Holidays With Play

Photo:A typical Band Camp photo, this one in 1955. Around 100 delegates gathered, plus their tutors.

A typical Band Camp photo, this one in 1955. Around 100 delegates gathered, plus their tutors.

Graham Cook collection

Photo:A small group of delegates outside the Colony Citadel.

A small group of delegates outside the Colony Citadel.

Graham Cook collection

Photo:Some of the 'Old Boys' gather 50 years on for a reunion at Hadleigh

Some of the 'Old Boys' gather 50 years on for a reunion at Hadleigh

British Bandsman newspaper

Photo:Ray Steadman-Allan putting the men through their paces in rehearsal in 1997

Ray Steadman-Allan putting the men through their paces in rehearsal in 1997

British Bandsman newspaper

Photo:Outside the Hadleigh Temple on the London Road in 2007 for the 60th anniversary reunion

Outside the Hadleigh Temple on the London Road in 2007 for the 60th anniversary reunion

Robin Bryant

Photo:Front cover of itinerary 1947

Front cover of itinerary 1947

Graham Cook collection

Photo:Reunion weekend programme 2007.

Reunion weekend programme 2007.

Graham Cook collection

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Holidays With Play' page

The First English Music Camp at Hadleigh 1947

By Graham Cook

Recently an original programme came to the attention of the archive group for the above event, copies we have seen already, but this one had many signatures, collected by one of the delegates. The roll call of staff and tutors reads like a Who’s Who of well-known Salvation Army names. This prompted this article that hopefully will be of interest. (ED) 

The first British Music Camp took place between 2-9th August 1947 at the Hadleigh Farm Colony. The military had occupied the Colony during WW2 but when the war ended in 1945, the Ministry of Works put pressure on the Colony management to re-open the brickworks to help with post war reconstruction. However, the effects of the war and military presence meant the recreation room and number one dormitory had to be pulled down because of poor condition. The maintenance of the Colony’s buildings was a constant headache but in 1946 brick making did recommence for a while, but the machinery was clearly obsolete.

How could these premises be used?  Well, the idea of a music camp in post-war Britain was born in the fertile mind of Commissioner Edgar Grinstead but after a new appointment, the job of bringing this idea to life was given to the new leader of the British Territory, Commissioner Kaare Westergaard, who was the Camp Director. There have been Salvation Army music camps in the USA for some years, the most famous being at Star Lake and there was keen interest from overseas in this new British endeavour. Richard E. Holtz, Territorial Music Director in New York wrote; ‘We wish you the best for the first British Music Camp. It should be an outstanding feature in such a famous brass band country’.

It was a bit like an invasion, about a hundred keen musicians with mixed abilities started to arrive at the Farm Colony gates. They arrived singly and in small groups from all over the country, carrying their baggage and instruments. I think this was about the maximum that the team could handle, all boisterous, irrepressible and tireless youngsters.


They were soon put into groups according to abilities and received lessons in theory of music, sectional practices and full practices.  There was instruction in tone production and care of brass instruments. It was a full day`s curriculum starting at 7am with a ‘Reveille’ and ‘Duties’, ending at 10.30pm, ‘Lights Out and ‘Quiet’. There were of course times for relaxing with games and activities such as various sports, swimming and treasure hunt. The surroundings at Hadleigh were ideal for a summer holiday and the young students hopefully would return to their homes physically fit and enriched in their spiritual and musical knowledge.


Band Camps were to continue at Hadleigh for the next eight years with the exception of 1948 when the camp moved to RAF Kenley in Surrey. Today the Salvation Army still runs ‘Music Schools’ each year (not band camps) which are referred to as the TERRITORIAL MUSIC SCHOOL (TMS). Those early days at Hadleigh began a tradition that has continued to the present day.


50th Anniversary Reunion

There was a remarkable turn out for the camp’s 50th celebrations, with more than 50 of the original 97 delegates celebrating in grand style.  Some had travelled as far as Vancouver, Canada and Pasadena, USA.

All day at Hadleigh was spent renewing acquaintances and friendships and then embarking on a series of rehearsals, under the baton of Ray Steadman-Allen. He was the only living member of the original team of leaders from 1947; sadly he passed away in 2014 (age 92). He wrote a March for the band to play in 1947 ‘Hadleigh Camp’ and wrote another March ‘Hadleigh Reunion’ for this anniversary.

 60th Anniversary Reunion

Well, they met up again, those who were able to come and gathered for one final reunion in 2007, well maybe the last, who knows?

Signatures obtained on the programme:


National Young People’s Secretary


Nation Secretary for Bands (Camp Music Director)


Head of Salvation Army Music Department (guest speaker at Camp)


Assistant National Young People’s Secretary (Camp Manager)


International Staff Band (Music Instructor)


National Headquarters (Camp Instructor)


Young People’s Department


Music Editorial Department (Music Instructor)


(Camp Band Instructor)


Music Editorial Department (Camp Band Instructor)


(British Commissioner)


(Chicago Staff Band)

ALLISTAIR W. SMITH (son of former colony governor)






Names of local interest:

MAURICE BAILEY (Head of Music Southend College)

MICHAEL KENYON (Head of Music Belfair High School and Bandmaster of Hadleigh Temple Band.

Thanks to Peter Reader for making this signed programme available to share on our website.  (Ed)



1947_SA_NtnlMscCmp_HDLGH.pdf (1488k)

This page was added by Graham Cook on 08/05/2017.