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The Early Days

According to the Londonderry Guardian of 1866, the Britannia started life as a flute band, unformed and carrying crimson banners with the Derry Arms.

In 1876 it changed to Brass and then in 1881, it became Brass and Reed. The first known photograph was taken on Derry Walls in 1881.

Reports in the papers of the day describe the band attending the traditional celebrations, playing at regattas (even being towed along in a barge) and performing at the laying of the fountain stone of the Apprentice Boys Memorial Hall.

The Twentieth Century

A photo of 1905 shows the band as winners of a cup at the Londonderry Feis and includes members whose descendants are still actively involved.

Sir Edward Carson visited the city in 1912 and was led across the bridge by the ‘Britannia’. Many reports appear in the local press of the ‘Twenties’ with the band entertaining at sports days, soirees, Ballyarnet Races and more regattas.

We have a beautiful programme of the band sharing a concert with the Ulster Amateur Flute Band in the Guildhall in 1932. Three years later the Britannia Hall was built by its own members and requisitioned by the Canadian Navy during the war.

New Uniforms (£15 each) and instruments were purchased in the early Fifties and photos show the band increasing in strength.

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