Can anyone help identify this mystery Scottish piper?

John Hume was born in Haddington in 1854 to William Hume (1823 – 1893) and Margaret Veitch (c1827-1878).  William was a coachsmith at St Laurence, Braehead.  John also took on the same trade and was noted in the Census on 2 April 1871 as an apprentice coachsmith.  John’s siblings were Agnes, Elizabeth Craig, George, William and Alison (Alice).

Queen Victoria had fallen in love with the idea of having a personal piper after visiting the Marquess of Breadalbane in 1842, and had organised it by 1843.  The piper had to play under her bedroom window for 15 minutes every morning, and whenever else Her Majesty fancied a tune, as well as at a variety of State Occasions.

photo of James Hume or John Hume who possibly piped for Queen Victoria

Family legend has it that the man in the photo was a Piper to Queen Victoria, but he is not listed as such on the Official Website of the British Monarchy, although he may have been one of twelve pipers called upon to play round the table after State Banquets.  The other problem I have is that the back of the photo is marked “James” not “John”, but there is no James in the family.  I’m wondering if it has been mis-labelled.

Any snippets of information regarding the Mystery Piper, his uniform, regiment or the Hume family from Haddington would be much appreciated.



Read more Sepia Saturday posts – lots of interesting photos and stories

About Jo Graham

Scottish genealogist - this blog is for my own family history and photos
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5 Responses to Can anyone help identify this mystery Scottish piper?

  1. Pat says:

    Interesting information about pipers–so that is the source of 12 pipers piping in the Christmas song? I learned from reading this….

  2. TICKLEBEAR says:

    the idea sounds romantic, to be awaken to the sound of music. me, it’s cats running around and trucks driving by…

  3. Alan Burnett says:

    Sorry I can’t add any clues as to the identity of the piper, but as I sit here I think I can hear him playing in the distance.

  4. Tattered and Lost says:

    Can’t offer any information other than to say he’s stunning!

  5. Ilene says:

    Jo, I can’t seem to find your e-mail address. Have I e-mailed you since my computer failed? I may have lost it in the crash. So e-mail me and I will give you a couple of bubble wrap tips.

    James vs. John: I’ve found that before in American genealogy, that they can be interchangeable. Same with Mary vs. Polly. Confusing, eh? Also over here, people could change their names at will till they started recording birth certificates. Hubs’ daddy, who was born in the 1880’s, and was old enough to be Hubs’ grandpa, was born Isaac Clifford Jones and by the time he married for the second time, his name was Clifford Cecil Jones.

    That’s so cool, being awakened by a piper. I hope you find out more about this. Wish I could help in some way. –Ilene

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