They are one of the oldest brass bands in the world was established in 1818 in Whitefield, north Manchester. In 1892 they held every Challenge Cup in the country. By the turn of the century they were one of the most famous bands in the world.
After conducting a winning performance of “Die Meistersingers” at the 1903 National Championship at Crystal Palace Alexander Owen took Besses on a grand tour of England, Scotland and Wales. A further tour of France followed in 1905 and in July 1906 they embarked on a world tour starting in New York. After a series of triumphs in far flung Canada, Honolulu, Fiji, New Zealand and Australia they sailed back in December 1907.