James Hardie 1955 – 2019

The death has been reported in Victoria, British Columbia, of James Hardie son of the famous pipe major RG Hardie. James was 63.

Born in 1955 James, or Jimmy, followed his father into piping and was taught exclusively by him. He won all the juvenile and junior prizes available at that time. He was a very musical player with all his father’s devotion to phrasing and pointing coming through in the presentation of his music. I particularly remember Jimmy’s performance of the 2/4 Atholl Highlander’s March to Loch Katrine.

Around 1976 his father brought him to the 214BB company pipe band in the west end of Glasgow, travelling twice a week from their home in Bishopbriggs to this noted training ground for pipers and drummers.

Jim’s band playing developed there and when he left the Boys’ Brigade he joined his father’s band, Muirhead and Sons, by then unfortunately in its declining years.

P/M RG Hardie and his son Jimmy playing for the famous Muirhead & Sons

James kept up the solo playing and embarked on a professional career. He had almost immediate success winning the first ever Silver Medal presented at the Northern Meeting by the Competing Pipers’ Association in 1979 (pictured top).

He subsequently competed for the Gold Medal, and at Inverness in 1980 many thought the medal was going to be his when he broke down in Corrienessan’s Salute.

However, thanks to his father’s astute guidance, he continued to enjoy a growing reputation as an interpreter of ceol mor. He travelled with his father to the Couer d’Alene Piping School in Idaho and there he built many friendships that were to remain throughout his life.

On leaving school Jim joined the family bagpipe making business before emigrating to Ontario where he planned to open a manufacturing workshop. This did not work out and he drifted to the west coast of Canada eventually giving up playing and his involvement in piping altogether.

However he remained friends with many in the piping and pipe band scene particularly in Canada. Condolences to his family at this time. RW


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9 thoughts on “James Hardie 1955 – 2019

  1. I knew Jim and Bob Hardie for many years. Jimmy was an important part of my history and it saddens me he left us at such a young age. I feel blessed to have known him and his family.

  2. Jimmy Hardie, Many memories … my one to share- traveling by train back from a solo event (I believe Cowal ) I lucked out seated in the same car as Jimmy. Out came the pipe and maybe the most memorable 45 minutes of my life.Jimmy sat and thrilled all of us with tune after tune, with a few jokes and much laughter in between. A character in his youth , always a smile and good heavens could he play !! Gone too soon. Rest in Peace, Jimmy.xo

  3. So sorry to hear this sad news. I knew Jimmy in school and only today I had a premonition to contact him. He and I had manny a battle running against each other, but he always was the winner. Jimmy always had a smile on his face and joined my class after loosing a year in school. I have fond memories of him during my time in the early 70’s in Bishopbriggs. God bless. David Salaman.

  4. I’m really sorry to hear of this sad news – my condolences to his family.

    Jim also played with the Scottish-based section of British Caledonian Airways Pipes & Drums in the 80’s (I was in the Gatwick-based section of B.Cal.) One day, I accidentally stepped back, off a chair at home and broke the base drone of my 1916 Henderson set of pipes. I took the pipes to band practice at Gatwick Airport, the following Sunday, and who should turn up but Jim Hardie who happened to come down on the B. Cal. Shuttle that morning. Jim kindly took my bass drone back to the Hardie’s workshop for repair, and returned the mended part to me, at the following Sunday’s band practice.

    A real gentleman and great piper.

  5. I’m so sorry to hear this sad news. I’ve known James since we were about 14 and competed against each other in all the Juvenile competitions. He was a great player and good friend. Rest in Peace.
    Cameron Edgar

  6. So sorry to hear this. I’ve many fond memories of the man and his playing. Bizzarrely, I have Muirhead’s Champion du Monde record on at the moment, copying it for Donald and Tony Burns, which I assume you and Jimmy would have played on.

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