Devonshire Cup

The Devonshire Cup At The Royal Albert Hall Display

(draft text which requires editing)

Just over 95 years ago a new band competition entered into the London District BB vocabulary, and for the next sixty years it would become synonymous with the annual London District display at the Royal Albert Hall, it is of course the Devonshire Cup for Bugle Bands. Many boys who have passed through the ranks of the London Companies have taken part in this famous competition, some have been lucky to experience the final in May, when the two bands compete head to head for the title. The Devonshire Cup competition had many parallels with the FA Cup tournament. At the start of every Winter session, both had many competitors, but by may only two finalists would remain. Each had a grand final at a large London venue, sometimes on the same day, and great support for the finalists was always assured.

The first final took place on the 2nd May 1923, competing for the title were the 76th London and the 5th South Essex company bands. Both bands had to play the march Bugler, the judge for that competition was the composer of the march, Drum-Major J. Winter. The very first winners of the competition were the 76th London, and the cup was presented to them by Sire James Devonshire, London District President, after whom the cup was named.

The format for the final stayed the same over the proceeding years, and some great finals would take place. The Devonshire Cup competition was affected by World Warr II, indeed the test-piece march for the 1941 competition was set as the march St. Andrew, however World events prevented the competition being completed. Through the years three companies have achieved the rare distinction of winning the Devonshire Cup and the Daily Telegraph Shield in the same year at the Royal albert Hall BB Display; 76th London (1934), 1st Enfield (1973) and 14th West Kent (1981).

In 1980, a new Devonshire Cup trophy was presented in memory of Mr A.E. Milan, former Hon. Treasurer of the London District and founder Captain of the 92nd London, by the old boys of that company. It was appropriate that the then current Duke of Devonshire presented this new cup at the Royal Albert Hall display that year. The last final of the Devonshire Cup at the Royal Albert Hall took place on the 7th May 1982, when the 3rd Enfield beat the 4th Sutton company. The following year the Boys’ Brigade celebrated it’s centenary, and no London District competitions were held. After 1983, the Devonshire Cup competition never returned to the annual display, and 1987 the sun set over the last Royal Albert Hall BB display.

But in remembering the Devonshire Cup for Bugle bands competition from 1923 to 1982, I present to you below a table showing all the test piece marches for each year, along with the winners and runners-up of the competition. I hope that the information provides interesting archive information and bring back memories to the members of the London District BB family who took part in the Devonshire Cup.

Dr robert wilson

Media Files



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YearWinnersRunner-upTest Piece
192376th London5th South EssexBugler
192476th London72nd LondonJoffre
19251st Enfield14th West KentFreedom
19268th South Essex72nd LondonJellicoe
192758th London44th LondonSt George
19281st London58th LondonLiberty
192958th London1st LondonAdvance
19301st London35th LondonRaleigh
19311st London  58th LondonSt Andrew
19326th London35th LondonSubaltern
193358th London6th LondonBoys’ Brigade Jubilee March
19347th London39th LondonThe Second Half Century
19351st London2nd West KentDevonshire
19362nd West Kent1st LondonRoxburgh
193776th London2nd West KentThe Chief
19386th London58th LondonDrum Major
193958th London1st EnfieldCaledonia
194058th London6th LondonCarden
1941No CompetitionNo CompetitionSt. Andrew
194262nd London6th LondonCaledonia
19436th London29th LondonThe Bugler
194492nd London6th LondonKing’s Own
19456th London92nd LondonValentine
19466th London2nd West KentBritish Boys
19474th London6th LondonYpres
194892nd London5th LondonGurkha Rifles
19496th London Not known?Joffre
195021st London1st SloughFreedom
19511st Slough6th LondonJubilee
195258th London5th SloughDrum Major
19531st Enfield5th LondonLensidern
195421st London9th EalingSt. George
19556th LondonNo known?Jellicoe
19563rd Enfield77th LondonRoyal Albert Hall
1957127th London1st RuislipSangate
19587th Mid Surrey1st RuislipEssex Boys
19591st Ruislip6th LondonBritish Boys
196079th London1st RuislipRoxburgh
19611st Kenton6th LondonFeldon
196211th East Surrey73rd LondonBeatty
196311th East Surrey1st Kenton Joffre
196411th East Surrey73rd London Diamond
196573rd London11th East SurreyNew London
196673rd London3rd Enfield Carronvale
196773rd London79th London(Own Choice)
196873rd London11th CroydonParsons Green
196973rd London11th CroydonMonty
197073rd London4th London(Own Choice: winners choice Parsons Green)
19714th London3rd EnfieldLarbert
19723rd Enfield13th BromleyRoyal Albert Hall
19731st Enfield3rd Enfield Devonshire
197413th Bromley1st Enfield Falkland
197513th Bromley1st Enfield Officer Cadet
19764th London1st Enfield Valentine
19771st Enfield4th LondonJubilee
19783rd Enfield1st EnfieldThames Valley
19793rd Enfield4th LondonDiamond
198014th West Kent4th SuttonGuildhall
198114th west Kent4th SuttonShamrock
19823rd Enfield4th SuttonFeldon




Devonshire Cup

This Trophy was present in 1923 was in use until 1980 when it was retired.

The Boys’ Brigade Archive Trust.


Devonshire Cup

This Trophy was presented in XXXX by 1980 to replace the retired Devonshire Cup, and is in use by The London District of The Boys’ Brigade.

The Boys’ Brigade London District


London Display

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