reid pipes b457d

Chairman MIKE ROWAN writes:-

I SHOULD like to thank the 15 donors from the Society who helped to keep the Reid pipes in Scotland; without their generosity these magnificent pipes would certainly have gone to Japan. Within five days, fifteen members came up with an amazing £1,260, the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland only being able to authorise bids of up to £3,000. The final securing price was £4,016 including commission. Part of the rescue donations were the form of proceeds from the sale of two sets of pipes one set of Lowland pipes at £300 and a set of pastoral pipes at £450, both beautifully made) given by pipe-maker Chris Bayley. Unfortunately, at the time of going to press neither of these pipes had been sold so (1) if you're looking for a new set of pipes and (2) you would like to help the National Museum of Antiquities in our combined rescue operation, contact Chris Bayley at 12 Linnel Hill Road, Redhill, Surrey (0737 68272 or 01 242 9050).

IT would have been tragedy if the Reid set of union pipes had not been preserved and kept where they could be viewed and - quite easily - restored to  playing condition, according to pipe maker Chris Bayley, who examined and measured the pipes prior to their auction by Sotheby's last April.

The pipes, secured for the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland with the help of the Lowland and Border Pipers' Society, were made by Robert Reid of North Shields in 1830, and with the drone stock engraved as follows:- "Presented by Lewis F. Innes, Esq., Ballogie, to Mr R. Millar, Musician, 1830." The stock also bears an applied silver shield engraved with the crest of the Innes family. The pipes, apparently, had been in the possession of the Millar family until the present day.

In a report to Hugh Cheape of the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland, Chris Bayley commented:

"The instrument is in excellent condition throughout except, of course, the bag and bellows leather... several minor parts have been replaced during the working life of the pipes...

“The pipes themselves display certain unique features even for an instrument as complex as the Union Pipe. These are - six drones to give either a G chord  or a D chord by use of changeover switches and both bass drones having thrice-bored standing sections to reduce the overall length (much neater than the normal outside loop) and so compact the instrument.

The pipes are made to the usual excellent standard of workmanship so typical of Reid's work and executed in ebony, silver and ivory."

His report continues, detailing the pipes:-

“Chanter: In original condition (reed missing), eight silver keys for semitones, boxwood studs to guide fingers. Fourteen inches in length and therefore in the key of D. No cracks or warping.

Tenor regulators: In original condition complete with reed, five silver keys. No cracks or warping.

Baritone regulator: As tenor but four keys. No cracks or warping.

4 Smaller drones: In original condition. No cracks or warping. All reeds.

G Bass drone: In original condition complete with reed except one ferrule replaced with a brass one, No cracks or warping.

D Bass drone: In original condition complete with reed except with tuning tenor which has been replaced by one of rosewood (shorter than original). No cracks or warping.

Main Stock: Of complicated construction in ebony with internal brass cylinder divided to give three separate chambers’ for the regulators and the two sets of drones. The brass has caused some cracking of the ebony shell (this cracking is minor and can be easily rectified).

Other stocks and blowpipe: In excellent condition. No cracks or warping.

Bellows: The cheeks have warped but are still usable. No cracks.

Of considerable importance was the inclusion with the pipes of a hand-written manuscript book of 381 tunes, arranged for the pipes by Miller. This priceless find may provide material for an article in a later issue of ‘Common Stock’.

Bayley concluded his report by emphasising the importance of the instrument... "It has such strong links ‘with both the Border region (the maker) and with Scotland (the owner) that it would be a great loss for it to disappear into a private collection or abroad. This instrument is as far as is known the only one of its kind,"

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