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Sir—In the last issue of Common Stock, I was interested to see your article about Billy Pigg playing the half longs.

I edited last year’s Northumbrian Piper’s Society magazine, which contained an article about Billy Dagg, a contemporary of Billy Pigg, who also mentions Billy Clark in passing. It  appears that he (Clark), was a regular visitor to Northumberland in the 1920s/30s, and was a popular player of the uillean pipes at Bellingham Show.  Dagg also said that Leo Rowsome used to stay with Billy Pigg at one time —I'd like to have been a fly on the wall then! I've also chatted with John Armstrong of Carrick (of ‘Carrick Hornpipe' fame) who is also a contemporary of Billy Pigg and Archie Dagg. He remembers Clark—~but not with any affection. At the time Clark was coming over for the Bellingham Shows, there were no real Northumbrian pipemakers around. As Clark was a  pipemaker, John Armstrong gave him two sets of Reid pipes to sort out for him. That was the last he saw of them!

It would seem likely that Clark's  half-longs would have come from Northumberland also. I'll quiz John Armstrong about them the next time I see him.

In your article you mention the  pipers of Three Nations record. I suspect that Anthony Charlton, not Clark, played the half-longs, of which he was much fonder than the  orthumbrian small pipes, and for which he was better known, and that Clark played the uillean pipes. There are lots of photographs of Pipe Major Robertson, Clark and Charlton together holding their pipes (Highland, half-long and uillean) in the Cocks collection in the Bagpipe Museum in Newcastle. Does anyone have a recording of Pipers Of Three Nations?
Your, etc,
Graham Dixon.

Editor's Note:- You're right, of course; Clark did play the uillean pipes on that recording. And he can be seen with them
in the picture of the Bellingham Show on the facing page. Apologies for the slip.

billyclarkuilleanpipes 2c6b8
Billy Clark (with uillean pipes) at the Bellingham Show, along with Anthony
Charlton (half-longs), Gracie Grey (Northumbrian small pipes) and Pipe
Major James Robertson. The photograph, from the Cocks Collection, was
kindly lent by Colin Ross. (See Graham Dixon's letter on facing page)