• NYPB Development Band Launch 080

    Visit The National Piping Centre

    Visit to learn more about our work, the history of the bagpipes, and to try them yourself.

The National Piping Centre exists to promote the study of the music and history of the Highland Bagpipe.
Patron HRH The Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay, KG, KT, GCB.
Founders: Sir Brian Ivory CVO CBE FRSE MA CA - Lady Ivory DL MA ARCM FRSA - Sandy Grant Gordon CBE MA.    Read More

  • Visit

Try the Bagpipes

If your tour group, corporate away day, school group or other organised tour is looking for a truly Scottish experience, then look no further than our "Come and Try the Bagpipes" workshops. If you wish to visit The National Piping Centre's Museum of Piping outwith a group booking, please see our Meet The Piper page.

This event is gives your group a simple introduction to playing the bagpipes, so you can all come and try this traditional iconic instrument at The National Piping Centre.

Guests will be welcomed by a Scottish bagpiper and given a tour of The Museum of Piping.

They will then have a full demonstration of the bagpipes from the Bagpiper Host, along with an opportunity to learn, play and have fun with this challenging instrument.

Come and Try Events Costs
Guests 1-19         ÂŁ165
Guests 20-120    ÂŁ10 per person

We will happily tailor make all events to suit your groups requirements, time and budget.

The National Piping Centre can provide drinks and refreshments whilst your group participates in this entertaining exercise.

To make a booking or discuss your groups requirements please contact the Events Team on 0141 353 5551 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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You can read the Terms and Conditions here

Meet the Piper

 

Join us in 2019 for a tour of our redisplayed Museum of Piping! 

All our visitors can now have a truly authentic Scottish experience of playing the bagpipes. Visit the Museum of Piping to try the pipes as you take a tour around the museum, which charts the history of piping through the collection on display. Then with our bagpiper host, you can try the pipes yourself! 

These tours are included with the cost of entrance to the museum. So come along and try your hand at piping! 

Tours for groups are welcome, with a tour from a piper and opportunity to try to play and to hear the bagpipes available by arrangement. To organise an tour, please see our Try the Bagpipes page for full details.

In 2019 tours will run on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays at 12noon and 2pm and on Saturdays at 12noon. Tours will begin on Thursday 4th April and run through until  Saturday 1st September 2019. 

Although there are no tours on Wednesdays, please be aware that the Museum will not be open on Wednesday 19th June as there is a private function. 

There will be no guided tours available on the following dates: 

Due to a private event, there will be no Piper Host Tour at 2pm on Friday 5th July. 

There will also be no tours on the following dates: 
Saturday 27th July 2019 
Monday 12th - Saturday 17th August 2019 (other tours are scheduled as part of Piping Live! please check www.pipinglive.co.uk for details)

Other dates may be cancelled at short notice, so please call in advance to check if a tour will run, if you are unsure. 

Entrance is ÂŁ4.50 adults /ÂŁ2.50 and includes an audio guide and tour. 

We are delighted to be working with Young Scot to offer a discount to all card holders. Get ÂŁ1 off your entrance fee by showing your card when you buy your ticket. (Entry fee ÂŁ1.50 U16 / ÂŁ3.50 16+). 

 

Stained Glass

Overview of the windows

The Windows – Behind the Glass

A Pibroch or Piobaireachd also known as Ceol-Mor is a classical form of bagpipe music unique to Scotland.

These special windows can be found above the main entrance to The National Piping Centre. This work was commissioned by The National Piping Centre to accentuate its commitment to the classical form of bagpipe music called Piobaireachd, pronounced Pibroch. It is based specifically on the oral form called Canntaireachd which was used before music was written down as a way of preserving and passing on both the melody and fingering of tunes. It is made up of vocables, which have no meaning as words but express the music when sung. There are standardised forms of Canntaireachd, one of which is used here but pipers often have their own system.

The purpose of these windows is to give an indication of the formal yet poetic nature of Piobaireachd and to illustrate the complexity and multi-layered quality of this music.

There are three windows describing three different Piobaireachds. The design for the windows are based on a proportional grid. Into this grid is written part of a Canntaireachd starting from the beginning. The use of the continuous base colour of blue from which the themes seem to materialise and then fade is reminiscent of the melody of the chanter arising from the background sound created by the drones.

The imagery used in the windows reflects the different types of Piobaireachd; the Salute, Lament and March. Also included are elements which are suggested by the titles of the music and elements which have a special resonance in Scottish history.

The stained glass windows were designed by John K Clark. More information and photographs of this project can be found on John’s website at: www.glasspainter.com/piping

Window 1

Piobaireachd – Glengarry’s March

This window contains a reference to a favourite tune and concept of the artist, the “Flowers of the forest”, in this instance bluebells. In other sections are oak, alder, apple, and rowan leaves, all of which have a special place in Scottish folklore. There is also the reflective quality of still water which carries a sense of lament.

Window 2

Piobaireachd – The Battle of Waternish

Refers to the military use in the history of Bagpipe music. The symbolism, Jacobites against the Union represented by; the Jacobite flag, a claymore and thistles, the first Union flag, a broadsword and a rose. The “fiery cross”, used as a signal to summon the clans. The Saltire seen as a cloud formation.

Window 3

Piobaireachd – The Sound of the Waves against the Castle of Duntroon

Mostly a seascape which refers to the sound of the waves, specifically bringing to mind the Piobaireachd. It also has sections alluding to fishing, seabirds and small glimpses of the Scottish landscape.
 

The Building

From 1872 to 2000 and beyond…

Built in 1872 by the architects Douglas and Sellers, the Old Cowcaddens Church terminates in the vista of Hope Street as it rises dramatically from the Clyde to Cowcaddens ridge.

Regarded as an Italianate church with a decidedly Tuscan tower, it also has a mixture of Greek elements with a simple pedimented facade onto what is now Cowcaddens Road. To the sides, the clerestory glazing is referred to as “a la” Alexander Thomson and some think the Church has design echoes of Thomsons work at the Caledonian Road Church built in 1856 and also St Vincent Street Free Church which Thomson built in 1858. This comparison is not so much a matter of scale and vigour, but instead the presence of temple frontage coupled to a side campanile.

The three stained glass windows that can be seen above the main entrance of the building were commissioned by the National Piping Centre from John K. Clark. Find out more about these beautiful windows here

  • Our Patron meeting a member of the NYPBoS

    Our Patron meeting a member of the NYPBoS

  • A Frosty Piping Centre

    A Frosty Piping Centre

  • Our building

    Our building

  • Welcome

    Welcome

  • The view from the Theatre Royal

    The view from the Theatre Royal

  • The Stained Glass Windows

    The Stained Glass Windows

  • Our beautiful building

    Our beautiful building

  • Our Patron meeting a member of the NYPBoS
  • A Frosty Piping Centre
  • Our building
  • Welcome
  • The view from the Theatre Royal
  • The Stained Glass Windows
  • Our beautiful building

In 1843, the main event of the 19th century took place in the form of the disruption of 1843, from which about a third of the Church of Scotland left to form the Free Church, followed in 1847 by the formation of the United Presbyterians by those previously seceded from the Established Church. This brought an era of rapid building as each of the three Churches provided for itself, often in competition with the others.

The Free Church was the most restrained architecturally, by the 1870’s, however, French Gothic had become the popular style in Glasgow and it was Sellers who kept most literally to the French model, particularly in the Belmont “saint chapelle”. His adoption of the quite severe simplicity of McPhater Street with its Florentine Classicism may have been created by the restraints of placing the building in an already developed area. Galleries, as shown on this church on three sides, were favoured by the Free Church and in this building were most elegantly handled. When built, the church had seating for over 1,000. It was designed specifically for its time as accommodating a congregation to whom preaching was the main function. The layout reflects this with its lack of significant form in any chancel and the predominance of the pulpit and the gospel lecturn over any specific provision of an altar. This is a church in which communion was not a significant and as dominant a part of the service as the sermon.

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A Frosty Piping Centre
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The Stained Glass Windows
Piping Centre Rain

The building is built of a cream sandstone laid in ashlar. It looks refreshingly sharp now cleaned. The campanile is rather squat, it would have had greater impact if a truly Tuscan tower had been built in this location. The main front is delicately handled, its pedemented entablature holds firmly the composition with a strong central door and side doors set in channeled pilastered quoins. Though Greek in proportion, the pedement is supported by Tuscan columns and pilasters, to give the illusion of a classic temple sitting on a strong rusticated base. It is from this design motif that the squatness of the tower is probably derived rather than from any overriding desire to dominate what was then a dense tenemantal inner city. The main roof of the church is slated, the tower has deeply consoled eaves and a Roman styled piend roof.

The National Piping Centre opened after extensive renovation in 1996, with an official Royal Opening in January 1996 by our Patron Patron HRH The Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay, KG, KT, GCB. The founders of the organisation are Sir Brian Ivory, CBE, FRSE, Lady Ivory, DL and Sandy Grant Gordon, CBE. 

The Museum of Piping

See and Hear the Heritage of the Great Highland Bagpipe at the National Piping Centre.

Our Museum is now open again after a period of refurbishment. The changes aren't quite complete, so entry is free until the end of February 2019 whilst we get everything finalised. 

The Museum of Piping at The National Piping Centre holds three hundred years of piping heritage. The themed display focuses on the Scottish tradition, with bagpipes thought to date back to the 18th century from Lochaweside in Argyll, as well as a set said to have been taken to Austria by an expatriate Highlander in the 18th century.

The pipes of John MacColl are an outstanding feature of the central display cases, as well as original manuscript, and many of his competition medals, including his Highland Society of London gold medal for piobaireachd. The family of the famous John Ban MacKenzie also feature, with various chanters and other artefacts associated with that piping dynasty.

Small pipes from the Northumbrian tradition are also on display, as are a set of reel pipes by the 19th century pipe maker William Gunn. The display also demonstrates pipe making, as well as the printing of bagpipe music.

Instruments from the European bagpipe tradition are also to be seen, with examples of Polish, Hungarian, Spanish and Italian bagpipes.
An insight into the competition tradition of the Highland bagpipe in the 20th century completes the collection, with the Silver Chanter, competed for by elite piobaireachd players every year on display. The medals of one of the outstanding players of the 20th century, Pipe Major Robert Reid, can also be seen.

As well as all this, there is the opportunity for you to try out the bagpipes as part of your visit. 

Opening Hours

Monday-Thursday: 9am - 7pm

Friday: 9am - 5pm

Saturday: 9am - noon

Sunday: closed

Admission Charges

Adults ÂŁ4.50

Concessions (Senior Citizens, U16 and Students)  ÂŁ2.50

If you would like to tour the Museum of Piping as a journalist, or use it for filming, please see our Media Enquiries information. 

Visiting the Museum

Whilst visiting the Museum of Piping, you can take the opportunity to play the bagpipes for yourself. We have chanters and pipes available so as part of your visit, you can have a truly Scottish experience. To find out more go to our Meet the Piper page

If you want to bring a larger, organised group, we would be delighted to organise a bespoke event. Please see more information on our Try the Bagpipes page. 

Noting the Tradition 

The National Piping Centre received support from the Heritage Lottery Fund to undertake an oral history project called “Noting The Tradition”. This involved undertaking oral history interviews with people who have been involved in piping at all levels and all over Scotland in the past 50 years.

The National Piping Centre Principal, Roddy MacLeod, commented, “This is an exciting project which will add to the historical and heritage resources available to researchers and members of the public interested in the history of piping. It also offers the opportunity to become involved in the creation of an important and lasting resource telling the story of Scotland’s iconic instrument, the Great Highland Bagpipe. We hope that you will be inspired to join us in this vital heritage work.”

To hear the interviews that were conducted and find out more about the project visit here.

The project was managed by James Beaton at the National Piping Centre, and he can be contacted by telephone on 0141 353 0220, or by email on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Dr Flora MacAulay’s Photographs

Dr Flora MacAulay was brought up and educated in Wales to a Welsh mother and Hebridean father whose family were from the Islands of Benbecula and Lewis. Named after her paternal grandmother, Flora MacEachen, she came from a family of doctors and was one of the first female orthopaedic surgeons ever to qualify in the 1940’s. After some time practicing in Truro, she spent most of her life practicing as a GP in Carradale, Kintyre and on locum in the Western Isles. Her hobbies included tennis and photography but her passion was the Great Highland Bagpipe. She was a well known and loved figure around the Highland Games circuit and took many photographs of the great players of the day and the beautiful settings in which they competed. She attended the Northern Meetings and Argyllshire Gathering every year since the Second World War missing them only once in her later years when she was too ill to attend. She died in Campbeltown, Argyll in 1994 and was immortalized in the Jig written by Allan MacDonald, Dr Flora MacAulay of Carradale. With thanks to Allan MacDonald and Angela MacEachen for background information.

View Photos

Thanks also to John and Freena Carmichael, Janet MacFadyen and Iain and Eleanor MacFadyen, for information about the photographs in which they appear. The National Piping Centre is also grateful to John Wilson, Colin MacLellan, Iain MacFadyen and Joe Noble in identifying many of the individuals in the photographs. If you are able to identify any of the unnamed individuals in the photographs, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 

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The National Piping Centre exists to promote the study of the music and history of the Highland Bagpipe.
Patron HRH The Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay, KG, KT, GCB.
Founders: Sir Brian Ivory CVO CBE FRSE MA CA - Lady Oona Ivory DL MA ARCM FRSA - Sandy Grant Gordon CBE MA

Read More

HRH The Prince Charles,
Duke of Rothesay, Patron

with Founders, Sir Brian and Lady Ivory and the Lord Provost Bob Winter on the occasion of the 10th Anniversary of the Opening of The National Piping Centre.

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