1892 – 1894
by JEANNIE CAMPBELL MBE
In May 1892 papers mentioned that the Scottish Gathering at Stamford Bridge would be on June 18, but when June came the papers reported that it would be held on July 16. As usual, there would be only two open events, piping and dancing, with all the other two dozen or so events confined to amateurs. Entries closed on July 4 and were to be sent to the Hon. Secretaries of the Scottish Corporation, at Crane Court, Fleet Street. Competitors would be advised by post of the starting time of each event.
According to several papers the judges for the Highland competitions were Major General Roderick MacKenzie, Colonel E. L. Fraser, Captain Richard A. Fraser, Hugh M. Cumming, H.T. Munro, James Gow, H.B. Kirkwood, and Kenneth B. Brown. Another paper reported: “The judges of the Highland competitions, Mr. Donald MacKay piper to the Prince of Wales; Mr. Ronald MacKenzie, piper to the Duke of Richmond and Gordon; Mr. Kenneth B. Brown, of London; Mr. William Duff of Pitlochry; and Mr. Campbell of Kilberry, were themselves, with one exception, in Highland attire.”
There were about 3,000 persons present, including a large number of ladies. In the enclosure was the Marquis of Lorne, President of the Association, with a party of friends.
The results were: Piping. All comers. Piobaireachd:
1. John Macpherson, Drummond Castle; 2. John MacColl, Oban; 3. K. MacDonald Glasgow. Eleven competed.
Marches, Strathspeys and Reels.
1. John MacColl, 2. John Macpherson, 3. K. MacDonald. Eleven competed.
Amateur piping. Marches:
1. John Sutherland, Airdrie; 2. R. Reith, London; 3. George E. Hendry, London. Eleven competed. Strathspeys and Reels:
1. John Sutherland, 2. R. Reith, 3. George E. Hendry.
Dancing. All comers. Highland Fling:
1. John MacColl, 2. William MacLennan, Edinburgh; 3. K. MacDonald. Ten competed.
1. John MacColl, 2. William MacLennan, 3. John Macpherson. Ten competed.
Strathspey and Reel:
1. John MacColl, 2. William MacLennan, 3. E. J. Macpherson, Arisaig. Ten competed.
Dancing. Amateurs. Gillie Callum:
1. Alex S Mathieson, Glasgow; 2. R. Reith, 3. A. D. MacDonald, London. Ten competed.
1. Alex S Mathieson, 2. George R. Hendry, 3. A.D. MacDonald. Ten Competed.
Strathspey and Reel:
John Sutherland, 2. R. Reith, 3. George E. Hendry. Ten competed.
The Inverness Courier did not have the results but instead reported: “Among the competitors who distinguished themselves in the pipe music competitions were – John MacColl, Oban; John Macpherson, Drummond Castle; E. J. Macpherson, Arisaig; William MacLennan, Edinburgh; John MacKenzie, London; John MacRae, Stirling; K. MacDonald, Glasgow; R. MacLennan, London; Angus MacRae, Callander; James Sutherland, Airdrie; George Macpherson, Glasgow; Much the same competitors appeared for dancing. Among the amateurs were Major Fraser, Inverness; John Fraser, do.; Angus Ross, Dingwall; H.G.D. Dunbar, Scottish Pipers Society; John Menzies, Aberfeldy; Alex. Gordon, Dundee.”
The Penny Illustrated Paper had some pictures of the athletics and a picture of the London Scottish Tug-of-War team in action.
•Edwin John MacPherson (1867-1924) was born in Arisaig but moved to Glasgow, and was employed as a works manager. In 1907 he won the World Championship as Pipe Major of the 3rd Lanarkshire Rifle Volunteers. He was Pipe Major of the 7th Cameronians during the 1914-18 war and served in the Balkans.
•Kenneth MacDonald was piper to Lord Dunmore, Rodel Harris c1881-1886 and piper to Panmure Gordon of Glenalleter, Braemar 1888. Later he lived in Inverness and then in Glasgow. He won the Gold Medal at the Argyllshire Gathering in 1888.
The next gathering was on Saturday, June 17, 1893 at Stamford Bridge. Papers reported: “The proceedings commenced as early as ten o’clock in the morning with the pipe music, when pipers from Edinburgh and other Scotch cities competed with pipers from Plymouth and London, and even from Canada.” The proceedings were under the control of the Hon. Secretaries of the gathering were Messrs. W.S. Lyall Grant and J.C. Hamilton Greig.
Pipe Music. All comers. Piobaireachd:
John MacColl, Oban. Strathspeys and Reels: Donald A. Campbell.
•Donald A Campbell, known as Danny, was born in Glendale, Skye in 1866/7. He enlisted in the Cameronians in 1882 age 15. He was PM of the 3rd Militia Bt in 1889, then served in the South African war 1899-1902 with the 3rd HLI. In 1914 he was PM 5th Camerons then 6th Camerons. He was invalided out 1916 then joined the Royal Navy but was invalided out 1918. Next he joined the Lovat Scouts but left as there were no other pipers. He won the Gold Medal at the Northern Meeting in 1894.
A. D. MacDonald, Portree. Strathspeys and Reels: A. Wilson, Edinburgh.
Competition for Boy Pipers Royal Caledonian Asylum: George Rutland.
Dancing. All comers. Highland Fling.
1. John MacKenzie, Glasgow; 2. W. Johnstone, Canada.
1. W. Johnstone, Canada; 2. J. MacKenzie, Glasgow.
Strathspey and Reel:
1. J. MacKenzie, Glasgow; 2. J. McNeil, Edinburgh.
Dancing Amateurs. Ghillie Callum:
1. A.S. Mathieson, Glasgow; 2. A.D. MacDonald, Portree.
Strathspey and Reel.
1. R. Reith, piper London Scottish; 2. A.D. MacDonald, Portree.
The weather was magnificent but perhaps too scorchingly hot for outdoor exercise, although there was some shelter at the pavilion and under the shady trees surrounding the ground. About 2,000 spectators were present. There were performances by the band of the 71st Highland Light Infantry and their pipers led by band master John Anderson and Pipe Major J. McRae and a performance by the boy pipers of the Royal Caledonian Asylum.
The next organisation to run a Highland Gathering was the London Highland Amateur Athletic Club. On September 30, 1893, The Highland News reported: “Highland Games in London. Under the auspices of the London Highland Amateur Athletic Club, games were held at Epping Forest in the vicinity of Loughton Junction last Saturday afternoon. There was a large attendance of Highlanders and others. The Club, which affords members excellent opportunities for practicing athletic games, pipe music and Highland dancing, was organised in June last under the presidency of Dr. MacGregor, M.P., and already promises to become a really important and serviceable addition to the numerous Highland organisations in the English capital. The judges for the athletic events were Dr R. MacDonald, Dr. H. Cameron Gillies, and Mr. Smith Hay, who kindly acted for Dr MacGregor M.P., president of the club, who is at present in the north, while Mr. Charles Grant of Rothiemurchus (champion amateur piper of Scotland), and Mr. A.D. MacDonald of Portree (champion amateur piper and dancer of England), judged the piping and dancing.” The result of the piping competition (strathspeys and reels) was 1. A. Grant, 2. D. MacKay.
The 1894 Scottish Gathering was on Saturday, June 16 at Stamford Bridge. As in the previous year the piping events would start at 10am and the other events at 2pm. The band and pipers of the 71st Highland Light Infantry and the boy pipers of Royal Caledonian Asylum were to play again also. The weather was described as top quality. The judges for the Highland competitions were listed as Major General Roderick MacKenzie, Colonel E.L. Fraser, Captain Richard A. Fraser, Hugh M. Cumming, H.T. Munro, James Gow, H.B. Kirkwood, and Kenneth B. Brown.
There are some discrepancies with the results, as some papers have different names. Most agree on the result of the all comers piobaireachd for the prizes of £8, £2, £1; Angus MacRae, Callander was placed first, with John MacColl, Oban and N. T. MacKenzie, Elgin tying for second. One paper has John MacColl first, and N.G. MacKenzie and Angus MacRae tying for second. Some papers have W. T. MacKenzie, one has H. MacKenzie and another T. MacKenzie.
For Marches, Strathspeys and Reels one paper has Pipe Major Ireland, 48th Highlanders, Canada in first place, D. C. Mather, Loch Carron second, Angus MacRae, Callander, third and W.T. MacKenzie, Elgin fourth.
Most papers give this result as 1. John MacColl, Oban; 2. D.C. Mather, Loch Carron; 3. A. MacRae, Callander; 4. N.T. MacKenzie, Elgin.
1. R. Reith, London; 2. C.H. Grant, Rothiemurchus; 3. A.D. MacDonald, Portree.
Some papers have the same result for the Strathspeys and Reels but one has:
1. C.A. MacDonald, Irvine, 2. R. Reith, London, 3. A. Wilson, Edinburgh.
Competition for Boy Pipers Royal Caledonian Asylum:
1. Proudfoot, 2. Beattie.
Dancing. (Open). Highland Fling:
1. D.G. MacLennan, Edinburgh; 2. John McNeill, Edinburgh; 3. D.C. Mather, Loch Carron.
1. John Macpherson, Drummond Castle; 2. D. G. MacLennan, Edinburgh; 3. John MacColl, Oban.
Strathspey and Reel:
1. John MacColl, 2. John Macpherson, 3. D.C. Mather.
One paper has D.C. Mather second and Angus MacRae third. Another paper has D. McKenna, Edinburgh instead of D.G. MacLennan another has G. M. MacLennan.
Dancing. Amateurs. Gillie Callum.
1. D. Reith, London, 2. A. D. MacDonald, Portree, 3. W.H. Kidd, London.
1. A. D. MacDonald, Portree; 2. P. Reith, London; 3. J. Grainger, Chatham.
Strathspey and Reel:
1. W. MacDonald, London, 2. R. Reith, London; 3. A. Wilson, Edinburgh.
One paper has A.D. MacDonald instead of W. MacDonald, another paper has R. Keith instead of D. or P. Reith, and another has A. D. MacPherson, Portree, instead of A.D. MacDonald.
The Inverness Courier does not give the full results but states: “There were no less than thirteen entries for the Piobaireachd, the first prize (£8), in which was carried off by Angus Macrae, Callander. In Marches, Strathspeys and Reels, J. MacColl, Oban took the leading prize (£4), being ahead of such experts as N. T. MacKenzie, Elgin; J. Wilson, Callander; Pipe Major Macrae, 1st H.L.I., Aldershot; Pipe Major Fraser, 1st Scots Guards; John Macpherson, Drummond Castle; W. Robb, A. and S. Highlanders, Edinburgh; J. Wilson, 1st Cameronians, Portsmouth.
“In pipe music for amateurs, R. Reith, London, was first for marches (chased silver mounted sporran), and in Strathspeys and Reels he also carried the leading place (pair of silver quaichs). In dancing the Highland Fling, the first prize (£4) was taken by D. Mackenna, Edinburgh; Gillie Callum, first (£4), John Macpherson, Drummond Castle; and Strathspey and Reel, first (£4), John MacColl, Oban. In the competitions open to amateurs only, the first prize for Gillie Callum was carried by R. Reith, London; first for Highland Fling, A.D. MacDonald, Portree; and leading prize for Strathspey and Reel also. One of the decided hits was the playing of the boy pipers of the Royal Caledonian Asylum, the best amongst whom were awarded a cup and medal for excellence.”
Another paper said: “We always like to give a lift to the rising generation. So to hoist little twelve-year-old J. Sinclair, of Sandgate. Why he danced a Highland fling as if to the manner born! And a proud man should be his tutor, J.W. Cardownie.”
•Nicolson Thomas MacKenzie (1874-1942) was the eldest son of PM Ronald MacKenzie of the 78th. He enlisted with the Scots Guards in 1894, served in India and was Pipe Major of the Seaforth Highlanders 1895-97.
The second Gathering of the year was announced in July 1894 in the Ross-shire Journal: “London Highland Amateur Athletic Club. This club, inaugurated last year with the object of promoting and facilitating the practice of Highland athletic games, pipe music, and Highland dancing among residents in London, announces the holding of its first annual Highland games on Saturday, August 18, at the Club grounds, Loughton, Essex. Tea will be provided on the grounds, and an impromptu dance will follow. Altogether the occasion promises to be an attractive one. The Club is under the patronage of Dr. Donald MacGregor, M.P. (President), and a strong list of vice-presidents, and we wish the meeting every success.”
Although there had been a gathering the previous year, this was reported in the newspapers as the first annual gathering of the London Highland Athletic Club, which had been formed a year previously. It took place at Loughton, Essex in beautiful weather with an excellent muster of the Highland community. The judges for pipe music and dancing were Dr. D. Macgregor, M.P., Pipe Major George Stewart, late of the Gordon Highlanders, and Mr James Grant, Speyside. The Piobaireachd prize was won by Mr A.D. MacDonald who played The Massacre of Glencoe. Also playing was Charles H. Grant. The medal for Marches was won by Mr R. Reith, with A.D. MacDonald second and A. Wilson third. Four competed. The result was the same for the Strathspeys and Reels in which five competed.
In dancing the results were:
Ghillie Callum: 1. A.D. MacDonald, 2. 2. A. Wilson.
Highland Fling: 1. D. MacGillivray, 2. A.D. MacDonald, 3. R. Reith.
Strathspey and Reel: 1. A.D. MacDonald, 2. R. Reith.
Sheann Truibhas: R. Reith.