Newton Wood Suite

Newton Wood Suite is a set of three musical sketches which take inspiration from three geographical locations and historical periods in the life of English engineer Daniel Adamson. 

Adamson, originally from the North east of England, moved to Stockport after the completion of his engineering apprenticeship and in 1851 he established a small iron works of his own in Newton, between Hyde and Duckinfield.  Over the course of his life he played a large part in the industrial development of this area of Manchester, being a keen supporter, financer and chairman of the Manchester Ship Canal project.

This work was originally written as a concert band item in 2013 to help celebrate the 125thAnniversary year of the Adamson Military Band who Daniel Adamson supported enthusiastically from the year of their formation.

The work is devised as a complete suite however the individual movements will work as singular concert items.

I.  At the Foundry 

The first movement is a musical representation of the start of the day’s work at the Newton Moor Iron Works.  It’s lethargic and heavy melodic line is a representation of the foundry workers making their way to work.  Fortissimo strikes from the entire ensemble denote that the foundry’s working day has now begun.  The addition of an anvil in the percussion parts helps to achieve the evocative image of hammers on steel.  A momentary change in style at figure C, represents a break in the day, perhaps lunch sat on the banks of the brook, but the monotonous rhythm of the factory can still be heard in the background (trombones).  A final return to the factory and the movement draws to a close.

II. Dewsnap Lane 

Adamson’s business grew well and in 1872 the need to move to new premises was required.  The second movement depicts this new site, just off Dewsnap Lane, next to farm land.  The music here is very simple with a hint of melancholy as it remembers a time before all the factories and houses appeared.

At the time of his death some 600 workers were employed by Adamson just at this site alone which remained in the family until 1967.  Adamson also owned the Newton Moor Spinning Company in this area and several other companies in Yorkshire, Lincolnshire Cumbria and North Wales.

III. Work Begins on the Manchester Ship Canal

 The final movement is also in an industrial style similar to the first.  Again this is denoted by percussive strikes throughout the band against the jovial compound melody line.  A large proportion of the workforce on the canal project were “Irish Navvy’s” so the melody here has a slight Celtic lilt to it and in several sections a pseudo-bodhrán drum can be heard played on floor tom.


Difficulty: Intermediate

Duration: 00:09:45 (Total)

Available from: Yewden Music