An Orange lodge has been operating in the Bready area from at least the middle of the nineteenth century. In 1856 the Worshipful Master was James Dunne. Originally the lodge was known as Cloghogle LOL 334. Bready has hosted Twelfth celebrations from as far back as 1881. The earliest surviving minutes of the lodge take the form of a loose sheet of paper from 1884 when the Worshipful Master was William King. Surviving from even earlier than this is a rather damaged ledger listing the names of members from 1879 onwards. Among the earliest surnames in this volume are McCorkell, Henderson, Thompson, Hutcheson, Wilson and McDermott. About 1910 an Orange Hall was built in the townland of Sollus on the east side of Victoria Road in Bready. From this time on the lodge was known as Bready LOL or Sollus LOL. It also had the name Foyle Purple Heroes. When a new school was under construction in Bready in 1929 classes were held in this Orange Hall. On 16 November 1934 a local branch of the Apprentice Boys of Derry was formed in Bready Orange Hall. The first president was John Ashenhurst, while Samuel Colhoun was secretary and James Craig treasurer.
Bready Pipe Band
There are records from the 1850s of a flute band from Bready leading the local lodge at Twelfth demonstrations. In the years after the Great War of 1914-18 many veterans recalled the effect that pipers had on morale in the Scottish and Irish regiments. In 1929 local people formed a pipe band in Bready. Using second-hand pipes and drums the band attended its first Twelfth in July of that year with Willie Doherty as pipe major. Willie Doherty led the pipe band until the early 1960s, taking time out to serve in World War II. His successor was Leslie Campbell whose involvement with the band began in 1942 when he was aged fourteen. Bill Walker took over as pipe major in the late 1970s. The band started competing in competitions in 1977. In 1979 the band was second in the All-Ireland Championships, and in 1981, 1983 and 1984 it was Northwest Champions. In 1982 Bertie Campbell took over as pipe major and in 2000 he was succeeded by his son Robert. The band was upgraded to Grade 3 in 1989, and now currently plays in Grade 3A. The greatest achievements the band has enjoyed are:
Runners up in British Championships (1995, 1996)
Runners up in All-Ireland Championships (2002)
Runners up in World Championships (2003)
The Drum core has been Ulster Champions several times, British champions three times and All-Ireland Champions in 2002. Bready Pipe band was renamed Bready Ulster Scots Pipe Band in 2004. Lord Laird of Artigarvan is the Honorary President of the band.
Bready Ulster Scots Junior Pipe Band was formed in 1999 to prepare young members for entry into the senior band. Their greatest achievement was 4th place in the British Championships in their debut season in Novice Juvenile Grade. In Northern Ireland they have to play in the adult section (Grade 4B) and have had several placings in these events. The junior Band is currently under the tuition of Pipe Major Bertie Campbell.
This is the earliest known photograph of Bready Pipe Band. It was taken outside the Guildhall in Londonderry in 1934. Band members were as follows:
Back row (left to right): William Doherty, Joe Robinson, Charlie Crumley
Second row: James Brown, James Robinson
Third row: Sammy Olphert, Andy McCorkell, Johnnie Lynch, James McClintock, Stewart Ashenhurst
Fourth row: S. Henry (from Derry), Sammy Colhoun
Fifth row: John Ashenhurst (teacher of band), Robbie Hamilton, Hugh Colhoun
Front row: James McClintock, David Barnett, Bob Ashenhurst, Josephine Ashenhurst (formerly Doherty)
Sollus Highland Dancers
In October 2001 classes in highland dancing began in Bready under the tuition of Ian Westhead. The group took the name Sollus Highland Lassies after the name of the townland in which classes were held. This was later changed to Sollus School of Highland Dancing. Thanks to support from the Ulster-Scots Agency, funding was secured to bring Mischa Dodds to Bready from the McKay School of Highland Dance in Fife, Scotland. Mischa conducted her first lesson on 8 January 2003. Since then the dancing group has won hundreds of medals and trophies on the competition circuit in Ireland and Scotland. One of the most notable achievements of the group was the invitation extended to two of the dancers – Georgina Kee and Shelley Anne Campbell – to perform at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo in 2005.
Bready Ulster Scots and District Development Association was formed in the autumn of 2001 to provide a structure for the Ulster Scots revival in the area, and to provide cohesion for the groups below:
Bready Pipe Band
Bready Junior Pipe band
Sollus Highland Dancers
Caledonian Connection (folk group)
Bready Ulster Scots Historical Group
Bready Burns Club
The opening ceremony of the Associations was held in Bready Orange Hall and was performed by The Lord Laird of Artigarvan.