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Date Posted: 09:42:36 12/02/02 Mon

My name is John MacDonald. I am a native of the Western Highlands and Inner Hebrides but I currently reside in Hampshire U.K, where I have had an association for the past 25 yrs.
When I came to the South of England with the British Army 25 yrs ago, I was introduced to the Southern English Piping Scene, which was surprisingly fertile, but which became sparser the further West one traveled from London and the SCOTS and IRISH GUARDS at their joint Piping School in the GUARDS DEPOT located in Pirbright Surrey. The civilian bands also became more scattered the further West and South one went from the Capital.

The Guards pipers were also located with their Regimental Battalions (they had more than one Battalion each at that point in time!!), in WELLINGTON BARRACKS, CHELSEA BARRACKS, WINDSOR or HOUNDSLOW.

Since my introduction to Southern English piping I have become aware of the growth in this musical art form, over the years. However I am also aware that a lot of the piping history here in the South of England is also largely unrecorded.

To this end I am trying to find out a little information about two (2) SPECIFIC subjects, which I intend to place on our band Website, which is currently under construction. For those Canadian readers please bear with the request and you will see why I have posted the request on the Canadian sites.

The first specific information I require is the background to "JACK SMITH" who composed the tune "LYNDHURST".

I have discovered from an old IRISH RANGER piper that Jack resided in "LYNDHURST" which is a small ENGLISH country town in the "NEW FOREST " area of Hampshire". I am also led to believe that JACK was friendly with the late Seamus MacNeil of the College of Piping, and the tune appears in one of Seamus's books. I know nothing of Jack prior to his residing in Lyndhurst.

The piece of information I would like is about a Pipe Maker called "ALEXANDER"

I know from information that I have already gathered, that ALEXANDER was a Scots-Canadian. I do not know how, or why, he came to be in UK, but I do know that at one point he had his UK pipe making activities in or around the SOHO area of London. He then moved to the ISLE OF WIGHT where he passed away in the 1980's. I can recall seeing a long practice chanter made by him, which was recognizable due to the way that the holes were drilled. The holes had the straight-drilled sound hole and then they then had a larger "Trepanned” ring around the outer periphery of the sound hole. The idea behind this was to create something that the Learner / player could feel. Les Cowall at David Naill &Co has now countersunk his practice chanter holes to achieve this effect.

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