Antiques Roadshow guest refuses to sell priceless bagpipes after valuation

Antiques Roadshow: Bagpipes have a fascinating history

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During a recent episode of Antiques Roadshow, BBC host Fiona Bruce took viewers to the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. The experts inspected several interesting items including the like of a Korean painting, a unique walking stick and a curious rocking horse. However, it was guest Louise Marshall’s bagpipes which caught the attention of expert Adam Schoon.

The very special bagpipes had been played by Louise’s dad at Gretna Green for four decades, and when he died she took over the tradition.

“People watching the Antiques Roadshow may remember your dad and indeed you from the greatest day of their life, the day they got married at Gretna Green,” the expert began.

Louise replied: “Absolutely it actually happens quite often. You know, some people will say, ‘Oh, your dad’s the piper at Gretna Green’.”

The guest went on to show Adam a childhood photo which showed her playing the bagpipes when she was younger.

“It was rare,” she admitted as she explained there weren’t many children her age playing the bagpipes.

She went on to say it only took her a few months to learn to learn how to play and before she knew it she was performing alongside her dad and brother.

Turning his attention to the pipes she was holding, Adam asked: “Are they actually your dad’s? Is this something he left to you?”

“These are my dad’s pipes,” she replied. “Robertson bagpipes from Edinburgh and they’re very special.

“My dad played them for 44 years at Gretna and they still sound as sweet as they did back then.

“They’ve been played in all types of weather and it makes me proud to play my dad’s pipes.”

Adam predicted the bagpipes were made in 1925 or 1930.

“That’s what I think as well,” Louise agreed. “I think they’re quite distinctive because James Robertson Jr took over Robertson bagpipes from his father, and he changed the style slightly in 1925.”

“I think you know more about the evolution of bagpipes,” the expert joked as he added: “I think they date from the late 18th century, don’t they?

“The highland bagpipes really came into their own and they’re still so popular today.

“I heard you playing it earlier and the hairs on the back of my neck were standing up.”

“What are they worth?” he continued as he discussed the value of the bagpipes.

“They’re not that rare, but they’ve got that wonderful provenance to you, your dad. At auction £1,000 to £1,500.”

However, Louise went on to admit she has no plans of selling them, as she added: “They’ve never ever been valued and you can’t put a price on them.

“They’re absolutely priceless and they’ll stay with my family forever and they’re incredibly special bagpipes.”

Elsewhere in the episode, expert Adam was also blown away by the story of an intrepid plant hunter who worked in the Himalayas.

While Ronnie Archer-Morgan was intrigued by a walking stick that turned out to be a botanist’s gadget cane complete with shears.

Antiques Roadshow airs on Sunday at 8pm on BBC One.

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