Billy Iley and His
Jazz Jesters



This is the band that played at the opening of the Palace Ballroom in Maryport on the 12th November 1934.

They remained the resident band at the Palace Ballroom up to the start of the second world war in 1939.

The lineup of the band at the time of the photo was -

Banjo and Guitar - George Graham, Trumpet - Charlie Millar, Drums - Billy Iley,

Tenor Sax - Fred Porthouse, Piano - John Wilson, Alto Sax - Jackie Bethwaite.

Tony Renney (0f The Saddlers') father, who was also Tony, joined the Billy Iley band in 1938 and played both sax and accordion.

The band used to play at the Palace two nights a week on Saturdays and (probably) Wednesdays. The first "electric public address system" was installed just before the war.
There was only one mike for the whole band and an amp of about 10 watts power.
The amp used KT66 valves, which are surprisingly the same ones used now in Fender Twin amps to boost the power!

The piano player at that time was George Atkinson who the younger Tony Renney used to go to for music lessons. Tony remembers him as "a gentleman and amazing musician".