Anna MacLachlan / J. B. Robertson’s fashion shoot for The Tatler

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We were saddened to hear of the death at the weekend of Anna MacLachlan. Anna had a long association with the College of Piping.

Anna, pictured, joined the College staff in the summer of 1993. Officially, her role was that of cleaner but she was so much more, taking part in all the activities of the College. Her husband, Campbell, had been an early member of the College and was taught by Seumas MacNeill but had to give up piping due to trouble with his sinuses.

Both Anna and Campbell were also members of the local branch of the SNP which held its meetings and events at the College throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

Anna retired at the end of 1999 but was soon asked to return as her replacements had proved unreliable. She retired again at the end of 2009 after almost 17 years with the College but continued to visit occasionally. She attended the staff Christmas party every year until 2016.

The 1994 College of Piping Veterans competition. L-R: Robert Wilson, Jim Nicol, Anna MacLachlan (who presented the prizes), Sam Brown, Tom Johnstone, Ian Sinclair, Hector Cruickshank (judge) and Alastair Pirnie.

We extend our condolences to her family and to all who knew her.


Reader, Francis Chamberlain, sent us these superb images of the famous Scots Guards piper, Pipe Major J. B. Robertson. The photos were featured in a fashion piece published in The Tatler in August 1965. For those unfamiliar with The Tatler, it is a monthly magazine founded in 1901 and it covers fashion and lifestyle, as well as coverage of high society and politics. It is targeted towards the British upper-middle class and upper class.

“The Scots are nothing if not proud,” the feature begins confidently, “and there is nothing they are more proud of than their tradtitional tweeds and handknitted sweaters – except, perhaps, their ultra-modern mills and their revolutionary wool-plus fabrics, their imports of designing skill and their exports of miiles and miles of covetable cloth and gross upon gross of enviable sweaters for the prestige markets of the world. So we invited three proud Scots to join in a fashion fling in praise of all those tweeds, tartans and tinsets that, laid end-to-end would surely by now carpet the globe.”

“Dinner dress for chilly Scottish mansions …”

Pipe Major R. Hill and Drum Major R. Sturgeon of the Royal Army Medical Corps Pipe Band also featured in the photo shoot.