In 1839, the "Largo and Lundin Mill Instrumental Band" played at an Old Handsel Monday soiree organised by the "Largo and Lundin Mill Total Abstinence Society" in the "wareroom" at the spinning mill. The band are mentioned frequently in the 1840s and 1850s including the lacklustre review in the Fife Herald of 15 May 1856 below, where "the attendance was most miserable". This review generated a letter of complaint to the paper soon afterwards suggesting that this was an "attack" on the band due to "wounded feelings". I wonder what the story was there?
In 1899 it was noted in the St Andrews Citizen (1 July) that the band had recently secured a "smart uniform" through funds raised by a prize draw and liberal aid from "shopkeepers and other friends". This suggests that they previously had no uniform and places the image at the top of this post perhaps closer to 1899 than 1890. This was the era when the band were leasing and using a space in the granary building at Largo Harbour as a band room.
For 17 years (from around 1890) the band had been conducted by Leven man Mr George Houison. He led them to the competition victories that gave them the name "Largo Prize Band" for a number of years. He may well be in the photograph above. However, Houison left for Ontario, Canada around the end of 1907 with several other members of his family, some of whom were also band members. The front page advert from the East of Fife Record (6 Sept 1907) details what must have been one of Houison's last engagements with the band.
A Mr J Bisset took over the bandmaster role in 1908 was described as an "energetic and efficient teacher". This was quite possibly John Bisset later of Buckthorns Farm. At that time the band had a number of wealthy patrons and seemed to be in great demand. To advertise their 1909 summer bazaar, the band's secretary Thomas Graham Wishart had his motor car "gaily decorated and...driven round the district advertising the announcing the attractions of the bazaar". This must have been effective as around 700 people attended the event and soon afterwards the band became 'Largo Silver Band'. Mr Bisset resigned early in 1912 as bandmaster and the position was advertised (see advert below from 10 Feb Fifeshire Advertiser). It was noted that attendances at practices were not good at that time and only a couple of concerts were mentioned in the local papers thereafter before the band took a break during the Great War.
The band had resumed by 1921 and continued albeit with up and downs for many years after that. In 1929 the Leven Mail (19 June) reported that the "exodus of many young players from the district may force Largo Silver Band to break up" but by 1933 the same paper (8 March) stated that the band "now has the financial security to enlarge its scope". There was a simple bandstand on Massney Braes around the 1930s (see images below) where the band gave a popular summer programme of concerts. There was a period of disbandment during World War Two but the band were reported in the 19 June 1946 Leven Mail as playing at the Largo War Memorial. The leader at that time was another Mr Bisset. In this post-war period there was also a 'Largo Pipe Band'. Mention of either band seems to be absent from the newspaper archives after this time. If you know when the demise of the Largo Silver Band came about - please comment.