Bestwood Welfare Black Diamonds Brass Band
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The Bestwood Welfare Black Diamonds Brass Band, colloquially the Bestwood Black Diamonds (or even the Bestwood Band), is an old and well-known brass band based in the village of Bestwood in the north of Nottingham.
The band was formed in 1947 and was originally known as the Bestwood Black Diamonds Colliery Band; the name ‘Black Diamonds’ comes from the coal that was brought up from the Bestwood Colliery. Apparently when it was washed and broken it glistened like diamonds, and was a very high-quality coal. The band rehearsed in the old Lamp Cabin, where miners used to leave their pit lamps and tags, but the pit eventually shut around 1967. The band continued to rehearse in the Lamp Cabin, however, until the workshops then closed. The band were offered various rehearsal spaces around Bestwood, notably St Mark’s Church and the Welfare, before they were offered a permanent home within the Community Centre in the village. Due to their rehearsals in the Welfare, the band added the word "Welfare" to their title. Despite now rehearsing in the Community Centre, the band still has links with the Welfare.
The band originally contested in many brass band competitions, but during the 1990s it began to rapidly decrease in numbers until there were approximately six to eight members remaining. By the early 2000s, however, interest in the band was rebuilt, and - partly due to the students from the University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University - more players began to come in. As the band's numbers increased, they invited their former Euphonium player Brian Draper to conduct the band. He remains the conductor to this day.
The band often play concerts in and around Nottingham, occasionally in aid of a charity. In addition, the band has recently started contesting again, competing mostly in entertainment contests, but often playing fourth section test pieces in more official competitions such as the Butlins Mineworkers Championship, and the brass band "Areas". Although they have not yet come first in anything, the band hope that their increased numbers bode well for the future.