Home A short biography Available sheet music Roses of Picardy: the real story
About us Days in the life of Haydn Wood The recorded works The lyrics of Roses of Picardy
Contact us Haydn Wood and Slaithwaite Live performances Roses of Picardy printed music
  Haydn Wood and the Isle of Man   The performers of Roses of Picardy
The Haydn Wood Music Shop Haydn Wood, symphonist   A discography of Roses of Picardy
Our CD A Breezy Ballad Haydn Wood and films   Les enregistrements de Roses de Picardie
Our lectures Haydn Wood 2009   Roses of Picardy in films
      Roses of Picardy: a research in progress

 

 

 

Haydn Wood and Slaithwaite

 

 

Haydn Wood was born on March 25th, 1882, at the Lewisham Hotel in Slaithwaite, Yorkshire, England.
His parents Clement and Sabra Wood owned and ran the pub and hotel.
They moved to Douglas, Isle of Man, in 1885.

 

Clement Wood.

Sabra Sykes Wood.

The Lewisham Hotel ca 1886.
Little Haydn, seen here on the right, was back on holiday with his sisters Eliza and Adeline.
Their eldest sister Mary Hannah and her husband Frank Cullerne, seen in the doorway, were the new hotel keepers.

 


 

At age 12, Haydn Wood returned from the Isle of Man and played in a concert organised by his brother Harry, on January 21st, 1895, at the Liberal Hall, Slaithwaite. The solo violinists were Harry and Haydn, with their brother Daniel the solo flautist. At age 16, in April 1898, while he was studying violin, piano and composition at the Royal College of Music in London, Haydn Wood returned again to the Liberal Hall to play in another of Harry's concerts. Harry and Haydn were the violinists, Daniel the flautist, and their sister Eliza a pianist, playing with other singers and instrumentalists. A third concert took place on January 6th, 1902, at the Liberal Hall with Haydn and the same brothers and sister.

Haydn was then already known as 'a real live prodigy..., a bright-looking little lad, all smiles and collar, who plays the fiddle as if it were the easiest thing in the world, as easy as eating jam tarts' (The Musical Times, January 1st, 1898).

 

Haydn Wood and the Slaithwaite Philharmonic Society

 


Haydn Wood performed again at the Liberal Hall on October 22nd, 1913, in a concert organised by the Slaithwaite Philharmonic Society. His sister Eliza was at the piano. He played a Hungarian Rhapsody by Hauser, Humoresque by Dvorak, a Sérénade by Gabriel Pierné, and his own Slumber Song. And he accompanied baritone Montague Borwell in The Sea Road, one of the Three Sea Songs which he had composed.

He is not known to have performed again in Slaithwaite until November 21st, 1934. He was by then a renowned composer and conductor.

In this concert, he conducted the Slaithwaite Philharmonic Society's full orchestra in some of his own compositions: A Manx Rhapsody, Prelude, A Brown Bird Singing and Three Famous Pictures. In the same concert, tenor Frank Titterton sang Haydn Wood's songs A Song of Quietness, Singing to You and The Unforgotten Melody, accompanied by the composer on the violin.

 


 

The Slaithwaite Band and Haydn Wood

 

For the formal opening of the new bandroom by Harry Wood (August 29th, 1925), Haydn Wood sent a telegram: 'Please convey to Slaithwaite Brass Band my heartiest good wishes for their future welfare; sorry I am not able to be present to wish you luck personally'. And he sent a five guineas donation.

In 1933 (November?), Harry Wood wrote from London: 'I am staying with my brother Haydn... We join in offering Slaithwaite Band our heartiest congratulations on their wonderful success, and hope this will be the forerunner of many more triumphs for our native musicians'. The Band had just won first prize in the Grand Shield competition, at Crystal Palace.

Haydn Wood composed a signature tune for the Band, a march, Merridale. It was given its first public performance at a carol concert on December 19th, 1948, and was broadcast by the Band on July 4th, 1949, from the BBC North Regional Station. The Band performed it again on December 21st, 2008, and recorded it in 2016.

 

The piano reduction of Merridale in Haydn Wood's own manuscript.

 

 
In 1975, the Slaithwaite Band recorded Haydn Wood's famous composition Roses of Picardy, in an arrangement for flugel horn (soloist: Trevor Wood).
Roy Newsome conducted the Band.

(Look Records, LK/LP 6028)


In 2016, the Slaithwaite Band recorded Merridale, the march that Haydn Wood composed for them, and A Brown Bird Singing in an arrangement for cornet (soloist Joanne Griffith).
Robert Westacott conducted the Band.

(CD Evolution)
 



 

Over the years, Haydn Wood with his wife Dorothy Court visited Slaithwaite and the Colne Valley many times. His sisters Eliza and Adeline plus several nieces and nephews, were living in Golcar, at 286-288 Scar Lane.

 

 

Eliza [Elise Gledhill] said: 'I live here with my niece, but every summer Haydn used to come and stay with us for a fortnight or so. He loved the Colne Valley and came up as often as he could' (Telegraph and Argus, March 14th, 1959).

 

From left: Mary Hannah [May] Wood, Dorothy Court, Haydn Wood and Eliza B. Gledhill, at St John's, Birkby, Huddersfield, October 17th, 1951.
(Photo courtesy of Pauline Hook)

 

Harry Wood died in Golcar on December 25th, 1938. Adeline Wood died in Golcar on September 10th, 1948. Haydn and Dorothy attended Harry's and Adeline's funerals at the Slaithwaite cemetery. Eliza B. Gledhill died on December 26th, 1966.

 


 

The Lewisham Hotel remembers Haydn Wood

 

The Lewisham Hotel in 1965.

 

The family sold the Lewisham Hotel in 1945 (February?) to the Bentley and Shaw brewery.

After Haydn Wood's death, Messrs. Bentley and Shaw fixed a brass plaque on the wall at the entrance to the hotel, to celebrate the composer and violinist's birthday. On this March 25th, 1960, Mr. George Robinson, the landlord, provided a free supper for customers.

And on November 18th, 1960, a room to commemorate Haydn Wood was opened at the hotel by the Chairman of Colne Valley Council, Clr. J. R. Sykes. 'A photograph of the composer looks down from a wall which also has framed copies of two of his most famous songs, Roses of Picardy and A Brown Bird Singing... The room was blessed by the Vicar of Slaithwaite, the Reverend J. T. Pendleton. Later there was a musical evening which appropriately began with the singing of Roses of Picardy' (Huddersfield Daily Examiner, November 19th, 1960).

On July 25th, 1966, 'customers at the Lewisham Hotel... sang Roses of Picardy and his other songs in a final sing-song before the hotel closed its doors for the last time... The hotel... has been closed by Charrington's Yokshire Breweries for economic reasons... Among scores of people who packed the hotel... were the composer's niece, Miss Mary Hannah [May] Wood , and his godson, Mr. Haydn Wood, both of whom live at Golcar. Said Miss Wood, "... My uncle was very attached to the Lewisham and always wanted to visit it when he returned to the district"' (Huddersfield Daily Examiner, July 26th ,1966)

What happened to the plaque when the hotel was demolished in January 1969 remains a mystery. It was missing until July 1984, when it was returned to the Haydn Wood Musical Festival, Slaithwaite, from Brasschaat in Belgium (Huddersfield Daily Examiner, August 1st, 1984).

Another plaque was affixed upon the wall that was erected on part of the site where the Lewisham Hotel once stood. It was unveiled by Miss Mary Freeman, President of the Colne Valley Society, on May 1st, 1987.

 

 


 

 

The Haydn Wood Musical Festival was first held in September 1960, at the Colne Valley High School.
The Haydn Wood Trophy was presented by the last surviving of Haydn Wood's brothers and sisters, Mrs. Eliza B. Gledhill of Golcar.
Many trophies were added later, among them the Lewisham Plaque, the plaque that had been fixed at the entrance of the Lewisham Hotel in 1960.

The 50th Festival was held on November 5th, 6th & 7th, 2009, at the Linthwaite Methodist Church Centre, Linthwaite.
It included a new category: the Haydn Wood Class, the test piece being the contestants' own choice of Haydn Wood's music.

Scandalously, the Festival Committee has decided not to carry on with the Haydn Wood Class, and therefore not to encourage the performing of Haydn Wood's repertoire.

The 56th Festival was held on November 20th & 21st, 2015.

The 57th Festival will be held on November 18th & 19th, 2016, at the Linthwaite Methodist Church Centre, Linthwaite.

 


Home A short biography Available sheet music Roses of Picardy: the real story
About us Days in the life of Haydn Wood The recorded works The lyrics of Roses of Picardy
Contact us Haydn Wood and Slaithwaite Live performances Roses of Picardy printed music
  Haydn Wood and the Isle of Man   The performers of Roses of Picardy
The Haydn Wood Music Shop Haydn Wood, symphonist   A discography of Roses of Picardy
Our CD A Breezy Ballad Haydn Wood and films   Les enregistrements de Roses de Picardie
Our lectures Haydn Wood 2009   Roses of Picardy in films
      Roses of Picardy: a research in progress

This page last modified 8 December 2016.

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