The Band was formed on 15 May 1948, which was the same day that Parliament passed the transfer of the NFS (National Fire Service) back into Local Fire Authority control and as such the Band was originally named “Glasgow Fire Brigade Pipe Band”.
The NFS which had boasted a Brass Band, also had some items of Pipe Band equipment, which would indicate that there may have been some Pipe Band activity during the War, though no official documents exist to confirm this. The Band”s first uniforms were “handed down” from the “Clan MacRae Pipe Band” and the Fire Brigade Pipe Band (under their first Pipe Major – John Livingstone) was on its way.
The Band continued to function over the years, eventually being renamed Glasgow Fire Service Pipe Band. In 1975, local government boundaries were changed and the areas renamed, resulting in the band becoming known as the “Strathclyde Fire Brigade Pipe Band”. Throughout these years the band had considerable success on the contest field under various Pipe Majors (PM), which included PM W Mitchell, PM Reid, PM A MacTaggart, PM D Kettlewell and PM D Campbell.
The year 1960 saw the Band win Grade 3 Championship at Cowal, this was somewhat overshadowed by the tragic death of two band members, Piper Archie Darroch and Drummer Willie Crockett, whilst fighting a blaze that was to be remembered as the “Cheapside Street Fire Disaster” in Glasgow.
In 1998, as the Band celebrated its 50th Anniversary Year, under the guidance of Barry Donaldson and PM Alistair Blair, it finished the season as “Champion of Champions in Grade 4A” having won the Scottish Championships, British Championships, Cowal Championships and not least World Championships. Subsequently the band were upgraded to Grade 3A.
PM Shaw, a highly motivated, experienced and former World Championship winning Pipe Major, was chosen by the Brigade to lead the band forward and implement a long term plan to ensure the bands survival, progression and future development.
The band has continued to develop over the past few years. In Grade 3A, the band was awarded the “Supreme Champions Award” for the Grade in 2004 and just losing out on retention of that title by a single point in 2005 whilst also winning the Scottish Championship in the same year.
Those successes resulted in the band being upgraded to Grade 2 for the 2006 competition season. It was a hard year for the band with changes in personnel and a step up in terms of the competition.
2007 was a further year of development with the band gaining further experience in the grade. Performances improved throughout the year with the band qualifying for the world championships final and achieving its aim of top 10 finishes in the last two major championships of the season.
At the start of the 2014 season PM Shaw stood down and after an un-assured season in 2014 the reigns of the band were handed over to Alistair McLaughlan in January 2015.¬†Under PM McLaughlan the bands¬†performances improved from season to season. The band began challenging for prizes and picked up silverware at various competitions, along with a hugely successful trip to Spain.
Alistair was instrumental in bringing to the¬†band¬†our¬†Drum Major, Kara Gilmour from Northern Ireland. Kara was most recently crowned the 2018 European & Scottish Champion in her first year in the Juvenile Drum Major grade and achieved 3rd place at the World Championships. She continues to represent the band at competitions both in Ireland & Scotland, as well as globally, most recently at the 2018 Moscow Tattoo.
In September 2015, The SFRS Novice Band was¬†formed under Pipe Major Olly Brownlie. The band was formed¬†from the existing training band & the addition of new members. The band¬†are registered¬†as a competing band and compete in the Novice Juvenile B grade of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association. The band set up a successful teaching programme for both piping & drumming, which saw the band develop throughout the 2016 & 2017 pipe band season, having their most successful season in 2018 & now challenge on a regular basis for prizes. This teaching programme has remained a strong part of the band and learners continue to receive tuition. The Novice Band¬†can also be seen in concert &¬†playing throughout the wider community representing the SFRS organisation.¬†The conclusion of¬†the 2018 pipe band season saw¬†Olly step¬†down as Pipe Major¬†and Michael Clark appointed as the bands current Pipe Major.
Upon the conclusion of the 2018 season Alistair McLaughlan stepped down as Pipe Major of the Grade 2 band, which saw the reigns handed over to the current Pipe Major, Olly Brownlie. Olly then appointed former Glasgow Police Pipe Band drummer, William Corkindale as Leading Drummer of the band.
We are always keen to hear from like minded drummers and pipers who want to be part of a successful band building for Grade 1.