Good Friday was traditionally the day of the Band of Hope demonstrations. In Rhyl children would assemble at the Town Hall and then parade around the town before going back to the various Sunday Schools for tea. In the evening a concert was held during which there would be music and recitations. The Band of Hope was a teetotal organisation, the members of which signed a pledge that they would not drink intoxicating liquor. Its objective was to teach children the importance of sobriety and teetotalism.
J.W. Jones recalled in his book “Rhyl and Round About” that “Each Chapel paraded its members – mostly children – preceded by a painted or embroidered banner, led by the Rhyl Town Band. The procession was followed by tea-parties at the various Sunday Schools.”
This excerpt is from the Rhyl Record and Avertiser, April 6th 1907;
“The annual demonstration arranged by the Rhyl Band of Hope Union was held under happy conditions on Good Friday afternoon. The weather was perfect, and the hundreds of children, happy looking and bright, and for the most part well dressed, made an exceedingly pleasing spectacle as they paraded the town, headed by the Town Band. The procession formed into line at the town hall and the route was as follows:- Water street, West Parade, East Parade, Conwy Street, Queen’s Walk, The Grove, Brighton Road, Gladstone Bridge and Mill Bank Road. The Bands of Hope were in the following order: 1. Bethel C.M. 2. Soar Welsh Wesleyan 3. Mill Bank Mission 4. Christ Church 5. Presbyterian 6. Welsh Baptists 7. Clwyd Street C.M. 8. Brunswick Welsh Wesleyan 9. Salem C.M. 10. Carmel Congregational 11. Morfa Bach Mission.”
“Bethel Band of Hope had the honour of leading the procession, this being their year to entertain the band. After having journeyed along the route as far as Mill Bank the procession dismissed. The band then led the children to the Chapel where tea was arranged by the lady members. After tea close on 100 children gathered in a field kindly lent by Mrs Roberts, Cefndy Farm, where they played until it was time for the concert”.
The Band of Hope was founded in Leeds by a Baptist Minister following the death of a young man whose life was cut short by alcohol. In 1855 a national organisation was founded, members would pledge not to drink alcohol and would receive a medal or badge. Pomp and pageantry were popularly used to attract new members and by 1935 the organisation had 3 million members. Hope UK still exists as a Childrens’ Charity http://www.hopeuk.org/
Does anyone still have a Band of Hope medal or membership card in their family?
Some of the slogans on banners of the Band of Hope read:
“Buy bread instead of beer”
“Parents consider your example”
“Beer is best left alone”
“No beer in this child’s home”
“Why not abstain?”
“Religion and temperance. Guarding youth from evil”
“Come and join us”
To watch wonderful footage of a Band of Hope demonstration, 1901, (Manchester) click on the link below:
To see images and hear memories of the Band of Hope in Wales, see the Peoples’ Collection link below: