Peter Hall

Peter Hall, folk singer and song collector, born London, June 28 1936; died Aberdeen, December 5, 1996

PETER Hall’s contribution to the folk song revival in Scotland was enormous. Although born in London and raised in Newcastle, when he moved to Aberdeen to study Medicine in the 1950s he became engrossed in the ballads and songs of the North-east.

National Service (one of his favourite observations was that he was only in the Army for three years but still managed to become a Field Marshall . . . of the long jump) interrupted his medical studies, and when he returned from the Army he became a science teacher and taught latterly at Harlaw Academy in Aberdeen.

At his first teaching post in Peterhead, pupils became used to their science teacher asking if any of their family knew any songs. Acting on these leads and others supplied by Hamish Henderson at the School of Scottish Studies and other word-of-mouth contacts, Hall spent much of his spare time and the school holidays travelling round Aberdeenshire, Banffshire, and Western Ireland with a small Phillips reel-to-reel recorder, logging some 600 songs.

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