1888 – 1891

by JEANNIE CAMPBELL MBE

The 1888 gathering was held earlier than in previous years, reverting to its earlier date, Whit Monday, May 21 but the venue at Stamford Bridge was the same and the gathering was favoured with glorious sunshine and a large attendance. Among those present were Princess Louise and her husband the Marquis of Lorne, The Duchess of Athole and many other notables. The band of the King’s Own Scottish Borderers and the pipe band of the Royal Caledonian Asylum played during the day.

The results were: Pipe Music. All comers. Piobaireachd:
1. Angus MacRae, Lochearnhead, £8; 2. W.  MacLennan, Edinburgh.
Marches, Strathspeys and Reels:
1. John MacColl, Oban, £4; 2. John MacKenzie, Pentonville; 3. W. MacLennan, Edinburgh.
Amateurs. Marches:
1. P.H. Bett, 2. A. Gordon.
Strathspeys and Reels:
1. P.H. Bett, 2. Somerled MacDonald.

•Somerled MacDonald, born in 1868, was a great-grandson of Captain Niel MacLeod of Gesto who, in 1828, had published a collection of MacCrimmon piobaireachd in canntaireachd. Somerled was a founding member of the Piobaireachd Society and was also a member of the Royal Scottish Pipers’ Society and won many of their competitions. Bagpipe.news recently published an article on a prize chanter that he won for his Strathcona Cup success in 1905, which can be read here.

Dancing. All comers. Highland Fling:
1. W. MacLennan, 2. Angus MacRae, 3. John MacColl. Gillie Callum: 1. W. MacLennan, 2. John MacKenzie, Glasgow; 3. Angus MacRae. Strathspeys and Reels: 1. John MacColl, 2. W. MacLennan, 3. John MacKenzie.
Amateur. Gillie Callum:
1.  Alex Fraser, 2. A. Rose.
Highland Fling:
1. Alex S. Matheson, 2. Alex Fraser.
Strathspeys and Reels:
1. Alex Matheson, 2. A. L. Kirk, London Scottish.

The judges for the Highland competitions were Major General R. MacKenzie, Major C. MacKenzie, Messrs. R.A. Fraser, D. Cumming, H.M. Cumming, J. Gow, R. Halley, A. MacDonald Jeffrey, and W. D. Meffan. The prizes were presented by Princess Louise.


In 1889 the gathering was on Monday June 10 at Stamford Bridge. Due to the miserable weather the attendance was greatly reduced and probably the worst on record. Since 1880 the proceeds had gone to the benefit of the Caledonian Asylum and the Scottish Corporation, but it was feared that instead this year the organisers would be considerably out of pocket. The band and the pipers of the 2nd Battalion Royal Scots provided music during the day.

The results were: Pipe Music. All comers. Piobaireachd:
1st equal John MacColl, Oban and W. MacLennan, Edinburgh; 3. Sgt H. Fraser, Scots Guards.
Marches, Strathspeys and Reels:
1. Sgt H. Fraser, Scots Guards; 2. W. MacLennan, 3. John MacKenzie, Pentonville.
Amateurs. Marches:
1. A. Gordon, 2. P.H. Bett.
Strathspeys and Reels:
1. P.H. Bett, 2. A. Gordon, 3. John Milton.
Dancing. All comers. Highland Fling:
1. John MacKenzie, Glasgow; 2. John MacColl, Oban; 3. J. Gordon, Scots Guards.
Gillie Callum:
1. John MacColl, 2. W. MacLennan, 3. J. Gordon, Scots Guards.
Strathspey and Reel:
1. W. MacLennan, 2. John MacColl, 3. J. Gordon.
Amateurs. Ghillie Callum:
1. Alex. S. Mathieson, 2. R. Keith.
Highland Fling.
1. Alex. S. Mathieson, 2. A. Rose.

The prizes were presented by the Earl of Northesk.


In 1890 the Scottish Gathering at Stamford Bridge was on Saturday June 21, with an attendance of between 2000 and 3000, including the Duke and Duchess of Athole, their daughters Lady Dorothy and Lady Evelyn and their son the Marquis of Tullibardine. Music was provided by the band of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and the juvenile pipers from the Caledonian Asylum.

The results were: Pipe Music. All comers. Piobaireachd:
1. W MacLennan, Edinburgh; 2. Angus MacRae, Callander: 3. John MacColl, Oban. Ten competed.
Marches, Strathspeys and Reels:
1. John MacColl, 2. W. MacLennan, 3. Pipe Major W. Robb, Aldershot. Twelve competed.
Amateurs. Marches:
1. G. E. Hendry, London; 2. R.J. MacKenzie Baillie, Southsea; 3. R. Reith, London Scottish. Ten competed. Strathspeys and Reels: 1. 1. A. Gordon, London; 2. J. Milton, London; 3. G. E. Hendry, London. Nine competed.
Dancing. All comers.
1. John MacColl, Oban; 2. W. MacLennan, Edinburgh; 3. Angus MacRae, Callander. Seven competed. Gillie Callum: 1. John MacColl, 2. Angus MacRae, 3. J. McNeill Jun., Edinburgh. Six competed. Strathspeys and Reels: 1. John MacColl, 2. Angus MacRae, 3. J. McNeill Jun. Five competed.
Amateurs. Gillie Callum:
1. Alexander Fraser, London; 2. R. Reith, London Scottish; 3. A. M. Wilson, London. Seven competed. Highland Fling: 1. William Lawson, Glasgow, 2. R. Reith, 3. A.M. Wilson. Nine competed. Strathspeys and Reels: 1. R. Reith, 2. W. Lawson, 3. George E. Hendry, London. Twelve competed.


Newspapers in June 1891 announced: “The annual gathering in aid of the Scottish charities in London will be held on Saturday July 4 at the Paddington Recreation Grounds, Maida Vale, under distinguished patronage. The programme includes competitions in pipe music, dancing, jumping, throwing the hammer, tossing the caber, bayonet exercise, running, putting the stone, bicycle races, and tug-of-war, and the total value of the prizes will be about £200. The competitions in pipe music take place at 10a.m. and the games at 1p.m.” Advertisements added the information that Admission was one shilling and enclosure tickets were 5s and 2s.

Reports stated that about 5000 spectators were present. The band and pipers of the 93rd Sutherland Highlanders and the boy pipers of the Caledonian Asylum supplied music and Lady Archibald Campbell presented the prizes. The judges for the Highland competitions were Messrs. Hugh M Cumming, H. T. Munro, Duncan Cumming, James Gow, H. B. Kirkwood, and Kenneth B. Brown.

Piping. All comers. Piobaireachd:
1. Angus MacRae, Callander; 2. John MacColl, Oban; 3. John MacPherson, Drummond Castle’.
Marches, Strathspeys and Reels:
1. PM William Robb, A & SH Highlanders, Aldershot; 2. John MacColl, Oban; 3. Charles Stewart, London.
Amateurs. March:
1. G. E. Hendry, London; 2. A. Gordon, Tullypowrie; 3. Alex. M. Wilson, Edinburgh. Strathspeys and Reels: 1. A. Gordon, Tullypowrie; 2. G. E. Hendry, London; 3. Alex. M. Wilson, Edinburgh.
Dancing. All comers. Highland Fling:
1. William MacLennan, Edinburgh, 2. John MacColl, Oban; 3. Angus MacRae, Callander. Ghillie Callum: 1. William MacLennan, Edinburgh; 2. Angus MacRae, Callander; 3. PM W Robb, Aldershot.\
Strathspey and Reel:
1. William MacLennan, Edinburgh; 2. John MacColl, Oban; 3. Angus MacRae, Callander.
Amateurs. Gillie Callum:
1. Donald G. MacLennan, Edinburgh; 2. A.D. MacDonald, London; 3. Alex. S. Mathieson, Glasgow. Highland Fling: 1. Alex. S. Mathieson, Glasgow; 2. Donald G. MacLennan, Edinburgh; 3. A.D. MacDonald, London. Strathspey and Reel: 1. Donald G. MacLennan, Edinburgh; 2. Alex. S. Mathieson, Glasgow; 3. G.E. Hendry, London.

•John MacPherson (1863-1933) was the son of Calum Piobair MacPherson. He was Piper to Cluny then to Breadalbane, Campbell of Kilberry, and Andrew Carnegie. He then became valet and piper to Lord Willoughby (later the Earl of Ancaster) in London, at Drummond Castle and travelling the world. He won the Argyllshire Gathering Gold Medal in 1889 and the Northern Meeting Gold Medal in 1920.

•Donald George MacLennan (1869-1965) was the younger brother of William MacLennan and was also a champion dancer.

• Part 1
• Part 2
• Part 3
• Part 4
• Part 5
• Part 6
• Part 7
• Part 8
• Part 8-2

• Part 9
• Part 10