National Library of Scotland – Treasure Trove for Pipers

The National Library of Scotland main building is situated on George lV Bridge in Edinburgh city centre. It is, as the name suggests, Scotland’s legal deposit library. Admission is free, as is access to all papers, manuscripts, books and other artefacts.

Of themselves NLS say: ‘The National Library of Scotland is the world’s leading centre for the study of Scotland and the Scots. We are a major European research library, with collections of world-class importance. You can see collection items online, and hundreds more digital resources may be available if you register. Anyone can get a library card to consult material in our reading rooms. The National Library of Scotland is a registered Scottish Charity. Scottish Charity No. SC011086’

Staff are friendly and helpful; the system of access easily understood. In short, everything is accessible for those with the time or inclination to make a visit to the building. For the piper there is much to study and learn from. Hundreds of books and manuscripts have been left to the library over the years, amounting to a substantial catalogue of deposits concerning the bagpipe and its music.

These include many important papers of the Piobaireachd Society, the Campbell Canntaireachd, William Ross and Angus MacKay books and manuscripts, Thomason’s ‘Ceol Mor’ manuscripts, letters to the Oban Times plus wide selections of original ceol beag. They do, of course, still accept piping books and manuscripts, so if you have something you believe to be of value and wish to leave it to the nation, then NLS is the place.

Here are two lists of papers and books held by them:

NLS Published Bagpipe Music 

Piping Manuscripts held in NLS

In addition to the above there is the Scottish Screen Archive which has many films documenting Scotland’s history of the past 100 years. They include the one about J&R Glen, bagpipe makers, made in 1967. It makes interesting viewing and, though dated, might be shown to all learners.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *