Argyle Temperance Flute Band were originally the band of the 4th Company of the Boys’ Brigade connected to Argyle Place Presbyterian Church. At the Brigade age limit Thomas Speers decided to continue the band as the Argyle Temperance F.B. and became it first president.
In 1898 – Mr John Murdie was appointed conductor who was just then 17 years old. What is known as ‘the new instrument’ – the Eb Piccolo, Eb and Bb Bass Flutes – were introduced in 1909 by Mr Murdie. They proved a successful innovation and in the following year Argyle won the All-Ireland Contest defeating the then famous St. Mary’s Amateurs.
Argyle were the first band to be equipped with the Boehm system flutes. But they did not enter for any competitions during the First World War and it was not until the 1920s that they won the premier awards.
In 1939 the band realised a long cherished ambition, a band room of their own, but this was destroyed in a snow storm in 1963. Real hard work saw a new hall erected on the old side.
The late Mr T. McMillan, secretary for 64 years was with the band from the Boys’ Brigade days up until his death and was one of the pioneers of bands in Ulster.
There had been friendly rivalry between the Argyle and Ulster Amateurs over the years and it was always one or the other who won the World’s Contest until a Welsh band came over in 1935/36 and knocked the both of them out of it. Argyle Temperance Flute Band won no less than 16 N.I.B.A. World Championship Contests. Unfortunately, today this band no longer exists.
Compiled by W.A. Mullan