May 21, 2020

#TBT – Lodgings on a cold ground: Roderick Campbell

[from our November 1997 print edition]

Roderick Campbell, 1873-1937

Roddie Campbell’s gravesite at Liberton Cemetery, Edinburgh.

Roderick “Roddie” Campbell is sometimes mistakenly thought of as a composer of a few excellent tunes, namely, “Royal Scottish Pipers Society,” “Edinburgh City Police,” “Tulloch Castle,” and “Cecily Ross.”

One of the very few known photos of Roderick Campbell.

He won the Oban Gold Medal in 1908, and the Open Piobaireachd there in 1910. He was piper to the Count de Serra Largo, who lived in Tain, Ross-shire, and then to Colonel Scott in Derby, England,

He was also for a time instructor to the Royal Scottish Pipers Society later in his life when he lived in Edinburgh, he spent most of his time making reeds and teaching.

His most famous student was the great John Wilson of Edinburgh, who would move to Ontario after World War II, playing a significant part in making that piping scene pretty much what it is today.

Roddie Campbell is buried in Liberton Cemetery in Edinburgh. When we visited the cemetery on a rainy evening in August, it was locked, so we had to scale an eight-foot wrought iron fence to get in to search for Campbell’s headstone.

When we found his plot, we were delighted to discover it extremely well-kempt, with lovely red roses blooming brightly – fitting for a piper whose clever tunes will continue to blossom in repertoires of pipers everywhere.






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