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All I can find similar  is Astleys [looking online history] ... that there were an Astley family or band of concertina players over here in UK apparently, long time ago, and based somewhere near Oldham Manchester. Going back to end of 1890s etc...  a document shows a very interesting series of images; but they may be different to your Astley enquiry. There again it is outside an Astleys store of some kind [very curious!]

It is maybe another one to one you are interested in [and no ladies seen in the images].

image.png.6840e37e52b1843c1f66407b02d52328.png

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Thanks Simon,

The photos were taken in the 1940s, I know they played at benefits for wounded service men for the Mexbro War Casualty Fund before emmigrating to Australia in 1948. In 1959 after her husbands death Jenny Astley sent a concertina and music to the Kensington Septet lead by Len Jones. That's all I have apart from one of the miniatures seen in the photo

 

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Yes, that's interesting, and I only assume they may have been related to those others [Astleys] or maybe same? 

If you meant Mexborough [that's not far from Doncaster [in South Yorkshire]..  There's a lot on the Mexborough war casualty fund online, and even details on the war graves etc.. Maybe this has confused the matter even more? Anyway I hope it may help in some small way?  With Astley's being on concertina related photos form yourself, and those I  have seen, form over here, maybe they had direct connections after all?  Keep at it [the research] as I know from research done by myself, [on other subjects]  you often start with one simple premise, and then end up with a world opened up you never originally envisaged.

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Curiously (but coincidentally), the name Astley (which I never came across before seeing this thread) appears as an answer in today’s New York Times Crossword Puzzle at 49-Down. It is, however, a reference to Rick Astley.

 

astley.thumb.jpg.ffab129b82c22226ea307cccf8593617.jpg

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1 hour ago, wes williams said:

If they are related to the Oldham Astleys, Stephen Chambers may be able to provide more information as he has researched the earlier generation here .

 

I think the answer is in footnote number 20 of my article Wes: 

 

"Joseph Astley’s younger son, Cecil Arthur Astley, born Oldham, 3Q 1890 ... later emigrated to Australia, where the family concertina connection seems to have been maintained as there is a mention, in ‘The Concertina’ section of World Accordion Review (8/4 [1953], 31), that ‘Rosa Loader has arrived safely in Australia and has already contacted the Astleys’."

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Chris, quite a bit about Cecil and Jennie Astley from newspapers on Trove. It would appear that they arrived in Australia around 1924.

 

From the Adelaide Daily Herald 15th April 1924:

"At the Majestic Theatre this week
Cecil and Jennie Astley make their
first appearance before an Australian
audience and created much enthusiasm
in the manner in which they manipulated
their various instruments."

 

And also of interest, from The News (Adelaide) 5th November 1925:

"Mr. Cecil Astley, who is appearing in a musical partnership with Miss Jennie Astley at West's Olympia this week, is an Englishman by birth. He comes of a musical family, both his mother and father being clever instrumentalists. He left school to join a vaudeville company in which he appeared as a concertina and piano soloist. Before receiving an offer from the Fuller management to come to Australia, Mr. Astley was a member of Jack Hilton's famous Piccadilly Hotel Band. When the engagement of the Astleys had been completed with the Fuller Circuit these talented musicians decided to see more of Australia than just the beaten round traveled by most visiting artists, so they joined a touring company.

"It was some company," as Mr. Astley remarked. "Miss Astley and I were-responsible for the taking of the tickets, and providing our double turn, and I was engaged as accompanist, general stage manager and chauffeur. for the whole party touring the country in a 'Tin Lizzie.' The northerly parts of Queensland and New South Wales were visited. The townships usually consisted of a general store, a hotel, and a small hall. For miles we would travel across wild plains and never see a sign of habitation, and when we arrived at the hotel there still seemed to be about 10 people in the township. Yet when the curtain went up the hall was crowded. It amazes me to this day to know were these people came from. Some of them had traveled miles to see the show. Saxophones and concertinas are used in the act. The one that Miss Jennie Astley plays was won at the Crystal Palace Theatre by Mr. Astley in a brass band contest at which there were more than 3,000 competitors."

Edited by malcolm clapp
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On 4/11/2022 at 12:31 PM, SIMON GABRIELOW said:

  a document shows a very interesting series of images; but they may be different to your Astley enquiry. There again it is outside an Astleys store of some kind [very curious!]

It is maybe another one to one you are interested in [and no ladies seen in the images].

image.png.6840e37e52b1843c1f66407b02d52328.png

 

She's not so easy to spot in your small, dark, image of the Oldham Concertina Band on Coronation Day 1911, but the version of the same post card that's in my article Joseph Astley, Oldham Concertina Band and the MHJ Shield  (possibly the "document" you mention?) clearly shows a young woman (at 10 o'clock to the big bass drum) wearing a large Edwardian hat and a full-length dress, and she's even more obvious (at bottom right) in the 1908 photo of the band with the Challenge Shield.

 

I even commented (in footnote no.38) that "The very presence of a female band member in the two Oldham Band photos is in itself noteworthy for the era, and unique amongst the images of (non-Salvation Army) concertina bands that I have seen dating from before the First World War. However, that conflict saw women take on many roles that had previously only been filled by men, and there is evidence that in the early 1920s a few of them did play in some of the bands (the ones that I’m aware of being Premier, Ashton-under-Lyne, and Barton Hall)."

 

Cecil Arthur Astley (1890-1959) is kneeling, to the right of the bass drum, in the 1911 photo.

 

The "Astley's store" in the background (not altogether surprisingly) sold concertinas, and also bicycles.

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What fascinating information is being recovered over this topic; I found that image online when I was trying to help out on the Astley name for MR Chris Rowe in here.  It's amazing how one basic line of request for information can expand to even wider results. I know concertinas enjoyed a golden period in this time of history, and were already sold in their masses.

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 4/11/2022 at 2:26 PM, chris rowe said:

Thanks Simon,

The photos were taken in the 1940s, I know they played at benefits for wounded service men for the Mexbro War Casualty Fund before emmigrating to Australia in 1948. In 1959 after her husbands death Jenny Astley sent a concertina and music to the Kensington Septet lead by Len Jones. That's all I have apart from one of the miniatures seen in the photo

 

 

Hi Chris, I'm from Mexborough myself, I just wondered if you could expand on the Mexborough connection if poss...I've had a look through the census'

and there are no Astleys living here in the late 19th or 20th centuries...so it seems a little odd, unless perhaps Cecil & Jenny Ashley, who were in the area at various times in the theatres.

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Posted (edited)

I could be mistaken, but I'm fairly certain that the photos posted by Chris were of an earlier date than the 1940s. The Astleys would have to have been in their 50s by then, but they appear to be somewhat younger than that.

 

And although I'm no expert, a lady friend of mine to whom I showed the photos, suggested that they may have been "expecting a happy event" at the time the photos were taken. Yes, I know that it sometimes happens at a later than average age, but statistically it seems to point to an earlier date if it was indeed the case.

 

 

(Sorry if this post offends feminist sensibilities)

Edited by malcolm clapp
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Anyone who successfully brews beer can't be sad !

The only link I have for the Astleys in Mexborough are two letters from  for the G.A.Beaumont, the entertainment secretary of the 'Mexbro' War Casualties Fund, one (17/07/48) asking them to entertain the wounded in the M.O.P Hospital in Chapel-Allerton, and the other (20/07/48) thanking them, and wishing them "bon voyage" to Australia. I you would like a copy, pm me with your email address

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So it would appear that the Astleys (Cecil and Jennie) returned to England sometime after 1925 and then came back to Australia once more in the late 1940s. Might be worth a further search on the Trove site for later references to their concertina activities, though I suspect that public interest in concertinas had waned somewhat in those post war years. Maybe not so the saxophone, their other instrument of expertise, so that's another avenue worth researching....

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On 5/6/2022 at 5:57 AM, chris rowe said:

Anyone who successfully brews beer can't be sad !

The only link I have for the Astleys in Mexborough are two letters from  for the G.A.Beaumont, the entertainment secretary of the 'Mexbro' War Casualties Fund, one (17/07/48) asking them to entertain the wounded in the M.O.P Hospital in Chapel-Allerton, and the other (20/07/48) thanking them, and wishing them "bon voyage" to Australia. I you would like a copy, pm me with your email address

 

Thanks for that info Chris, I reckon I've got it now...it's not Mexborough the place, I think it's the Earl of Mexborough's fund....the family seat was at Methley in the Leeds area..as is Chapel Allerton. There were a number of pubs in the Leeds area called The Mexborough Arms.

    I don't profess to know the details of the landed gentry, but the landed gentry of Mexborough ( the town) were the Montagu-Yarborough family...in fact our own Mexborough Concertina Band Club was built on their land. Had the activities been related to the area it would almost certainly have been for the benefit of the wounded in Mexborough's Montagu Hospital...I'm in our heritage society and never heard of such a fund, and there are no mentions in the newspaper archive that I can find.

   Hope that solves it!!

 

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Posted (edited)
On 4/13/2022 at 5:36 PM, SIMON GABRIELOW said:

What fascinating information is being recovered over this topic; I found that image online when I was trying to help out on the Astley name for MR Chris Rowe in here.  It's amazing how one basic line of request for information can expand to even wider results. I know concertinas enjoyed a golden period in this time of history, and were already sold in their masses.

 

Do you know York had its own Concertina Band as early as 1883? ...run by George Brown,  Church Lane, Tannery Row. The Secretary was David Brown, address,  18 and a half, Burton Lane.

Edited by sadbrewer
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York, a concertina band? No i never knew that. I wonder where they bought the instruments. One place may have been a good old greatly acclaimed music shop that started in the 18th century ( now gone!).. Banks Music Shop it was called; marvellous place, music books, instruments, records.. in more modern times nearly everything you could wish for. And where I got my own concertina from (1999).

Shop now gone .  Sold to chain of generic music shops! Burton Stone Lane is no more than a mile or so from City Centre. ( Of York).

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