John Brown’s bagpipes
Photograph of John Brown’s bagpipes in the College of Piping on Prince Edward Island, Canada.
Courtesy of Mr George Brown
John Brown emigrated to Canada and settled in Ottawa where he worked as a receptionist on Parliament Hill. He owned a set of bagpipes that were reputed to have been played at the battle of Culloden in 1746, on which he would often play ‘Health to the MacDonalds’ Return’. Back in Tiree, there was a tradition in his family that the Browns had been given their piping skills by the fairies.
He played the bagpipes for the visit to Ottawa of the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII, and the prince shook his hand. His grandson remembers ‘he was so pleased that forever after he would only extend his left hand to lesser folk.’
John Brown died in 1889 aged ninety. The bagpipes are now on display at the College of Piping, Summerside, Prince Edward Island.