In 1833, the Select Committee for Public Walks was introduced so that `theprovision of parks would lead to a better use of Sundays and the replacement ofthe debasing pleasures.' Music was seen as an important moral influenceand `musical cultivation ... the safest and surest method of popular culture',and it was the eventual introduction of the bandstand which became asignificant aspect of the reforming potential of public parks.
However, the move from the bull baiting of `MerrieEngland' to the ordered recreation provided by bandstands has never been fullycomprehended.
Likewise, the extent of changes in leisure and publicentertainment and the impact of music at seaside resorts often revolved aroundthe use of seaside bandstands, with the subsequent growth of coastal resorts. Music in public spaces, and the history and heritage of the bandstand haslargely been ignored.
Yet in their heyday, there were over 1,500 bandstands inthe country, in public parks, on piers and seaside promenades attracting thelikes of crowds of over 10,000 in the Arboretum in Lincoln, to regular weekdayand weekend concerts in most of London's parks up until the beginning of theSecond World War.
Little is really known about them, from their evolution as`orchestras' in the early Pleasure Gardens, the music played within them, totheir intricate and ornate ironwork or art deco designs and the impact of thegreat foundries, their worldwide influence, to the great decline post SecondWorld War and subsequent revival in the late 1990s.
This book tells the storyof these pavilions made for music, and their history, decline and revival.