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Scotland’s Oldest Brass Band

Penston. Many of you won’t even have heard of it and indeed it is a blink and you’ll miss it spot on the map. However the small hamlet has a claim to fame. It can boast the oldest brass band in Scotland. Penston Brass Band, formed in 1846, was originally affiliated with the Penston colliery and it traditionally drew its members from the nearby mining and agricultural communities.

Penston indicated by the red marker

The band have become an East Lothian fixture playing at local galas, fetes and estates as well as competing in and winning many competitions across the years.  

Penston Brass Band, 1875

One family in particular, the Grays have been instrumental (pun intended) in the bands continuing success. At one point no less than twelve members of the family were playing in the band. George Gray held the position of bandmaster for 40 years and arranged and composed much of the music during his time.

The Grays: George, Kenneth, Robert, Jim, John, Sandy & Tommy

It was one of these Grays, along with a member of another long serving family the Ross’, who recently allowed us access to a wonderful collection of photographs of the band. You can view the full collection here

The band celebrates its 174th birthday on 6th April 2020