Clifton Village Community Association - Clifton - Brighouse - West Yorkshire - England

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Comic Bands In Clifton

The West Riding of Yorkshire became famous for brass bands in the 19th and 20th centuries and alongside them many villages had comic bands where the players dressed in ragged clothes and played homemade or simple instruments with a few brass ones to keep the tune.  Combs and paper, kettles, pans, rubbing boards, drums, whistles and Tommy talkers (kazoos) were popular. The main role of these bands was to lead the processions for carnivals and field days.

They had various names- Waffen Fuffen (with variations), Bladderhead, comic and Tommy Talker bands. In Clifton they became known as Faff and Fuffen or Faffen  Fuffen bands.

The earliest photo I have of such a band in Clifton was taken outside the Black Bull Inn. It can be dated by the name of the licensee Sydney Schofield who held the tenancy between the late 1890s and 1911. There are nineteen musicians in a variety of outfits. The sign displayed by ‘Little Tommy’ reads ‘McCARTY PRIZE BAND CLIFTON’. This band was started by Joe Hepworth who lived in Collier Fold. Joe could play numerous instruments and transpose music.

The story grew that a farmer had lifted a pig onto the wall to hear the band as it marched past.

The bands survived until the 1930s and then died out as the war approached.

To continue the tradition Faffen Fuffen bands and the ‘pig on the wall’ were re-introduced in the village on various occasions during the second half of the last century including the Coronation parade 1953 and galas in the 1970s. Charlie Ingle was very keen to perpetuate the old customs and willingly supplied the pig. The Clifton Village Community Association organised Faffen Fuffen fairs in 1983, 1994 and 2002.

Margaret Sharp Jan 2013

History of Faffen Fuffen

“The earliest photo I have of such a band in Clifton was taken outside the Black Bull Inn 1911”