Band Contest at New Meadowbank, Edinburgh, and the 1974 Worlds at Stirling

The Polkemmet Pipe Band under P/M Reid which competed at Stirling. P/M Robert Mathieson, later of Shotts, can be seen fourth from the right

As I mentioned in my piece on the first two-day Worlds at Nottingham, I had also found among old papers the attached copies of bnads and tune lists for a local competition at New Meadowbank in Edinburgh in 1948 and the World Championships at Stirling in 1974. 

I have no knowledge of the winner at New Meadowbank but Stirling was won by Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia under Tom McAllister.

Here is the Meadowbank programme. As you will see it lists all the bands plus the tunes submitted:

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The Worlds at Stirling in 1974 will be remembered by more of our readers and it lists some of the great bands and pipe majors of the recent past:

All the big bands bands are there aming an entry of nineteen in all. You will notice the Canadian bands Guelph and Clan MacFarlane in what was a heyday for Ontario piping and drumming. Ed has now sadly passed on but Ken is a respected member of the RSPBA’s current Adjudicator’s Panel. The challenege from western Canada led by Triumph Street and City of Victoria and ultimately Simon Fraser University under P/M Terry Lee was still a few years off.

Notice too the 2nd Battalion Scots Guards under Dixie Ingram, a high position for a military band with all of its service commitments. We have British Caledonian Airways (Renfrew) under Robert Stewart, and the Robert Armstrong Memorial under Tommy Geddis (this band is to feature soon in a special report on Piping Press).

There were places in the grade too for Johnny Walker Whisky, Musselburgh RBL under Norrie Summers, the north of England’s Mount Carmel, Bowhill & Seafield Collieries, Polkemmet [see picture up top], Bucksburn under Davy Duncan and Eddie McAtear’s 100 Pipers Whisky from Paisley.

Here is a short feature and picture on the Mount Carmel band. It dates from 1967 and first appeared in Pipe Band Magazine:

From the tune lists at Stirling you will see it was all traditional fare, tunes that would be played by solo pipers at recitals, ceilidhs etc. The deluge of new ‘pipe band’ music was yet to alter the medley repertoire to what we recognise today. It will be noted that there was no MSR contest and that bands had to submit two medleys.

If you have any memories of that day please pass them on. Perhaps you played in one of the featured bands and will remember the march down from the castle in Stirling at the end of the competition. Please get in touch if you’d like to share a memory with the rest of the pipe band community.

11 thoughts on “Band Contest at New Meadowbank, Edinburgh, and the 1974 Worlds at Stirling

  1. I too was present at the World Pipe Band championships at Stirling in 1974. This was my first ever attendance and I was accompanied by my late father. Although I had experienced competitions in my native N Ireland this was like going into a sweet shop for the first time. I recall listening to Bellaghy in Grade 4 under Willie Wilkinson playing Peter McKenzie Warren and they were great in that grade. I also remember the Canadian bands and in particular Triumph Street who from memory all their players wore different tartan kilts. They were possibly grade 3 then. To hear the grade 1 then was awesome. For Shotts to come thru from no 1 on and win was a big result under Tom McAllister Jnr and Alex Duthart. Armstrong Mem were the biggest plan in Ireland at that stage. All the bands looked really big in their full Highland gear but nothing to the current sizes in the premier grade. A great variety of tunes then. Dysart were the relative new kids on the block and were earmarked for big days. I can’t sadly remember the results or the adjudicators in grade 1 could that information be posted on the site. I do recall the day was at inclement heavy rain at stages during the day think in the early stages!

    1. Grade 1 Results
      1. Shotts
      2. Dysart
      3. Red Hackle
      4. Muirheads
      5. Edinburgh Police
      6. British Caledonian

      1. Thanks for this results information. I do recall the front of the programme when I saw it posted on the site.

  2. I too was present at the 1974 Worlds PB in Stirling. It was actually my first time ever over in Scotland. But I was there with the Erskine PB from Hamilton Ont. Canada. We were under the direction of the late PM Sandy Keith and ended up 6th that day in grade 2. FYI we also had a piper playing with us who is Ken Eller’s wife, Diane, along with her sister Kelly as well. Both excellent players in their own right. In fact the band made the cover of The Pipe Band Magazine as a result of that trip to Strling. But it was a great first trip for me.

    1. John, I was actually looking at a copy of that edition of the Pipe Band magazine last night with the Erskine Pipe Band on the cover.

  3. This is a great read Alistair. I’m fortunate enough to have on DVD a copy of the Grade 1 massed bands Marching up to Stirling Castle after the prize giving. Some well known faces.

    1. Could you get a clip from it John? Be very interestiung for those of us who treaded the castle cobbles that evening. RW

  4. New Meadowbank was won by Shotts, 2nd Bonhill Parish, 3rd Edinburgh Police.
    Grade 2, 1st Edinburgh Postal, 2nd Wishaw Highland, 3rd Craigneuk Parish.
    Grade 3, 1st Newtowngrange Juveniles, 2nd Craigneuk Parish, 3rd Bowhill Juveniles,
    Juvenile Grade, 1st Newtowngrange, 2nd 47th BB, 3rd Bowhill.
    Ladies, 1st Lochgelly Ladies, 2nd Caledonian Ladies

  5. What a great Grade 1 band list from 1974. Brings back many happy memories. There are so many iconic band names (in addition to the well known “big six”), all of which had a huge following in the piping world. These wonderful bands played some great musical & majestic tunes, many of which would stack up well against some of the more modern offerings in recent years. What a glorious reminder of times past.

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