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 Genealogy - Help Needed
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My Father Alex Gibson had two uncles named McRae, one of them had a bagpipe making business in Argyle St Glasgow. The McRae pipes had qite a reputation but as far as I know the man himself did not play the pipes but was a wood turner and pattern maker. When I got round to enquiring the business had been sold to a firm called Grainger and Campbell who I believe have now gone out of business themselves. When I called in some years ago to try to find out if they could tell me anything of the McRae connection I came up against a blank wall and the person would tell me nothing. Does anyone out there have any knowlege of the man McRae, the firm, or any information ?

Query posted by : James Gibson

1 Apr 2006 at 22.14
The following replies have been posted in response to the above query. They are sorted chronologically according to the time of receipt, with the most recent at the end of the page.
I have a set of pre 1910 MacRae pipes, and they are very good pipes indeed. The MacRae in question was Duncan, it's right he was a wood turner, not a piper, he also made bowls, (the lawn bowling kind, not the kind you eat your porridge out of). Compared to other vintage pipes, there's not a great deal of MacRae sets around. I've only ever seen two other sets, Angus MacDonald of the Scots Guards had a set he competed with in the 80's.
The most sought after names in old pipes are Henderson, Lawrie and MacDougall, but those of us in the know also rate MacRaes very highly. Angus would play his MacRaes and win gold medals with them. When other pipers asked what make his pipes were, he'd always say Hendersons, because he didn't want up and coming pipers to buy MacRaes and get his sound. He also sold old sets of Hendersons to other pipers, making a fair profit, and they could never understand why they couldn't get the same sound as Angus. But, that's pipers for you.
Your Great Uncle made excellent pipes.

Dougie Forsyth in New Zealand has two sets, a 1910 cocus wood set, pics here:
And, maybe of interest, a set specially commisioned for the Clan MacRae in 1912
George Grainger took over Duncan MacRae's shop around 1946. Campbell came in later to the business. (Grainger's son is a piper and is in the Strathclyde police force, unless he may be retired by now). Donald MacLeod then managed the Grainger and Campbell shop, but he retired and sold the business at the end of the 1970s, and the quality of pipes and hence the company went into decline. If you visited the Grainger and Campbell company post at the end of the '70's, the new owners likely wouldn't have known much about the company history. Before that, wee Donald would have kept you there for hours.

Reply posted by : Adam Sanderson

11 Oct 2006 at 13.35
I worked for the company "Duncan MacRae Ltd" in the mid 1980s at which time it was located in the Lawnmarket, Royal Mile, Edinburgh. The premises had previously been occupied by Highland House (run by Gordon Stobo...who subsequently became proprietor of J & R Glen, Bagpipe Makers).

In the 1980s, Duncan MacRae Ltd was owned by Sir Patrick Grant of well as by at least two other partners, both of whom were pipers / members of the Royal Scottish Pipers' Society.

Sir Patrick was also the proprietor of Grainger & Campbell at that time, the factory being located in East Kilbride. The late P/M Angus MacDonald MBE was involved in developing a new pipe chanter in the 1980s for Grainger & Campbell and was often in the Edinburgh shop.

Reply posted by : Ron Abbott

15 Nov 2006 at 05.40
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