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THE ROYAL SCOTTISH PIPE BAND ASSOCIATION

(London and the South of England Branch)

Branch History

 


The Scottish Pipe Band Association began in 1930 in Glasgow in response to a real need for a governing body to lay down rules and regulations for the control and efficient running of Pipe Band Contests. A code of rules was decided on for the running of the contests, a panel of competent adjudicators appointed along with an administrative structure to co-ordinate all the facets. The Pipe Band Association soon won the acclaim of all progressive bands.A new harmony now emerged and with it the SPBA prospered. A system of marking and score sheets was evolved so that the adjudicators could indicate the good or faulty parts of each performance - bands were graded in the early days into three grades and this system continues to the present day when we have six grades 1, 2, 3, 4, Juvenile and Novice Juvenile in accordance with ability, and each year an advisory committee meets to review and reassess the bands in their various grades. United Kingdom membership of the association is currently around 500 bands, over and above this there are literally hundreds more bands who enjoy affiliated membership through overseas Pipe Band Associations.

In 1964, bands in the south of England felt the need to become part of the organisation. A meeting of interested bands was arranged at the Brown Bear public house in Holborn, London when executive members from the SPBA headquarters in Glasgow attended. As a result of this meeting, 12 bands formed themselves into the London and South of England Branch of the SPBA.

At the time of writing, there are over 30 member bands, an indication of the growth in England can be assessed when one learns that in 1960 there were two branches and five bands in full membership, today there are four branches with almost one hundred member bands.

In 1980, the 50th Jubilee year of the Association, The Queen graciously granted permission for the Association to change it's title to the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association. To mark this honour, our Jubilee branches arranged special performances. The London and South of England Branch performed various displays, culminating with the Lord Mayor's Show in London where a massed band of 600 pipers and drummers marched in the parade.