The Leicester City Football Club Tradition


Henry Shipley

The amazing Henry Shipley,

My musical hobby started at a very early age, with the Ratby Silver Band, who are still very active today.

In 1938 I transferred to the North Evington Working Mens Club Band. My first contest with this band was in 1939 at the DeMontfort Hall, Leicester, on Easter Monday. It was the day my brother William purchased the post horn for me as a birthday present. I proudly took it to the next band rehearsal, and who surprised us with a visit but none other than the famous cornet virtuoso Mr. Harry Mortimer. I proudly opened my case and in a flash, the music was out and the band played the 'Post Horn Galop' with Mr Mortimer performing superbly on my very new post horn... (just a little piece of history I treasure).

The North Evington W.M.C. Band later amalgamated with the Leicester First Battalion Home Guard, at the Humberstone Lido. This was the time the band started to play for the Leicester City Football Club, and the start of my regular "Post Horn Galop" affair.

Eventually the Home Guard was disbanded...We were then invited, by the Chief Constable O.J.B. Cole, to join the City of Leicester Special Constabulary (as sworn in members) and what a fine band that turned out to be. We continued entertaining the football supporters at Filbert Street.

It was during 1948 I met my wife-to-be, also a musician and the only female in the band. In November 1949 we were married, the band playing for the whole of the service, A wonderful day was had by all.

Putting all things aside, if I was asked, "What is the most memorable occasion I can recall", it has to be the time I held up the game at Filbert Street...,Imagine if you will...The band have completed their entertainment, the teams are waiting in the tunnel, the conductor's baton is raised...and I am struggling to free my post horn from the truncheon pocket of my greatcoat. (it was in there to keep it warm), but I had inadvertently placed it in bell-end first and it was refusing to come out. My wife recalls waiting for the down-beat from the conductor, couldn't understand the delay and then noticed all the supporters standing with mouths wide open, roaring with laughter and looking towards me, struggling. But then a camera man put down his camera and saved the day with his penknife - only to curse himself afterwards for missing a good picture. I wonder if there are any supporters out there who remember that little episode back in the 1950s???

Of course I have had other engagements where the post horn has come in useful, such as at Christmas time. Lewis's store, late of Humberstone Gate, Leicester, had engaged me to be the Herald on their Christmas float. we would tour the City and County on Wednesday, Thurs and Friday evenings. Early on Saturday morning we would visit the childrens ward at the Royal Infirmary, then on to Lewis's store in time to open the Christmas Grotto at 9:00am.

Eventually with the arrival of the new Chief Constable Robert Mark, the band were notified our services were no longer required and would be disbanded at Easter the following year. And so it was. This was very dissapointing after playing the post horn for so many years it had come to an end.

I would like to say thank you to Mr Mace and Mr Birchenall for the opportunity to have played the Post Horn Gallop again, and wish success to the team.