Robert Duncan Peel

Master Robert Duncan Peel

Robert Duncan Peel and John Bonner were the first of four Manchester boy sopranos to make records. Peel's record is one of the earliest to be featured in the series. Duncan Peel was born on May 14th 1914 and educated at Manchester Cathedral School. He entered the choir in 1921 aged seven-and-a-half. Duncan's record Angels ever bright & fair was recorded in the Cathedral with Mr. Wilson at the organ at the same session as John Bonner's first record With verdure clad on 21st September 1927, a few months after Ernest Lough's famous recording of Hear my prayer, made in the Temple Church, London. Columbia was not entirely satisfied with the quality of Peel's record and claimed the wax had not set correctly; it was, therefore, hoped to re-record it six months later. Unfortunately, Duncan's voice broke soon after so it was decided to issue the record as it stood, with an organ solo on the reverse. This was issued in 1928 some months after Bonner's first disc.

In 1933 he completed his organ studies at Durham Cathedral, being awarded the L.R.C.M., L.R.A.M., and L.L.C.M. Duncan then returned briefly to Manchester in 1934; but during that year he was appointed Vicar Choral at Armagh Cathedral. In 1950 he took the post of organist of Shankill Parish Church, Lurgan, where he remained for 49 years.

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