It is difficult to write an accurate history of Ripon City Band as over the years there appear to have been bands with different names in the city. We have picked some of the more interesting mentions of the bands to give you a feel of how bands in the city have evolved.
The first mention of the City Band was in November 1860 when the Ripon Rifle Corps is recorded as receiving instruments that had previously been used by the City Band. The instruments also came with a debt of £24 which the Corps paid off! In June 1887 the Ripon Volunteer Band is recorded as having played a selection of music, including the National Anthem at the Ripon Children’s Jubilee Festival. In November 1893 new instruments, purchased at a cost of £50:18s for the Ripon City Band, were displayed in the window of Mr Cuss’s tailor shop in North Street.
In June 1904 the Mayor resigned when the Corporation approved payment for the Ripon Band for playing on the Lord’s day. He was urged to reconsider his decision and did so when the Town Clerk suggested that neither should money be collected nor the band be paid. Tensions ran high in April 1906 between two brothers in the band, H.T and S.L Beckwith after it was decided to disband the band and sell off the instruments. Being on a different side of the argument from his brother resulted in H.T Beckwith being found guilty of assault in the Ripon court. The band managed to borrow instruments so they could still rehearse, in spite of the arguments! December 1919 was an important month for the band as the City Council agreed to let the first floor of a warehouse as a rehearsal room for the nominal sum of £1:00 per annum.
In August 1939, unusually large crowds attended the summer bank holiday St Wilfrid’s celebrations in Ripon. The procession was led by the Ripon City Prize Band and the feast was officially opened with the traditional Wilfra jam tarts. The band was not unaffected by the war. The 1944 St Wilfrid's Procession, which the band usually leads the way for, proceeded in silence as no musical accompaniment played due to the war. Many citizens missed St Wilfrid as there was no music to announce him.
November 1965 saw the start of the Ripon City Band Supporters’ Club to help raise funds. They converted a disused shop on the ground floor of their headquarters into a clubroom and in 1992 the band completed the purchase of the bandroom from the Ripon City Council. This ensured the stability of the band into the future and guaranteed them a `home of their own’.