We continue our #ThrowbackThursday series of never-before published photographs from the past, this time with a contribution from reader Allan Skalazub of British Columbia.
It’s a photo that he snapped in 1976 at a contest in Shotts, Scotland, when Skalazub was there with the recently-minted Triumph Street Pipe Band. It was the band’s first time competing in Scotland, and Skalazub was a piper with the band.
The subject of the image is the legendary Pipe-Major Robert Hardie of the Grade 1 Muirhead & Sons. A shy and reserved man, there are relatively few photos of Hardie and, even in this image, he doesn’t look like he wants to be photographed.
To the right of Hardie is his son, Jimmy, who two years later would be the winner of the second Silver Medal held at the Northern Meeting. Next to the younger Hardie is Pipe-Major Hal Senyk of Triumph Street. Senyk had been a guest player with Muirhead & Sons a few years before, with Bob Hardie being a mentor to the Vancouver piper. By 1976 Muirheads was more or less on the ropes, struggling for pipers and taking in several guests to bolster the ranks. A few years later the Grangemouth, Scotland-based group would fold, the Denny & Dunipace Pipe Band of Stirling, Scotland, acquiring their uniforms. The band continues to wear Muirheads’ original Princess Elizabeth tartan.
Bob Hardie was a great all-rounder. He was top-level solo piper, winning both Highland Society of London Gold Medals; leading Muirheads to five World Championships, won in consecutive years, 1965-’69; and acquiring Peter Henderson Bagpipe Makers, eventually making it his namesake company, R.G. Hardie & Co., which of course continues today under the direction of Alastair Dunn. Bob Hardie died in November 1990.
We thank Allan Skalazub for contributing this rare photo, and invite any readers who might have never-seen-before images that they own of great pipers, drummers or bands to contact us.