In the early 1950s a Salvation Army band from Bromley in Kent visited Wellington, for what reason we don’t know.

However, several photographs of the visit were taken, and although the band itself may be of little interest, the buildings in the background may evoke memories of life in Wellington at the time,

The location of this picture is readily identified as being the western end of Fore Street with the unmistakable Lloyds Bank building being very prominent. A plaque on the building now gives a brief history of the Fox, Fowler Bank which had it built in 1885. That bank was taken over by Lloyds in 1921.

Now, although the bank is always referred to as Fox’s or as Fox, Fowler, a close inspection of the photograph reveals that the carving on the frieze above the windows says WELLINGTON SOMERSET BANK. Back in 1885 the founders of the bank were, it seems, reticent about giving their name to it. This frieze is currently hidden behind the green Lloyds Bank fascia board.

The shops beyond the bank were occupied by C J Rowland – selling paint and wallpaper - not the sort of specialist shop found in Wellington these days, Rossiters – a chemists, and Farmer’s – a drapers – where Perry’s is now.

Other points worth noting are the No Waiting sign, two locally made cast iron lamp standards – one partially hidden by the flag – and a young lad in cap and gabardine raincoat, obviously enjoying himself, or perhaps just smiling for the cameraman.

Although it is a wet day some members of the band appear to be playing, though the band master is not wielding his baton. At the back of the uniformed Salvation Army band, all men of course, readers may be able to make out a man in an army greatcoat, with stripes on his sleeve and army beret, playing a trumpet. Was he a part of the official visiting band or was he just tagging along?

What may be thought of as just a picture of a band can reveal quite a bit more about the town, its history and society in general.

PHOTO: Wellington

Local History & Museum Society

WORDS: Colin Spackman