In 1895 the Lincoln Chronicle provided a lovely account of the annual Temperance Gala. This event became part of the Malleable Ironworks Band’s history in that the band took part in the procession and the Brass Band Contest which followed. The band had considerable success through the years.
Each year the various “Bands of Hope” would assemble at their respective schools and other meeting places and then set off forming into four separate companies and eventually arriving at the Great Northern Railway Station yard. There the Lincoln Malleable Ironworks Band would strike up a lively air and the whole procession moved off towards the Arboretum. The route taken was up the High Street, then along Silver Street crossing onto Monks Road and finally ending in the Arboretum. The route was lined with people often four or five deep.
The 1985 report tells of how various Ministers (residents of the city) and several officials of the Temperance Society occupied the first positions of the march. They were followed by the Society Band of Hope, girls carrying enormous quantity of flowers and novelty items. Several mailcarts had been requisitioned and elaborately decorated. There was also a girl in a modern period costume riding on a bicycle which created much fun and amusement. Newland Mission produced a novelty show of “what we can do with water”. A small portable steam engine from the Sheaf Ironworks was placed on a dray, which had been decorated to represent the parapet of a bridge over which the engine was being taken. The parapet was made of looped brown and white tissue paper, strung on wires, and had taken several weeks to construct. It was recorded as being a triumph of ingenuity, patience and skill. The parade also had many displays of floral decorations and people wearing colourful sashes. One dray had children seated under a “canopy of apple green and dark green crepe paper” with each child holding an anchor as a symbol of hope. The latter part of the procession was formed by the May Queen’s car, a Maypole and children carrying bouquets of flowers.
The Temporance Society has a bannerette “SIGN THE PLEDGE”.
The best displayers were awarded a bannerette by the three judges. If a group won three consecutive years, they were allowed to keep the bannerette.
Once the procession arrived at the Arboretum tea was provided for all the members of the various “Bands of Hope”, after which a variety of games were provided for the little ones. The brass band contest probably excited as much interest as any of the events. In 1895 six bands entered – Stamford Silver, Grimsby Temperance, Lincoln Newland Mission, Gainsborough Britannia, Lincoln Malleable Ironworks Band and Lincoln Excelsior.
The judge Mr. B.D.Jackson found it impossible to decide a winner between Lincoln Malleable Ironworks Band and Gainsborough Britannia so the prize (£15 for first and £10 for second) was split between the two bands and Grimsby took third prize (£5). Earlier that day in the Lincolnshire competition Lincoln Malleable Ironworks Band came first (prize £5), Lincoln Excelsior came second (prize £3) and Lincoln Newland Mission third (prize £1). The prize for the best uniforms in the procession went to Lincoln Malleable Ironworks Band.
The Arboretum was crowded from early afternoon to late at night with around 20,000 people passing through the gates. For people of the time who seldom set foot outside the county it must hvae been ann event to behold. Unfortunately the event disappeared in the early 1930s probably due to the pressures of the more modern transport and alternative canned entertained coming into fashion.