Every now and then, we get the occasional antique bagpipe in for restoration - this is one of them. This is a very unique bagpipe, in the sense that there's not many left of this make, in such good condition. These are a set of full Ivory 1890 Centers - with original chanter.
The owner had sent them in to be restored and have them playing again. This set of Centers needed a new drone stock, and the bass middle tuning pin needed to be remade. The old tuning pin was made of copper - most likely from another repair before us. The owner requested they be played before sending them out, so we recorded it! With the original chanter which has been unmodified, it pitched at 460hz, so this is close to how they would have sounded when they were first made. Canning drone reeds were used. John Center was originally a photographer and didn't identify himself as a pipe-maker until 1870, which is when his ads as a pipe and reed maker started appearing in the classifieds. In 1891, John's son, James, joined the pipe making business - around when these pipes were made. James Center later went on to apprentice with John MacDougall, and also became a very successful piper and Highland dancer. In 1908, the Center family moved to Australia where they would continue to make bagpipes. When John Center passed away in 1919, the Center's business premise were taken over by James Robertson, who continued the business on for many years.
John Center made bagpipes in Edinburgh, Scotland from 1869 until 1908. when John along with his son James emigrated to Australia. They continued to make bagpipes there until John’s death in 1913. James Robertson took over the Center’s shop on Grove Street in 1908.
Robert Gillanders Sr. worked for the Centers and married John’s oldest daughter Jane in 1893.