A busy weekend for Burns’ birthplace

Burns Cottage at Alloway
Burns Cottage at Alloway

Over 3000 visitors were welcomed at Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway during a weekend celebration (January 26-27) of the birth of the national bard.

The Burns Supper drive thru served 450 helpings of haggis, neaps and tatties and Caroline Smith, National Trust for Scotland’s operations manager at the museum, said:“It was a fun weekend that followed on from the formal suppers of Burns Night. The volunteers and staff at the museum were delighted to see so many people of all ages coming to find out more about Burns. He was a man who was very fond of entertainment, and I think he would have approved and been amused by the sight of so many people coming together so joyfully.”

The weekend’s events took place against the backdrop of a major fundraising appeal organised by the Trust to enable vital conservation work to be carried out on the cottage where Robert Burns was born on January 25, 1759.

The appeal received a boost when Scots film star Jack Lowden, who has appeared in big budget productions like Dunkirk, Calibre and Mary Queen of Scots, tweeted his support: “Folks, Robert’s Burns’ hoose needs saving!! Please gee whit ye can & help preserve the legacy of wur maist loved son!!”

Caroline Smith added: “It was great to receive Jack’s support added to the many positive comments and contributions that have been made so far – we’re delighted to have already received generous donations, however we still need the public’s help to get to our target of £100,000.

“The vast majority of people have been very supportive and helpful but I know a few have questioned why we need to launch an appeal and whether we are properly taking care of the cottage.

“The fact is the National Trust for Scotland is a charity and conservation is such an expensive business that even all the membership fees and donations we receive, as generous as they are, are not enough.

“The investment that created the Robert Burns Museum in 2010 came from a number of sources including the Scottish Government and the Heritage Lottery Fund and covered the initial capital costs. The ongoing running costs and conservation are wholly funded by our charity.

“We’ve been investing a lot in the museum lately, including the soon to be completed restoration of the Burns Monument. In the case of Burns Cottage, we have carried out ongoing maintenance but have decided to prioritise restoration work to deal with the thatch and limewash due to more rapid than expected deterioration. This in turn is because the weather has been much more harsh and extreme than normal over the past two years.”