The photographs below are of bagpipes made by
John Center & Son, following John's emigration from Edinburgh where he was
'Photographer and Bagpipe Maker' to Melbourne, Australia in 1908.
They are reproduced with
Craig Kimberley McLernon of Perth, Western Australia who is
currently [October 2004] selling the bagpipes and describes them as:
"In all my years of piping I
have never seen a set of John Center bagpipes (they are very rare). I was
so impressed with the workmanship on this vintage set that I sent them
over to one of our top piping authorities (a champion piper and pipe maker
based in NSW who has received an Order of Australia Medal for his work in
He was also very impressed
with the tonal quality and craftsmanship of the pipes. He completed a
full assessment on the pipes and I have his written report.
I checked with some overseas
contacts and discovered that John Center was a highly respected bagpipe
maker and a very passionate piper (there was at least one piping tune
written about him). I also have some history on John Center from Jeannie
Campbell's book on (vintage) bagpipe makers.
His bagpipes are very rare as he did not mass
produce his pipes but took his time in handcrafting each set he made.
The story goes that this set
was made soon after he emigrated to Melbourne from Edinburgh in 1908.
However from the chanter which is engraved 'J Center Melbourne' it can
only be surmised that these pipes were made sometime between 1908 and 1914
(when he passed away).
From my experience with
handling vintage bagpipes, I am confident that these are an all original
set (a credit to the owner/s in maintaining the pipe), the workmanship is
definitely from a master craftsman and the tonal quality is one of the
best I have heard.
Below is a
copy of the advert that I have recently placed on the major international
bagpipe classified sites."