The exact date Pavilion Brass formed is somewhat lost in the mists of time as, like many bands, it evolved from a small
number of keen players to become the full band it is today, and working out exactly when the band was formed is open to
debate. The process of evolution stated around 1990 but its origins date back a little further and is really centred on the
vision and hard work of one man, Peter Railton, along with the help of a supportive local council in Barking and Dagenham.
Barking & Dagenham was one of the first Local Councils to pioneer a Play Leader Scheme in the UK. This very popular scheme
operated in 20 local Parks to provide out of school play and sports facilities for local children and attracted hundreds of
children every day during the school holidays and summer evenings. In 1980 Peter was employed at the scheme in Goresbrook
Peter, a keen musician at the local Salvation Army hall, was tasked by the Council to find local talent amongst the children
who attended the Play Leader Scheme to form a small brass group to be part of a concert party that would tour round local OAP
homes and social events producing concerts. This group came to be known as the Play Leaders Band. Part of the band membership
included Peter's son, Andrew who still plays with Pavilion on occasions today, and Pavilion's current Principal Cornet, Peter
The Play Leaders Band developed, attracting more players of all ages
and eventually outgrew its role of a local 'community' band to become a band
in its own right and in the late 1980's it became independent from the Play
Leaders Scheme. For various reasons some of the founder members, including both Peters had to leave around this time.
In 1990 Peter Railton still had the backing of the local council, which extended to a rent-free rehearsal building, to run
a band to provide local concerts for the benefit of local residential OAP homes and at charity events. With the Council's
continued support, Peter launched a new brass group to follow the same
'community' ethos of the original
Play Leader Band. Peter Malcolm and Janet Longley (current Principal Horn and a member of the old Play Leader Band), together
with his son Andrew and a couple of other players Peter knew, joined together to form Pavilion Brass.
This small group of dedicated players slowly expanded to a ten piece outfit and then to a full band under the baton of Ron
Smith. New Uniforms were purchased and the band played a mixture of local 'community' concerts as well as jobs in its own
right in and outside of the borough.
The band has continued to flourish under the direction of Ron Joyce, James Topp, Chris Hopelman and its
current stick man, Denis Desmond. Players from other local bands that have unfortunately folded in recent years such as
Hainault and Romford have also become very welcome additions. It has survived losing its free rehearsal building and is now
fully self funding, using rehearsal facilities in a local church - Chadwell Heath Baptist.
The Band undertakes engagements all over the local area and beyond, and were the first brass band for 40 years to play at the
recently refurbished bandstand at Arnold Circus in Shoreditch. A recent engagement also saw them making their film debut in
an art project devised by an artist from New York. Pavilion Brass do indeed now have international appeal !!
However, its local roots are still vitally important and links with Barking and Dagenham council still remain. In 1993
Peter Railton was asked by the Council if the Band could play at the now traditional Carol Service for the Mayor and the
Council staff at the Civic Centre, held every Christmas Eve. The Service is held in the Civic Centre's grand marble hall
and is indeed a prestigious event which the Band look forward to each year.
To this day, Pavilion Brass continue to be the only brass band in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham and remain
proud of its origins and looks forward to the future.