Further to my request for information regarding Ignatius Ford, the little boy who was pictured in an article about renowned South Tyneside bandmaster Thomas Pick, Ignatius’ nephew has been in touch to reveal more.
Kevin Johnson, who lives in Southsea, in Hampshire, wrote to me to say: “A friend in Boldon kindly sent me your article about the late Tom Pick, the former bandmaster.
“I found it intriguing because I can remember my grandfather – Ignatius Ford’s father – talking about him. “Ignatius Ford was my uncle, and lived with my mother and father and me in his final years.
“I have attached a ‘potted history’ of my grandfather’s and Ignatius’ musical careers.
“I also possess an article that I believe is from the Gazette about my grandfather James Ford’s retirement which gives further details of his musical career and explains a little about Ignatius’ love of music.
“My calculations suggest that the article appeared sometime in 1943.”
This is Kevin’s ‘potted history’.
“Ignatius was born in Bede’s Row, Birtley, on July 6, 1900.
“He was one of five children born to James and Theresa Ford.
“After moving from Birtley, the family first lived in West Boldon, in one of the terraced houses facing the cemetery, before moving to 16 Charles Street, then later to number 10.
“James, and sons Ignatius and Michael were all talented brass musicians.
“Mr Ford senior played the cornet and won several competitions for his solo cornet playing with both Birtley and Boldon bands.
“James became bandmaster at Boldon for many years after the death of Mr Pick, whom you wrote about in your article.
“His musical career lasted for almost 50 years until he retired. His son, Ignatius, maintained his musical interests.
“He left Boldon during the general strike of the twenties and found work, for a while, as a musician with Bertram Mills’ circus, and travelled extensively with them.
“A chance meeting with Mr Henry Marsh (at Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park) led to him being employed by the Marsh family and moving to Margate.
“While living with the Marsh family, Ignatius continued with his music and musical interests, especially, in brass bands.
“He was bandmaster of Margate Silver Band for many years. Among his acquaintances was the late Sir Harry Mortimer, a well known figure in the world of brass bands.”
Kevin said following Mrs Marsh’s death, Ignatius returned to his roots in Boldon.
“He settled with Norah and brother-in-law John at 17 Wells Street. During his last few years he took responsibility for maintaining the music scores for Boldon band.
“Ignatius died from a heart attack in August 1988.”
Thanks very much to Kevin for revealing the story behind the little boy with the big musical talent.