Jesse Boot was keen to promote music making and musical appreciation amongst company employees, and within Nottingham generally.

In 1906, when a campaign was launched to restore the Albert Hall, Jesse Boot offered to spend £5,000 on a new organ, on condition that the organist provided popular recitals every Saturday afternoon with a fair number of seats not exceeding 3d each. Jesse Boot funded the organist’s salary for three years.

Jesse Boot
Jesse Boot

At Plaisaunce – the Boot family’s summer house in Nottingham (demolished in 1961) – employees were invited to afternoon entertainments, with music, dancing, athletics, swimming, and in the evenings sometimes fireworks.

Jesse Boot provided a set of instruments for the use of an employees’ band, and The Plaisaunce Band was formed. Florence Boot chose uniform – Lincoln Green, light green collar and cuffs, and silver braid. Jesse Boot arranged for the band to be coached by a professional conductor, Mr Alex Owen, and in June 1908 the band made its first venture into competitions at Lincoln. In 1909 the band won first prize in the Junior Cup section in the National Brass Band contest at Crystal Palace. Reformed after the First World War and affiliated to the Scout Movement, the band had the honour of being the first civilian band to play on Wellington Barracks Square. The band later re-formed as the Beacon Silver Band but its playing days came to an untimely end when the instruments were destroyed in the bombing of the Printing Department building on Station Street in 1941.

Boots Choral Union, a choir of 30 selected voices, was established around 1907, and also performed at Plaisaunce. This re-formed following the First World War, as the Male Voice Choir. The Girls Choir, started in 1913, developed into a Ladies Choir offering voice classes. The two senior choirs gave annual combined concerts in the 1950s and 1960s, accompanied by the Boots Orchestra.

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