325 Henderson’s Bagpipe Tutor and a Selection of Marches, Strathspeys and Reels by Peter Henderson

An update by Geoff Hore 2008-2015.  The writing in black font is from A Bibliography of Bagpipe Music. The update comments are in blue font.


New editions have been located that have necessitated a complete revision of this chapter. The edition numbering has been revised and will change from Roman to Arabic numerals.

1      1891 (Edition I in the original Bibliography).

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This scanned image is taken from an original book in the College of Piping Museum. Many thanks to Jeannie Campbell for permission to use it.

p [i]. title; p [ii], index; pp I-VII, instructions, p [VIII] blank; pp 1-30, tunes (57).

  • Mitchell Library, Glasgow.* Original paper cover. Fly-leaf at front. 6.7 x 10.1”. Received 27 November 1909. The fly-leaf is inscribed ‘4th N.B.S.R. Cadet Corps No. 4.’
  • College of Piping Museum, Glasgow. This once belonged to John MacColl.
  • The Author’s Collection. Photocopy of the original in the College of Piping Museum.

Manson gives the first publication date as 1891, and describes the book as follows: ‘Henderson’s Bagpipe Tutor and Collection of Marches, Strathspeys, and Reels, to the extent of 56 pieces.’

Since this is one tune less than the number here, and Manson gives only one price, 2s., it is possible that the present copy is not the first edition. However, it must date from 1896 or earlier, in view of the publisher’s address.

The author of the instructions may presumably be identified as William MacKinnon (1840- 1918), composer of the well-known tune, ‘The 74th’s Farewell to Edinburgh’. According to a biographical notice in the Piping Times (January 1973), he was taught piping and pipe-making by William Gunn, and won many prizes, including the Gold Medal at Inverness, 1866. In 1863 he joined the 74th (later 2nd Battalion H.L.I.). He was Pipe-Major until 1874, and later Quartermaster-Serjeant and Quartermaster of the 4th (Militia) Battalion. Finally he attained the rank of Major. He died on 29th March, 1918.

2      c1900 (Edition II in the original Bibliography).

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pp [i-ii], I-VII, [VIII], 1-30, as 1.

  • National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh.* Boards, cloth spine. One fly-leaf at each end. 7.0 x 10.0”. Received 28 May 1900.
  • The Author’s Collection.

This edition was probably published in 1900; a price list at the back advertises ‘Ross’s Collection’, price 30s., (see above, no. 314, edition 5).

This edition bears a strong resemblance to edition 1. The introductory material and music are the same but there are a few changes to tune titles. Another change is in the title-page which has new wording and fonts.

3     c1901-05

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title; index; pp I-XII, instructions; pp 1-30, tunes (57).

  • The Author’s Collection. Cardboard cover bound in linen. Leather spine and corners. Embossed on the front cover in gold lettering is ‘HENDERSON’S / BAGPIPE TUTOR’.

The music in this edition appears to be from the same plates as editions 1 and 2 but the Instructions and Exercises have been completely revised. On the title-page the words ‘With instructions by Captain MacKinnon.’ have been removed. The removal of MacKinnon’s name from the title page and his Instructions and Exercises both suggest that any collusion between MacKinnon and Henderson had ceased. We can only speculate on the reasons for this but perhaps it may coincide with the cessation of MacKinnon’s business at 59 Renfrew Street in 1902. (See Cannon’s comments in Robert MacKinnon’s Collection No 323.)

If the above supposition is correct 1902 then becomes the earliest date when this edition could have been published. The latest date is 1907 (the date when Henderson’s address changed to 24 Renfrew Street) but this is also the latest date for edition 4 so is it safe to assume it came out earlier.

The above comments have been made on the assumption that no two editions were on sale at the same time but having said that it is appropriate to refer the reader to paragraph three of the comments made by Cannon under edition III (now edition 4 below).

4     c1902-07 (Edition IIa in the original Bibliography).

The / bagpipe tutor / a selection of popular / marches, / strathspeys, and reels. / By / Peter Henderson.

Imprint and prices as 2.

title; index; pp I-XII, instructions; pp 1-30, tunes (57).

  • Roderick Cannon’s Collection.* Cardboard cover faced with red paper. Front cover printed exactly as title-page. Black cloth spine.
  • Central Library, Dundee.

The use of the word ‘Popular’ rather than ‘Simple’ in the title-page ensures this is another edition. The present writer has not seen this edition and cannot determine if there are any other changes.

5      1911 (Edition III in the original Bibliography).

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Front cover (Scanned image from Roderick Cannon)

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title; index; pp I-XII, instructions; pp 1-39, tunes (62); p [40] blank.

  • National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh.* Paper covers. 6.9 x 10.3″.
  • Bodleian Library, Oxford.* Received 1 April 1911 and dated 1911 in the MS catalogue.
  • University Library, Cambridge. Received 28 March 1911.
  • Mitchell Library, Glasgow.
  • British Library, London.
  • The Author’s Collection. The cover is missing.

The word ‘copyright’ occurs on the front cover but not on the title-page. The imprint on the title-page ends with the words ’24 Renfrew Street’ followed by a comma, even though they are the last words on the page. This might suggest that in a previous issue there was some further wording, such as perhaps ‘late of 100 Renfrew Street’. (The present writer has not seen any book that confirms this statement.) The change of address took place c. 1907.

There seems little doubt that the year of publication was 1911; but in Henderson’s series of advertisements in the Celtic Monthly this edition is first mentioned (as ‘Henderson’s revised Tutor, price 1/- nett’) in January 1912.

A price list printed at the back includes ‘Henderson’s Tutor, 1st edition’, bound in cloth, 3s., and ‘Henderson’s Tutor, 2nd. edition’, paper covers, 1s. These are evidently editions II and III (now 2 and 5) respectively of the present work. (We can now see that Henderson has added to the confusion with editions (or revisions) between 2 and 5 that he did not deem significant enough to call new revisions.) It is strange to find two editions of the same book on sale at the same time – perhaps the explanation is that stocks of the paper-backed form of edition 2 ran out and that Henderson took the opportunity to replace it with a more up-to-date version while the cloth- bound form was still selling. Henderson’s numbering of the editions would seem to confirm that what I have here called editions 1 and 2, and any that may have preceded them, were very similar in content. This edition, 5, is rather different. Pages I-XII are similar to the corresponding pages in Henderson’s Tutor for the Bagpipe and Collection . . . (no. 329), published 1900, and also to those in the Henderson edition of Robert MacKinnon’s Collection (no. 323, edition IV), although no two of these are identical. The music text of 5 is quite different from that of 2 and 4. Many tunes are retained but settings are generally different.

Askew does not mention any book entitled The Bagpipe Tutor. Instead he reproduces Manson’s description of edition 1 above and continues, ‘still available in a revised form, at the same price’. However, there is little doubt that he is referring to the present work, which must incidentally have gone up in price to 2s. sometime before 1932.

6      During World War One

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p [i], title; p [ii], index; pp I-XII, instructions; pp 1-41, tunes (65); p [42] blank.

  • The Author’s Collection.

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(Note: The cover from this edition has been defaced by a previous owner who used Scotch tape thus the scanned image is from another book. It is identical except for the stamp ‘WAR PRICE 3/-‘ in the bottom right hand corner.)

The cover differs from the ornamental woodcut described by Cannon in edition 5 above and it has been reproduced here to assist in identification. The letters ‘Ltd’ appear on the cover and not on the title-page. Also, the cover has a rubber stamp with ‘WAR PRICE 3/-’ and the original price of 2/- has been scored through. The present writer has an invoice headed Peter Henderson (no Ltd) dated 2 March 1918. This may indicate that the addition of the letters LTD occurred between 2 March 1918 and November 1918.

It is possible this edition was published during WW II but the fact that it does not have the letters ‘Ltd’ in the title-page imprint, and that the edition following does, makes it more likely to have been published at the end of WW I. The cover is identical to that on editions 7 and 8.

It seems reasonable to assume that the text pages were produced before Henderson started trading as Peter Henderson Ltd but a cover produced later was fitted to the book.

7      After 1918

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p [i], title; p [ii], index; pp I-XII, instructions; pp 1-41, tunes (65); p [42] blank.

  • The College of Piping Museum, Glasgow.
  • The Author’s Collection. Donated by Colin Addison, Wellington.

The content of this edition differs in many places from that in edition 5. There are numerous changes to the Instructions and Exercises and the tune on page 39 of edition 5, Welcome to Beaufort Castle, has been replaced by Noah’s Ark. Col. Stockwell in this edition. Page 40 now has a tune and a new leaf added with page 41 that has two extra tunes. Page [42] is blank. The price on the title-page has been modified by hand to read 2/6. In its original form it was 2/-. The cover is identical to that on editions 6 and 8.

8     After 1918.

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p [i], title; index; pp I-XII, instructions; pp 1-41, tunes (65); p [42] blank.

  • The Author’s Collection Has the name John Dunlop MacGloan on the title-page.

The only obvious difference between this edition and edition 6 & 7 is the use of Ltd in the imprint on the title-page. The cover is identical to that on editions 6 and 7.


  • Rev 01. (8 November 2008).
  • Rev 02 (28 August 2009). Two new editions added along with new scannings of other editions.
  • Rev 03 (21 February 2011) Adds the scanned image of the cover to edition 5.

© Geoff Hore 2011