CollectionGB 0231 University of Aberdeen, Special Collections
Ref NoMS 3689
TitleWilliam Grubb collection relating to scottish fiddle music and country dancing
Datec. 1890 - 1990s
Extent9 archive boxes and 1 outsized item: 3 linear metres
Administrative HistoryWilliam John Grubb was born in Cellardyke, Fife in 1907. He was educated at Anstruther and St. Andrews University where he studied Chemistry, graduating BSc and PhD. He returned to Anstruther upon retirement, remaining here until his death, aged 94, in January 2002.

His primary interest was in playing, arranging, and composing music for Scottish Country dancing. He had begun learning the violin as a boy, but soon switched to fiddle and in his youth and early working life was a member of the Stirling Caledonian Strathspey Society (joining in 1932). Whilst living in Manchester he played regularly at the dances of the Scottish Country Dance Society local branch (later Royal Scottish Country Dance Society), and upon returning to Scotland was involved with the setting up of the Fife Strathspey and Reel Society (formed in 1975), played in the Scottish Fiddle Orchestra, and in local groups, fetes, school events, etc. In his later days he carried on playing with groups of local friends, including Jimmy Shand.

Throughout his life he was a keen collector of tunes, and arranged music for many of the local music and dance groups with which he was involved. He built a strong reputation amongst his friends and peers - including Jimmy Shand and Robbie Shepherd - for his encyclopaedic knowledge and memory of these tunes, also advising Robbie Shepherd about the music included in many of his broadcasts (Take the Floor, etc.). He was particularly interested in discovering new tunes and variations, maintaining a written record with card index and cross-reference of all new tunes discovered, believed to number c 3000 in total (including manuscript and published sources).

For photographs of William Grubb, see Section 3. This biographical history was compiled using notes provided by his son David Grubb.
SourceDeposited by William Grubb's son, David Grubb, May 2002.
DescriptionWilliam Grubb manuscript collection: c. 1934 - c.1990s
William Grubb index cards of tunes: c.1930s - 1990s
Fife Strathspey and Reel Society and Stirling Caledonian Reel & Strathspey Society papers: c.1930s - 1990s
Published and printed sheet music (some annotated): 1890 - 1986
Audio collection containing a self recorded oral history with William Grubb and also performed music: c.1990s
Manuscript map 'Places mentioned in names of Scottish Dances and Dance Tunes': 1966
Access StatusOpen
Access ConditionsDigital material requires computer to view.
Finding AidsOriginal box listing (and previous reference in Alt Ref No field) provided by researcher Ronnie Gibson, Elphinstone Institute, September 2012.
Add to My Items