|Born||7 October 1858
Woolwich, Kent, England
|Died||1 March 1925 (aged 66)
|Occupation||Conductor and composer|
Thomas Bidgood was born in Woolwich, Kent. His father was William John Bidgood, a master plumber, and his mother was Jane Bidgood, née Williams. His early musical training included learning the violin at the London Academy of Music, taught by Signor Erba, and singing in the church choir. He also learned a number of wind instruments after going to concerts given by the band of the Royal Artillery. He played the althorn and E♭ bass in the band of the 9th Kent Artillery Volunteers.
While studying at the London Conservatory of Music, he won several awards for his achievements. After graduation, he worked as an orchestral conductor, teacher and composer. While working at the Beckton Gas Works he became bandmaster of the Beckton Band of the Gas, Light and Coke Company. Later he founded various theatre orchestras in addition to conducting his own professional orchestra and wind band. As a composer he wrote entertainment music, waltzes, dances and marches.
He was the father of bandleader Harry Bidgood. By a mistress, he was also the father of the composer, conductor and founder of the London Chamber Orchestra, Anthony Bernard. He committed suicide by gas poisoning "while of unsound mind" (according to a coroner's report written on 3 March 1925) and is buried in a public, unmarked grave in Tottenham Cemetery.
A glimpse into his personal life is given by a report in The Times, after the house where he and his wife lived (5 Vicarage Lane, West Ham) was burgled in February 1891. He had returned from a professional engagement at around 2 a.m., went down for supper, and apprehended the burglar in the breakfast room. At the Police Station the burglar was relieved of Mr Bidgood's waistcoat, jacket, blue dust coat, overcoat, watch and chain, and other articles.
- Sons of the Brave, his most famous march, written in 1898, very popular during the Boer Wars, later used in the film A Canterbury Tale (1944)
- other marches including:
- Knight Errant (1901)
- The Lads in Navy Blue, Merry Soldiers, Silent Heroes (1909)
- The British Legion and A Call to Arms (1912)
- My Old Kentucky Home and On to Victory (1917)
- For King and Country (1920)
- Vimy Ridge (1921)
- Heroes of the Flag (1926)
- Allies Parade, The Farmer's Boy, The Heroes of England, Rubinstein March and Where Glory Leads
- A Motor ride, a humorous orchestral piece that had some popularity in the pre-1914 motoring age
- A. W. Cockerill (2008). "Sons of the Brave, a march by Thomas Bidgood". Duke of York’s Royal Military School. Retrieved 18 October 2009.
- Thomas Bidgood article on German Wikipedia
- "Police" (pdf). The Times. London. 28 February 1891. pg. 5; Issue 33260; col E. Retrieved 1 June 2011.
- "Thomas Bidgood". marchdb.net. 1 March 2007. Retrieved 18 October 2009.
- Steve Crook (June 2009). "The Powell & Pressburger Pages". Retrieved 18 October 2009.