Memorabilia sought from renowned band

Sam McCleary with the mace, a flute and drums from Lurgan Amateur Flute Band.
Sam McCleary with the mace, a flute and drums from Lurgan Amateur Flute Band.

An appeal has been issued for memorabilia belonging to former bandsmen from arguably Lurgan’s most successful ever flute band.

Sam McCleary, on behalf of the museum at Brownlow House, is trying to gather up pictures and other band mementos from Lurgan Amateurs as well as other local bands.

Sam, Vice Chair of the committee at Brownlow House, recalled: “I was a member of the band from 1955 up until the 1980s.

“If you were from Sloan Street or Hill Street you joined Lurgan Amateurs.

“That was the way it was at the time.

“For years the Amateurs were the district band, doing up to 40 parades a year. It was a real community band.

“We would have walked with up to 40 members.

“We used to practice where Abbeyfield House is now.”

The band was founded in 1904, the same year as Lurgan District bought Brownlow House and the same year as the formation of the Windsor Club.

Sam said Lurgan Amateur Band were one of the premier bands in Ireland, winning competitions at the Ulster Hall and for seven consecutive years they were awarded Best Style and Appearance at Windsor Park.

The band folded in the early eighties.

Sam explained: “What happened was the members got older and weren’t able to walk as much so concentrated more on concerts and competition work.

“When the band folded a lot moved on to Corcrain Band.

He continued: “What we’re looking for is any member of the band who has memorabilia to allow us to put it on display in the museum at Brownlow House.

“In fact, it’s not just memorabilia from Lurgan Amateurs we’re after, we’d be keen to display pictures and memorabilia from any bands from the town.

“We want to have a permanent reminder of the importance of the band.”

He continued: “What started the collection was a bass drum which dated back to when the band was formed in 1904.”

Sam said: “It had been missing for a very long time and was handed into Brownlow House just a few weeks ago.

“That got me thinking that we should start a collection.

“I’ve also got the original mace and a side drum that I would have played and a uniform which was purchased in 1959. It’s a good start but we’d like a bit more in order to put on a fitting display.”

Anyone with any memorabilia should contact Sam via Brownlow House.