The Early Days
The Blackburn and Darwen Band can trace its roots to 1840, with the formation of the Darwen Temperance Band. This band was established on strict teetotal principles. In the event of breaking a pledge of abstinence a member had to pay a fine of 2s, 6d, for the first offence, for the second offence he would pay 5s and the third time he was expelled. How the band has changed over the years! It is believed that a couple of the founder members had to re-mortgage their own houses in order to buy their instruments.
At first the band had no rehearsal room and therefore they had to practise in various member's houses. Finally they were able to move to a bandroom in Foundry Street, Darwen.
The greatest achievement as a Temperance band was in 1856, taking part in the National Finals at Crystal Palace.
Each of the band members had their railway fare paid by the Crystal Palace Company. These judges chose the best bands out of the sixty to play inside the Palace for the prizes, and Darwen Temperance were among the ones selected. Therefore not only the band but also Darwen as a whole was honoured. Each band had to choose its own pieces, and the Darwen Temperance Band played ‘Worthy is the Lamb,’ and ‘Amen’, from the ‘Messiah’. The Darweners were loudly applauded by the audience, but were sadly not successful in carrying off any prizes.