Silverwood Logo by John Doxey background photo Mick Carver1900 - 1994

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Silverwood Mine

Hollings Lane

Thrybergh

South Yorkshire England

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 GEORGE WILLIAM BAKER

Musician Silverwood Colliery Band

George William Baker Photo courtesy Margaret Macia

 

 

 

 

Foreword:

 

"Dear John,

I have just logged on to your excellent site about the Silverwood Band. I can't begin to tell you how many memories it has churned up for me. It's strange but brass-band music has always been a great love of mine and next Monday I am going to listen to the Royal Air Force Band who is giving a concert in Benalmadena which is very close to where I live."

Margaret Macia

 

Like many of us Margaret Macia has very fond, proud memories of her family as she grew up in the area, and with a Granddad like George Baker she has every reason to be proud, I noticed the twinkle in George's eyes and mentioned it to Margaret who replied. "You are quite right when you say that my Granddad has a mischievous look about him. He was always joking and pulling people's legs. My Granny didn't half suffer!

So here is the story of George the mischievous musician  as told by Margaret.

 

John Doxey

 

 

 

GEORGE WILLIAM BAKER

By Margaret Macia

 

"I certainly would like to write a little tribute to my Granddad   and  at the same time perhaps rekindle memories for someone else."

 


My Granddad was born at Rotherham in 1882, his father seemingly migrated from Morley in Norfolk where the family were agricultural labourers.  I found George Sr. working as a servant in a big house in Clowne, Chesterfield in 1871 but by 1881 he was living at Water Lane in Rotherham, married with 3 children and working as a labourer in an Iron Works. So he certainly hadn't wasted his time !

George William was found in 1901 listed as George W Baker age 19 born in Rotherham living at Attercliffe Cum Darnall Sheffield working as a Labourer General.  Granddad must have moved south to Nottingham, possibly for work reasons, as in 1905 he George´s 2nd. wife Gertrude Dixie  Photo courtesy Margaret Maciamarried a lady called Mary Ellen Kilbourne who bore him 4 children, George, Edith, Arthur (my father) and Frederick. Sadly Mary Ellen died in 1923 when my father was just 12 years old. 

 

Three years later my Granddad met and consequently married a lady called Gertrude Dixie [ Pictured left ] who became a very much loved mother and grandmother. Her claim to fame was that her brother-in-law was a labour Peer, Lord Alfred Taylor of Mansfield.
Possibly around 1930 the family moved back to Rotherham where they lived at 10, Delta Place, East Dene and continued to live there until the deaths of both my grandparents in 1966.


It must have been just after the end of the second World War that my Granddad joined the Silverwood Band. He was not a miner but a railwayman working at Rotherham's 2nd station. I can't remember its name – was it Wincobank ? I remember Granddad taking his trombone to pieces and oiling and cleaning it so meticulously until it shone and sparkled. Also his maroon and gold uniform was always immaculate, especially when there was a Band Parade or a concert in Clifton Park. My Granddad always looked so smart and had we children shining up his black shoes. He was proud to be a member of the Silverwood Band.

 

He came from a very musical family as  his brothers,  played brass instruments although they  didn't play in the Silverwood Band. George's musical gift was handed down to his son , my father.  I remember the young boys that came to the house for music lessons. They were all intent on joining the band and serenaded my grandmother and I with their painful efforts. In the main, Granddad taught the boys to play cornet, trumpet and trombone but he also was quite adept on the piano and organ. I would like to know where all his musical talent came from especially as he came from very humble roots where I am sure there would not have been any spare money for music lessons. Currently I am working hard  trying to trace my ancestors and have found out that his family came from Norfolk but as yet have been unable to align any of them with music.


Often he would go to Reg Gray´s house which was quite close by and do a bit of practicing or talk about band matters. I'm sure that Reg's daughter Mary will remember him.
My Granddad always had a pipe in his mouth (except of course when he was blowing his trombone). He would smoke thick twist and although I don't smoke myself I still enjoy the smell of pipe tobacco.
It must have been about 1951 when the Band first went to Amersfoort. My grandparents were so excited and enthusiastic about it as they had never travelled abroad before. All the band members were lodged with local families and were treated like Lords. Many of them made friends for life and I remember the family that my grandparents stayed with kept in contact with them for many years afterwards. Granddad went with the band a couple of times to Amersfoort and made friends with the family with whom he stayed, I think that they were called de Groote ! I know that the Band made another visit to Amersfoort but I can't remember the year.


The Band rehearsals took place in the Miners Welfare at Dalton ? I often used to go with Granddad on a Sunday morning. I always had to promise to sit still and keep quiet but as I enjoyed listening to the Band so much it wasn't a difficult thing for me to do. Afterwards most of the men would have a glass of beer and chat and then home for a slap-up Sunday roast – always complete with Yorkshire Pudding.


Probably Granddad's Band days ended around the end of the 1950´s as age started to take its toll. I know that if he were here today he would be the first one to endorse the positive effect that being a Band member had had on his life. He made so many friends and had so many pleasant experiences whilst travelling around with the Band. What a shame that in the main these wonderful social institutions have disbanded. I think that the world is a sadder place for their demise.

 

There must be something `special about Yorkshire folk and their affinity with Brass Bands - something that doesn't seem to exist in the South.

 

Sadly George William Baker Musician passed away in 1967.
 

 

 

© Margaret Macia

 

Many thanks to Margaret Macia (nee Baker) for sharing the story of her Granddad here

Margaret was born at Wickersley and lived in Reresby Crescent, and would like to receive any information regarding her family. If you can help please contact Margaret

 margaretmacia@hotmail.com

 

BAND PAGES ON THIS SITE

Fred Kelly

Reginald Gray

R & F Green

George Baker

Mike Longden

Brass Band

Brass Band 2

Brass Band Drawing

 

 

 

 

 

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