Tools & Music

To obtain Guild music, the Guild handbooks on making pipes, and to discuss tools,  please contact Ted Drake.

A History of the Pipers’ Guild

dbarnardWho was Margaret James? Why did she start building bamboo pipes? What does this painting have to do with it? Where did it all begin? All these questions and more are answered in this new History. After 30 years of research, Shirley Drake’s history of the Pipers’ Guild is now available. With nearly 200 pages, including 12 pages of photographs, this A4 comb-bound book details the Guild’s history from its very beginnings to the present day. The cost is £15 + £3 p&p. To order, contact Ted Drake. Read John Jordan’s review below.


Our Chairman, Shirley Drake, has done a marvellous job in writing this History. There are 240 pages of facts about the Guild from its formation until the present day, enlivened by the inclusion of personal memories from many pipers, extracts from the Piping Times and from newsletters, and poems and sketches from Summer School entertainments. All of this plus 121 photos, many in colour. The older black and white pictures are of an excellent quality. Many of us now have a good photo of those pipers whose names we have often heard and whose music we have enjoyed playing; Margaret James, Dorothy Barnard, Annie Miller, Millicent Shepperd and Kathleen Blocksidge to mention a few.

The book has an excellent index, so you can soon find any references to yourself and locate your photo; many members will find their likenesses amongst the pages and be reminded of things they once did and said. You can discover how the Guild fared during the war years, and what happened in the fifties and sixties and each year up to the present day. You can relive the Summer Schools of the past which in some ways seem different to our recent ones but in other ways never change. Much hilarity on the final night was reported at the 1950 school, but Shirley writes about the school of 1932, “We don’t know when the famous ‘Fun and Games’ started but we can be sure that gentle humour was never far away.
The book will also be of interest to those who wish to trace the development of our hand-made instruments from the beginning right through to the experiments which continue to this day, and the ways in which advice on technique and matters like practising have been dealt with over the years.

John Jordan, 2006