William Halliwell

William Halliwell    Conductor

William was born in 1864 in Roby Mill a village next to Upholland and five miles from Wigan, Lancashire. He had a brother called David Halliwell who gained an MBE and was Chairman of the Roby Mills New Methodist Sunday School when they laid the foundation stone on the 2 September 1937 to a new school a sequel to the one that he and William had gone to in their earlier days.

William Halliwell’s musical life started as a Harmonium player with the hope of his parents that he would graduate to the organ. By the age of 12 William was good enough to play the organ at several places of worship.

At the age of 16 William had managed to change to the cornet by joining the Upholland Temperance Band where he gained a tutor and within twelve months he was playing solo cornet with the band. Four years later he was appointed Bandmaster and started doing solo cornet and trumpet engagements for concerts and oratorios with bands like the Wigan Orchestral Society.

In 1887 William was engaged by the Wigan Rifle Band as solo cornet appearing for his first outing at the Belle Vue contest in July. Success led to him being appointed Bandmaster with the Rifle’s, however his personnel engagements started to take over and he soon decided to resign his position.

In February 1893 William was asked to return to the Wigan Rifle Band as conductor to help improve the standard of musicianship. Although some of the members had moved on to the Pemberton Old Band William was able to make a noticeable improvement to the band.

William was also Senior Bandmaster to the whole Brigade of Territorials and in 1894 was asked to take charge of the Fifth Territorial Battalion, Manchester Regiment Band who provided the Guard of Honour when Queen Victoria opened the ManchesterShip Canal on the 21 May 1894 (The canal had been opened on the 1st January 1894 to traffic).

Over the year Mr Halliwell went on to conduct The Standish Brass Band.

In 1910 William Rimmer retired from conducting the famous Foden Motor Works Band and recommended William Halliwell to take on the role as Professional Conductor with the band.

At the National Championships in 1911, William Rimmer was conducting four of the top six prizewinning bands including Fodens.  

                1911 RESULTS   FIRST                    Perfection Soap Works (W Halliwell)

                                                SECOND               Foden Motor Works (W Halliwell)

                                                FOURTH               Shaw (W Halliwell)  

                                                SIXTH                   Spencer’s Steel Works (W Halliwell) 

                                                UNPLACED         HebdenBridge (W Halliwell)

                                                UNPLACED         Luton Red Cross (W Halliwell) 

William Halliwell was no stranger to the Royal family playing in front of them at Crewe Hall with Fodens in 1913 and in front of the King at LambtonCastle the home of Lord Durham and BuckinghamPalace with St Hilda’s Colliery Band.

On leaving Fodens for reasons that the band played better for Fred Mortimer than they did for him, he went on to conduct other bands, taking them to success at the National Competitions and Belle Vue.

Other bands Halliwell conducted included –

                Irwell Springs, Nelson Old, Wingates, Black Dyke Mills, Clydebank Burgh,

                Besses O ‘th Barn, Brighouse and Rastrick, Lincoln Melleable Works,

                SowerbyBridge, Harton Colliery, Munn and Feltons.

On the 24 April 1946 aged 82. He was buried in UphollandChurchCemetery.


Stewart Green   (Adapted from an article by Allan Littlemore) 

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