Thow Brothers workshop in September 1925 (45 Gellatly St., Dundee).
Robert (Bert) Gillanders, founder of Robert Gillanders - Bagpipe
Makers, is in front of cover picture sewing a bag and his grandfather
is on the extreme right of the picture.
The first of the Gillanders family made bagpipes for Center in
Edinburgh. When this firm closed, he moved to Aberfeldy where he
worked for the famous MacDougal of Aberfeldy. He then moved
to work for another well known bagpipe maker, Thow Brothers of Dundee
and was later joined there by his two sons, John and Robert (Bert).
The latter left Thow Brothers in 1926 to form his own company in
the Cowgate in Dundee. Thus Robert Gillanders -
Bagpipe Makers was first established.
Robert (Bert) was joined by his son Robert (Bob) who started to
turn wood and make bagpipes at the tender age of ten years.After
occupying various premises in Dundee, the firm eventually moved
to Forfar in 1956/57 and the name was changed to R.
Gillanders & Son. The factory at that time was located in
Manor Works but moved to Osnaburg Street in Forfar in 1960.
In 1972 Pipe Major Iain McLeod, then a serving member of
the Edinburgh City Police Force and Pipe Major of the world famous
Edinburgh City Police Pipe Band bought over the company. The band,
under his leadership, had by then won four World Pipe Band Championship
Titles in addition to which Iain had acquired a reputation as a
world class solo piper. Despite the fact that he was already a well
known figure in the piping world, Iain was determined to maintain
the link with the Gillanders tradition. He therefore continued to
incorporate the name "Gillanders" in his company, in recognition
of the family's long association with the craft of bagpipe making
and his respect and admiration for the work of Robert (Bob) Gillanders,
master bagpipe maker and silversmith, who continued to work with
the company until his retirement.
In 1976, having taken the band to its 5th World Title and on completion
of 25 years service with the Edinburgh Police, Iain retired from
the police service and devoted his attention to the development
of Gillanders & McLeod. He opened a retail
outlet and head office in Edinburgh in 1977 and moved to new premises
in 1999, from which the company operates today.
With over 30 years under Pipe Major McLeod's directorship, G&M
has gone from strength to strength. As well as being "Contractors
to HM Government" the company supplies countless bands and
individuals in the UK. We export 75% of our products to Europe,
the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia etc., and therefore
have unparalled expertise in the export market.
Interest in the Great Highland Bagpipe never seems to diminish.
|"Not only in Scotland, however, are bagpipe
players to be seen and heard today. Scots have travelled far
afield and have taken with them their national musical instrument.
They have spread abroad an interest in and appreciation of bagpipe
music, and in England, as far south as London, and in many foreign
countries there are now well organised bands, with not a single
Scot among them.
The complex bagpipe, although it may be a matter of great
wonder to a novice, presents no serious difficulty to the
experience maker. He knows, from long practice, how to tackle
the rough work, has at his finger tips the exact measurements,
and works with the fine precision which characterises an expert
at his trade"
*Extracted from Evening Telegraph and Post
- article (circa 1925) on Thow Brothers, Dundee
bagpipes, as they are familiarly known, continue to be made by craftsmen
taught directly by Bob Gillanders. They are proud to maintain
the quality and standards to which they were trained by one of the
finest bagpipe makers Scotland has ever produced.
There can be no finer tribute to Bob Gillanders and his
forbears than Pipe Major McLeod's insistence that the reputation
of Gillanders & McLeod remains constant.
Right: Pipe Major McLeod on the G&M stand at
the Frankfurt Musik Messe