Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland


Roses Lane Ends band celebrate centenary

Members, family and friends of Roses Lane Ends Flute Band with Mayor Tinsley

THIS year is a very special one for the members, families and friends of Roses Lane Ends, as the band celebrates its 100th anniversary.

The first event to celebrate this very special milestone in the band's history was a recent hosting by the Mayor Councillor James Tinsley, in the Mayor's Parlour, Lagan Valley Island, Lisburn.

Members, ex members and friends, whose ages range from 8 years to late 80's, received a very warm welcome. Band officers returned genuine and grateful thanks. After guiding an enjoyable tour of the premises, the Mayor conducted a very interesting 'questions and answers' session in the Council Chamber.

After each member of the party had been presented with a gift to mark the occasion, the evening concluded with the serving of a delightful supper, which was very much enjoyed and appreciated by everyone.

It is not easy to trace the early history of Roses Lane Ends Flute Band, as all of the foundation members have passed on, and only a few of those who came after, all now in their retirement age, remain.

Younger members of the band with Mayor Tinsley. A mixture of senior and past members of the band with Mayor Tinsley.
Younger members of the band with Mayor Tinsley. A mixture of senior and past members of the band with Mayor Tinsley.

Edward Stitt, who died some years ago at a ripe old age, is the person credited with founding the band, in 1908. As there was then no Roses Lane Ends Hall the early practices were carried out in Ballymacraven School with but few instruments, and as little money. A drum could not be afforded so time was kept by rhythmically beating on a table. Edward Stitt, who on every Friday travelled to Belfast market to sell farm produce for his employer, Mr A.A. Peel, purchased a single flute on his weekly visit until all band members had one each. At half-a-crown (12'h pence) each they were, for the time a relatively dear commodity.

When fully equipped they engaged their first instructor, James Henry Hazlett from Sand Hills on the shore of Lough Neagh, whose wife taught in the local school. The 'uniform' consisted of little round tight-fitting caps, which apparently looked so much like those worn by railway porters at that time, that while on their first parade, band members were asked, jokingly, when the next train was due.

Many years later, the band changed to 'part music' and won first prize in the Ulster Hall, Belfast in 1938. Quite a few successes were also achieved in the 1940's and 1950's, mainly in Portadown Town Hall and at Windsor Park march contests. In more recent times, Roses Lane Ends were successful in winning first prize in the Junior (Classical) Section of the Irish Championships three years in succession from 1999 -2001. Unfortunately, during the past two or three years, membership has somewhat dwindled with some senior members retiring and younger ones leaving the area due to work commitments and college/university education.

The Band is now going through what could be described as a transitional period. To redress the situation the Band is now seeking new members, both flautists and percussionists. There are no age limits, experienced players and learners are all welcome. A learners' class is held weekly. For further details telephone 94 452304.

To mark this Centenary year, different events are being planned, beginning with a Band Parade to Ballinderry Parish Church, where a Centenary Thanksgiving and Praise Service will be held on Sunday June 1 at 7.00pm.

Ulster Star