Lydney Male Voice Choir in 1910.
The composer Herbert Howells is 4th from the left in the second row from the front.
Peter Essex added (Sept 2012): "... Harris's Forest of Dean Directory for 1910 gives the following details of this choir: Conductor Mr C B Smale, Hon Treasurer Mr S Stock, junior Accompanist Mr H N Howell - this probably meant Herbert Howells whose middle name was Norman and who was studying under Gloucester Cathedral organist Herbert Brewer at this time as well as tickling the ivories at St Mary's Church. Hon Sec Mr W E Birt, Church Road, Lydney. Committee Messrs G R Gosling G Blacker J Morgan J B Birt G Fisher and C Ridler Chairman.
The directory then says This choir was formed at the commencement of 1908 and has increased in numbers during the year until it now reaches a membership of 72 and goes on to describe winning a competition at Chepstow and coming second at Monmouth. The entry concludes 'Great credit is due to the conductor and to the members themselves considering that three-fourths at least of the members were practically new to choral singing when the choir started'.
The Smales were related to the actress Deborah Kerr. I suspect that they were also related to Smales drapery grocery and furniture store which was then at 12, 16 and 18 Newerne Street.
The male choral tradition is diminished but not dead. It is continued by the much-demanded Forest of Dean Male Voice Choir which was recently reporting a membership of 36.
A perhaps little-known fact about Herbert Howells is that in 1915 he was diagnosed with Grave's Disease and given six months to live but became the first patient in this country to receive radium therapy. It certainly worked. He died in 1983 at the age of 90".
Does anyone recognise the trophy? The 9 small shields may indicate that it had been won 9 times by 1910 - possibly dating it's origin to around 1900?.
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