why Selina yo actually put your poor oud gammy fut a one side and lost yore red flannen which dangled in the sight of the Lion, which happened to be waiting in the High-street and the Lion and its keeper and yoresel, Selina, made yersels architects, builders and furnishers o materials on behalf of ar club. Why Selina, I believe mysel that both on ye were so orejoyed to know that ye had spited the Neston Band ye would have done anything. But, however, ye made a band stand atween ye, theereby acknowledging yer reetes to do so and not the band. For shame o yersen, Selina, why didn’t ye join hands with the courteous landlord o’ the Lion Green and practice band stand makin together as yo owt to a done ears ago. But tell me, Selina, is it true that that strange band refused to be elevated on yer splendid stand which yo say was put up for a few coppers? Well, I needn’t ask yo is it true, for yore own statement that it only cost a few coppers for erection convinces me that them strange banmen were net insured. Hence their strong appeal to be allowed to remain on terra firma with forms and tables for a stand. Sartinly the men had better sense than risk their limbs and instruments on such a chep stand. I know ban men better than yo, Selina. They have no need to care for thee though thou might think Banding was their livin but its nowt o the sort. Its ony a hobby and a love for Queen and country, and a desire to be attached to such a worthy institution as the Volunteers as they ar ban men. But it appears if it was their livin yo could tak a delight in takkin it owt o their mouths, but look at it fairly, Selina, yo cawnt hurt the band. Yo mit injure the corps to which the band is attached, but be careful for ar sakes and for your own, Selina, how yo use yore breath against the corps. So far, however, Selina, in your endeavour for revenge, and your speculation for a change of programme, yo must admit yo are utterly beaten on yore merits, as was a near relation of yores for stripes a few years ago. —

l am yores,
A Disgusted Club Member

Cheshire Observer – Saturday 24 July 1897



Sir,— l was rather amused on reading the last letters issued in your paper signed ‘An Old Nestonian’ and ‘Justice,’ who both seemed to think that the letter of ‘Fairplay,’ issued a week previously in a contemporary, was a feeble one. Feeble or not, it seemed to touch both writers, who find that the feeble letter referred to required a great amount of comment from them. In the first place I am credited with doing more harm than good. I am very sorry if this is so, but I rather think that unintentional harm is more creditable than intentional harm. Then I am accused of ‘sneaking’ off to another journal, hoping that my remarks would pass unnoticed save by a few friends. It seems, however, that it did not pass unnoticed by them nor, I believe, many others ; and it would be utterly impossible, as anyone ought to know, that letters published in public print could pass unnoticed. ‘Justice’ declines to believe that the band had no intention to injure the club. He would not like anyone to turn round and say they did not believe his remark about not wanting to injure the Volunteers. I do not say that, but take it for granted. My reason in the first place for writing was because of certain remarks passed in previous letters, which were considered detrimental to the Volunteers. It seemed, to my mind, very hard indeed that the Volunteers must be brought in and attacked because the Band and the Ladies’ Club had differed. Further than this, reports were spread over the neighbour- hood that several gentlemen had decided to stop their subscriptions to the Volunteer corps through the action of the band. This is spite with a vengeance. It seems that if one of a family differs with a person, the whole family must be attacked and wiped out in true ‘ vendetta ‘ style. But not for one moment do I believe that the gentry of the neighbourhood hold such opinions. ‘ Justice ‘ says that ‘ Fairplay’s’ statement as to the Volunteers having nothing to do with the band is sheer moonshine. Allow me to say that his remark is sheer nonsence, and shews that he is quite as ignorant of that fact as he seems to be of many other things. I have been a member of the corps over 15 years, and I know this that the band are allowed to take any private engagement they think fit, and at what price they like, without interference from anyone. ‘Justice ‘ says that I do not express any regret at to the action of the band. I was not fighting the cause of the band in my letter. However, I may say that since then I have gleaned the following information, viz. That prior to the dispute the oldest member of the band was consulted by the secretary of the club in the matter. The secretary found fault with the tone of the letter as to the ‘ other engagements at a higher price ‘ sentence, also stating that the club would not agree to provide a stand. The bandsman informs me that he offered on behalf of the band that they would provide a table and forms, if this would suit the club, but no answer, he states, was given to this. As to the sentence in the letter, that was not written by the band but by the secretary, and the bandsmen stated that it was written in a business way, and not with the intention of giving any offence to anyone. Now, if this is correct, that the band would provide a table and forms (which were exactly what was used by the strange band), why did not that suit? There would have been an end to the matter at once, and the dispute would never have arisen. Of course, the secretary knows whether this is true or not. The band never wished for an expensive stand I was also informed by the same bandsman that he told the secretary of the Club that the band declined to erect a stand similar to the one erected in previous years, in consequence of what happened about the removal of the stands twelve months ago. An Old Nestonian ‘ says that the true friends of the Volunteer Company at the present time are desirous of clearing the matter up. I quite agree with him. Let us have it cleared up. But there is one thing I do not like, and that is all these letters under assumed names. It is like stabbing in the dark, and there is, I am sorry to say, too much of this work done in Neston. I have as ‘ Fairplay ‘ written one letter, and that one only, and have had nothing to do with the composition of others. Let me add that, while speaking of the connection of the Volunteers and the band, I speak, as I said before, after over 15 years experience as a member of the corps, and I can recommend the writer to the officer of the corps to substantiate what I say, that the private engagements of the band are their own, and have nothing whatever to do with the company. After that I think the Volunteer Corps should not be attacked further, but if any evidence is to come out as to the dispute, then let us have it as to the band and the club. Personally no one regrets more than I do that the dispute happened. I think it is a great pity that a strange band should come in to the place at all, but after the letters which have appeared, I think the public should know who is to blame. Perhaps, with a little more discretion at the first, we might never have heard of any dispute. Apologising for the length of my letter,

I am, sir, yours truly, _ .

W. Bradshaw.
Neston, July 15th, 1897.

Cheshire Observer – Saturday 07 August 1897


Sir, — Mr. Bradshaw first of all writes a long and decidedly trashy anonymous letter, in which he indulges in numerous sneers and insulting remarks at the expense of the club, and next finding himself heavily sat upon, he comes forward proudly stating that he is going to be ‘ open and above board,* hoping everybody else will be the same. After having done so himself, he groans aloud at the idea of persons writing under assumed names. It harrows up his frank and guileless soul to find that there are persons who can be guilty of such conduct. His letter is chiefly taken up with stale statements, which have been fully refuted previously, and with a vast amount of gratuitous and utterly useless information about himself, his opinions, and his connection with the volunteers. He still tries to make the attack wear the appearance of a dispute, whereas everyone else can see with half an eye that ‘ the game is up.’ Chiefly is Mr. Bradshaw concerned that the band and the volunteers should not be made one, and this brings me to a very pertinent inquiry. Now what I wish to ask is whether Mr. Bradshaw, a sergeant of the volunteers, who have nothing to do with the band, went himself to the band and urged them to go and pay a deposit on the Town Hall for the dance? His reply will be awaited with interest, and this is an opportunity which he should not let slip, of shewing the artless and open and above board simplicity of his character. In conclusion, I cannot refrain from congratulating Mr. Bradshaw on the disinterested manner in which he ‘ glean’s his information, &c. I can assure him it affords a very great amount of amusement to those who know all about it, and more especially to yours, &c,

Sir, — You will be doing the local Volunteers a service if you will permit me to ask Mr. Bradshaw who authorised him to speak in the name of the Volunteers. Their opinions are the reverse of those expressed in his letter, and they are justly indignant with those who organised the attack upon an unoffending society, and who are now trying in the most cowardly fashion to hide themselves behind the band and the Volunteers. The Volunteers should insist upon the exposure of the ring- leaders, and upon restitution being made to the society if we are to hope for the generous financial support in the future which we have received in the past. If the offenders are to remain screened it will be a bad outlook for the future of the Volunteers in Neston, for our supporters will then most certainly take the matter in their own hands. It is high time there was reform both in the band and the corps. The one-horse policy has brought the band into its present position, and reduced the numbers of a once strong company to about one half.

Cheshire Observer – Saturday 14 August 1897



Sir, — I was not a little surprised on perusing your issue of Saturday last to find no answers, but a couple of letters full of nothing else but what may be termed personal abuse. Have the writers, or, rather, I should say, has the writer of the two letters nothing further to say, as he tries to hold someone up to ridicule? In this attempt he utterly fails. No attempt is made to deny any offer being made by the band, but the writer coolly asks me to answer his questions. Well, I will do so. The band had engaged the Town Hall before I knew anything about it, and the question was put to me as to paying a deposit on it, and I did advise the band to pay a deposit, purely from a business point of view, as I considered that it was required by the Town Hall Company. I was informed afterwards that a deposit was not required from local bodies. Remember, this was the first time I knew of the Band engaging the Town Hall. As to the letter signed ‘ A Neston Volunteer, I ignore it, because I do not for one moment believe that a Volunteer at present serving in the company ever wrote it. I am of the same opinion as many others that the whole of the letters which have appeared against the band are by the one author, who has so many nom de plumes. The public, however, can see through these tactics very easily, and are not being led to understand that there are many writers. With the dispute I have not, or ever had, anything whatever to do, but it seems from the miserably weak and contemptible attack made upon me by ‘Observer’ that he is under the impression that I have. I have said that I would Ignore the letter signed a ‘Neston Volunteer,’ but I note a question put as to who authorised me to write on behalf of the Volunteers. Although the letters, written in the strain they are, are hardly worth my trouble to answer, I will answer that question, and beg to state that I was authorised to write in their defence, as they were wrongly attacked. —

Yours respectfully, W. Bradshaw.

P.S. — Who authorised anyone to attack the band or Volunteers ? W.B.
Park-street, Neston, August 11th.
[The letters referred to were not written by the same person.]

Cheshire Observer – Saturday 21 August 1897

CORRESPONDENCE. The Editor is not responsible for the opinion of his Correspondents. All letters must be authenticated by the senders name and address, not necessarily for publication.

Sir, — The friends of the Club must be much indebted to Mr. Bradshaw. He rises open- mouthed at any and every bait that is thrown to him in a manner which cannot fail to satisfy the most exacting angler. He is kind enough to state that the Band came to him for advice, and he advised them to pay a deposit on the Town Hall. My information is to the effect that Mr. Bradshaw voluntarily went to the Band while they were at practice and urged them to pay a deposit on the Town Hall at once lest the secretary of the Club should forestall them. Of course Mr. Bradshaw knows which of these versions is correct; but in any case it is a curious admission for a Volunteer who has so indignantly repudiated all connection between the Volunteers and the Band. As to answering his questions, he knows perfectly well that they have been answered long ago. I would refer him to the secretary’s statement and to the published copies of the official letters. These have not been challenged, and have convinced everyone that after shewing the utmost kind- ness and consideration to the band, the Club was made the victim of a cowardly attack. In his anonymous letter Mr. Bradshaw terms this correspondence ‘ much to do about nothing,’ the nothing,’ presumably, is the £15 which was taken from the Club members and divided among the Volunteers who form the Band. Numbers of the visitors presented the Town Hall tickets at the Green, under the impression that they had been patronising the Club, and that the tickets were available at both places. This, of course, may be nothing also, but Mr. B. will find that the inhabitants of this district look upon such transactions as ‘something.’ Mr. Bradshaw is very reckless in his statements as to the writers of letters. I have no official connection with either side, and have never discussed this matter with the Volunteer who is manly enough to disclaim the opinions attributed to the Volunteers by Mr. Bradshaw. I am quite competent to indite my own letters.
Yours truly.



Sir, — Mr. Bradshaw says he was authorised to write on behalf of the Volunteers. Well, I can meet with no Volunteer who endorses this, and he has done more to vindicate the Club and to bring the Volunteers and Band into disrepute than all the other writers combined. He has never failed to put his foot in it. He admits that it was a Volunteer sergeant who wrote the long anonymous letter abusing the Club, which appeared in one of your contemporaries, and after denying again and again that the Volunteers had anything to do with the Band or the dispute, he is now forced to admit that it was the same Volunteer sergeant who advised the Band to pay a deposit on the Town Hall ‘ purely from a business point of view.’ It is only just to the Volunteers that the public should be reminded that this Volunteer sergeant, who moreover goes out of his way to profess great abhorrence for stabs in the dark, and great admiration for open and above-board conduct is Mr. Bradshaw himself, and it will now be readily understood why be is so anxious to defend the Volunteers— that is to say, himself. The fact is that a little knot of individuals have done all the mischief, and a great deal could be said as to the spiteful motives by which they were actuated were it worthwhile. They as individuals should be held responsible, and should not be allowed to shelter themselves behind the Volunteers, who know nothing of the matter, and who would scorn the action of attacking a ladies’ friendly society which had done nothing to deserve it. Mr. Bradshaw refuses to believe that I am a local Volunteer. He clearly believes that he is the only Volunteer who can write a letter, and it was the self-evident conceit which appeared in every line of his letters that led me to send my previous communication, the only letter with the exception of this that I have written. In the agony of his discomfiture Mr. Bradshaw jumps to the silly conclusion that all the letters opposed to his opinion were written by the same person. I should like to add that I have not the slightest idea as to the identity of any of the writers, save those who subscribed their own names, and I should not consider Mr. Bradshaw worth all this attention, were it not that he is serving to fix attention on the principals. —
Yours &c,
A Neston Volunteer.