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New Tameside Museum Exhibition Lets the Music Play

Press Release: 12/03/2024

MUSIC has been an integral feature of the Tameside area many years – from brass bands and dance halls, through to rock ‘n’ roll, the beat boom, the folk scene and more.

That story is chronicled by “Let the Music Play” – the new exhibition at Portland Basin Museum, Ashton. It’s a celebration of the diversity of musical styles and talent found in the borough.

Among the items on display is a drum kit used by Pete Simensky, a member of the Hyde/Dukinfield Sixties band The Meteors. They famously supported The Rolling Stones in a series of Manchester-based gigs when Pete received some cherished drumming tips from the one and only Charlie Watts.

There’s one of Ashton-born Victor Brox’s instruments and an example of his trademark hats. His award-winning daughter Kyla, a blues singer like her dad, also features.

Stalybridge/Ashton folk group the Fivepenny Piece, who achieved national fame in the 1970s, are included. Loans from the oldest brass band in the world, Stalybridge Old Band, help to explore Tameside’s world-renowned brass tradition.

As well as looking at the past, the exhibition also features memorabilia from more recent bands such as Cabbage and Sugar Crease.

There’s a display of the technology used to play and listen to music, stretching from the gramophone and old 78 records to the Echo Dot; a 19th century morris dancing costume and a look at Mossley organ builders George Sixsmith and Son.

Military music is explored through Manchester Regiment instruments and archive items.

Tameside Council’s assistant executive member for culture, heritage and digital inclusivity, Cllr Sangita Patel, said: “Music is something that everyone likes in one form or another, and ‘Let the Music Play’ covers so many of the styles and types that have been enjoyed in Tameside over the years.

“It really is a fascinating exhibition, and it opens in the Easter school holiday which is an ideal time for a day out at Portland Basin. It can be taken in with all the other great family attractions at our wonderful museum in its picturesque canalside location.”

“Let the Music Play” opens on Saturday, March 30, and continues until November 9. Portland Basin Museum, Ashton, is open Tuesday to Sunday (10am to 4pm). Admission is free. For more information visit

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