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Mr. William Skinner
Rushden Musician Passes Away

William Skinner

The Rushden Echo 23rd July 1915, transcribed by Kay Collins

Mr. William Skinner’s Pioneer Work

We sincerely regret to record the fact that one of Rushden’s pioneer musicians passed away at 47, Queen-street, Rushden, on Tuesday in the person of Mr. William Skinner, at the age of 79 years.

The deceased gentleman had been in failing health for the past 12 months, although up to that time he had continued at his employment at Messrs. John Cave and Sons Ltd., with which well-known firm he had had 40 years’ connection.

It is but a fortnight since that he was compelled to take to his bed owing to chronic bronchitis, and it is probably that his advanced age precluded any possibility of his rallying from the attack, at any rate the end of a long and useful life came peacefully on Tuesday,

He leaves a widow, five children, 27 grandchildren, and 11 great-grand-children to mourn their loss.

The late Mr. Skinner was a native of Raunds and was married at Chelveston church to Miss Morris, daughter of the late Mr. J. Morris, schoolmaster of Chelveston. He celebrated his diamond wedding in November, 1913. He was a life-long teetotaller and non-smoker, and an ardent advocate of these principles which he so firmly held.

It was in March 1874, that Mr. Skinner came with his wife to reside in Rushden, and here he at once commenced to exert his influence in the direction of stimulating an interest in the town for the musical art, which with him was an obsession. During his first year’s residence in the town he organised a concert amongst his fellow employees on behalf of the Northampton Hospital and at this function a brass band he had formed for the occasion played several selections. At this time the only band was a combination of drums and fifes, and it is probable that the music dispersed by this, in its way, excellent organisation, was scarcely in accord with the more aesthetic tastes of Mr. Skinner. At any rate it was largely owing to his initiative that in the following year a meeting was held in the old Temperance Hall for the purpose of forming a brass band and out of this arose the Rushden Temperance Silver Prize Band. Mr. Skinner was appointed the first conductor, which position he held for 20 years. It was under his baton that all the earlier successes of this famous organisation were achieved.

Rushden Argus, 23rd July 1915

The Late Mr. W. Skinner

We deeply regret to record the death of Mr. W. Skinner, of 47, Queen-street, Rushden, a very old and highly respected resident of the town.

Mr SkinnerThe deceased passed away at the ripe age of 79 years on Tuesday, after a long and useful life. He had been ailing for about twelve months, but only took to his bed about a fortnight ago, his trouble being chronic bronchitis. The deceased had five children, 27 grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren, and celebrated his diamond wedding in November of 1913, the combined ages of the couple being at that time 159 years.

Mr. Skinner was exceedingly well known in musical circles in the country, and particularly in Northamptonshire. He started the now famous Rushden Temperance Band, and was a very popular member of it for 38 years, twenty of which he acted as its conductor. Mr. Skinner played the cornet, trombone, and euphonium, and in later years the violin and 'cello, his favourite instrument being the violin. The deceased musician also had a great deal to do with starting the Rushden Choral Society on its way, and was a valued member of the Rushden Baptist Choir. He was the efficient choirmaster of the Higham Ferrers Wesleyan Choir for 25 years. Mrs. Skinner was a Miss Morris, of Chelveston, daughter of Mr. Jesse Morris, the schoolmaster.

Mr. Skinner was born at Raunds, and was married at Chelveston Church. Up to a year ago the deceased worked for Messrs. J. Cave and Sons, where he was employed for 40 years. He was a total abstainer and had not touched intoxicants for 57 years. He attributed his good health and longevity to this fact.

The Rushden Echo 30th July 1915

The Late Mr. William Skinner - Rushden’s Pioneer Musician - The Funeral

The funeral of the late Mr. Wm. Skinner, whose death we recorded last week, took place last Friday afternoon in the cemetery, many friends of the deceased assembling to pay their last tribute of respect to his memory.

Amongst those present at the graveside were Messrs. David Darnell, C. White, G. Bayes, W. Clark, S. Skinner, B. Vorley, C. M. Fisher and Dr. C. R. Fisher.

The Rev. H. J. Horn officiated both in the cemetery chapel and at the graveside. The coffin, which was of polished elm with brass fittings, bore the inscription:-

Died July 20th, 1915
Aged 79 years

The mourners comprised Mrs. Wm. Skinner (widow), Mr. J. King Skinner (son), Mr. G. Skinner (son), Mrs. Langford (daughter), Mrs. Mooring and Mrs. Knight (daughters), Mr. W. B. Sykes (son-in-law) and Mrs. Sykes, Mrs. J. King Skinner (daughter-in-law), Mrs. Hutton (grand-daughter), Mr. W Langford (son-in-law), Mr. Hugh Sykes (grandson), Miss Mabel Skinner, Miss Langford and Mrs. Walden (grand-daughters).

There also followed:- Mr. Amos Cave, Mr. Wilfred Capon (representing Messrs. J. Cave and Sons Ltd), Messrs. A. Bates and W. H. Howes representing the Rushden Adult School Male Voice Choir, of which deceased was the founder, and Messrs. B. Smith (bandmaster) and A. Robinson, sen., (representing the Rushden Temperance Band). Mr. Arthur Cave would also have followed, but was out of town.

Messrs. Whittington and Tomlin were the undertakers. A number of beautiful floral tributes were placed on the grave, as follow:-

In fond remembrance from his sorrowing wife.

In loving memory of dear father from his children.

In loving remembrance of dear Grand-pa from Will, Sis and family (Raunds).

To dear Grandfather from Clara and Fred, “Peace, perfect peace”.

To dear Grand-pa from Harry and Lizzie (London).

To dear Grand-pa from Florrie and Nellie.

In loving memory of our dear Grand-father from Jim and Mary (Northampton).

In loving remembrance of dear Grand-pa from Lily and Kate (London).

With sincere sympathy from Rushden Park-road Baptist Choir.

In loving memory from Mr J. W. Black and daughter.

In affectionate memory from the Rushden Adult School Male Choir.

With deepest sympathy from Mr. and Mrs. G. Barnes.

To dear “Gramp” from Mrs. Walden and sister Nellie. “Peace, perfect peace”.

Handel House built in 1887 47 & 49 Queen Street
Handel House built in 1887
Above: No 47 Queen Street - Handel House - home of William Skinner - and No 49

Extract: Memories of the 1890s by R E Bayes
Grandfather Skinner, a choir and band conductor, and the owner of a Sunday frock coat and silk hat, lived in Handel House, Queen Street, and was timekeeper in the Cave factory.

Wm Skinner in 1888

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