The Oxford Caledonian Pipes and Drums Band is a group of musicians who are dedicated to keeping traditional Scottish pipe music alive. The Band has been together for more than 35 years and is a registered charity and non-profit making organisation. The Band is made up of a disparate group of friendly people of all ages and different backgrounds from Oxfordshire and the surrounding counties, all with a common interest. The Band meets weekly in the Headquarters of the City of Oxford Silver Band in Cowley and performs mainly at weekends in the summer months but occasionally in the Spring and Autumn.
The Band can trace its formation back to 1961 when a couple of exiled Scots and two ex-army pals got together for a “blow” on their bagpipes. Through a friend, a practice room was acquired, at the Esso Research establishment at Milton near Abingdon, and so the Band was born. In those early days members played in their own Clan kilts.
In April 1978 the Band was registered as a charitable organisation with the Charities Commission and adopted the Red Hamilton tartan in honour of Dr Hamilton, who was the Band’s first President. The Band was renamed “Oxford Caledonian Pipes & Drums”, the name by which it is known today.
From 1961 until his death in 1987, the Band was lead by Pipe Major Charlie Elliot, ex- Highland Light Infantry. In 1987 he was succeeded by Scott Weston, formerly with 2nd Battalion Scots Guards; Scott continued as Pipe Major, building up the Band to competition standard, until he stood down in 1997. Pipe Major Ian Knight, a former piper with the Black Watch now leads the Band.
In 1993 the Band purchased new uniforms in the Black Stewart tartan which is the tartan currently worn at Band engagements around the county and beyond. The Band’s appearances are well known at events such as the Oxford Lord Mayor’s Parade, Didcot Remembrance Day Service and various fetes and carnivals.
In 1985 and 1995 the Band was privileged to represent Oxford in Bonn and in 1989 members were ambassadors for the City at the 3 October celebrations in Leiden. In the past few years the Band has visited both Holland and France, as part of the commemorations celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the ending of World War II; performances have also been given in Calais as part of the town’s cultural activities.