Edinburgh City Police Pipe Band as Reported in the 1950s

We thought that given the photographs and information we’ve all ready published on the City of Edinburgh Police Pipe Band, now sadly defunct, we should round things off with the history of the band as recorded in the Piping and Dancing Bulletin of the 1950s. Here’s how it reads:

‘The Edinburgh City Police Pipe Band; Tartan: Prince Charles Edward Stuart; Pipe Major: Duncan S. Cameron

‘The City of Edinburgh Police Pipe Band, one of the most popular in Scotland, has had a long and varied career. Its beginnings go back to the 1880s when it was part of an Edinburgh Municipal Pipe Band and it existed in this form until about 1895. In 1900 when the late Chief Constable Roderick Ross became Chief in Edinburgh, the band was reformed as the Edinburgh City Police Pipe Band proper, and wore the Red Ross tartan. This tartan became a familiar sight in the Edinburgh streets for over 30 years until 1931, when the Red Ross (Ancient) was adopted. 

‘In 1948 when new uniforms became a necessity, it was decided to adopt a tartan appropriate to the traditions of the ancient capital of Scotland and the result was the present dress of Prince Charles Edward Stuart kilts and plaids. This tartan differs considerably from Royal Stewart and the band on parade provides a most stirring sight.

‘Many prominent pipe-majors have had charge of the Edinburgh Police band including the late Hugh Calder, who became Superintendent in the force, James Sutherland, Alexander Hendry and Hance T. Gates. The latter, who retired two years ago, is a prominent judge at many pipe band contests. The present Pipe-Major, Duncan R. Cameron, has been a member of the band for 20 years and is a prominent soloist. 

P/M Duncan Cameron (r) is pictured with P/M John MacDonald, Glasgow Police PB in 1948
P/M Duncan Cameron (r) is pictured with P/M John MacDonald, Glasgow Police PB in 1948

‘He is a member of a family of pipers and hails from Islay. Also included among the members are Donald Shaw Ramsay, late of the 10th HLI, a prominent soloist, and the famous side drummer James Catherwood. The band has previously won the World’s Championship at Cowal Games, and for many years has secured prominent places at the important contests throughout Scotland.

‘The uniforms are supplied by the Edinburgh Corporation, but for all other purposes the band is self-supporting. It is in great demand all year for various functions and due to the kind permission of the Chief Constable Mr William BR Morren CBE, MVO, who is a great enthusiast, charitable organisations all over the country have benefited by its excellent performances. The Highland dancing team , under the charge of Pipe-Sergeant Ronald Ackroyd, a member of the famous Ackroyd family of pipers and dancers, has also performed all offer the country and is a great favourte with Scottish Societies in the Capital.’

• Last year and this (October ’14, Jan & April ’15), Pipe Band Magazine ran a series of historical articles about the Edinburgh Police Pipe Band tracing in detail its early years to its final denouement. You can read these articles for free by downloading the relevant magazines from the RSPBA website.

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