National Burns Club

The National Burns Club Collection

A small collection of material relating to the National Burns Club.

About the National Burns Club

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A page from the minutes of the National Burns Club, 10 April 1842

According to research carried out by Glasgow’s Literary Bonds, this group had its own Club Rooms, which were located at 93 Douglas Street; later, it had its own library. The ‘Club Notes’ of the 1905 Annual Burns Chronicle and Club Directory proudly announced the opening of the newly-rented rooms to its members:

‘NATIONAL BURNS CLUB. The persistent efforts of Burns enthusiasts in Glasgow, aided by such well-known admirers of the poet as J. Jeffrey Hunger, Jas. Ballantyne, D. C. Wardrop, and others, to form a first-class institution as a permanent rallying place and centre, have been crowned with success. A large flat of commodious rooms were rented on the 11th November, 1904, and over twenty pounds expended on papering and painting.

Mr Joseph Martin, the honorary treasurer, was most indefatigable in adding to the list of membership, and when the lease was signed over a hundred members were on the roll and numerous additions promised.

The printed rules declare that the objects of the club are (1) the promotion of the study of Burns’s works, and Scottish literature generally; (2) the collecting of books, prints, and pamphlets connected therewith; and (3) social intercourse and recreation. Already a copy of the first edition of Currie’s Life of Burns has been gifted, and other donations of prints or books will be gladly received by the honorary secretary, D. C. Waldrop. 65 Oswald Street, Glasgow.’

(‘Club Notes’, in Annual Burns Chronicle and Club Directory, ed. by D. M’Naught, No. XIV (Kilmarnock: The Burns Federation, January 1905), p. 103).

This was a place where members — both town and country — paid entry money and then a yearly subscription. They could also own shares in the club. They could play billiards, buy magazines, use the telephone, buy liquor and tobacco, and generally hang out in the club rooms any day of the week except Sunday.

Mr D. C. Wardrop was one of the founders and first Secretary of the National Burns Club, Glasgow. He was also Secretary of the Sandyford Burns Club, in addition to being a member of Queen’s Park Burns Club.

About the collection

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Cover of Minute Book, National Burns Club, 1938

The collection consists of material dating from 1908-1942, including annual summaries, minute books, share ledgers, cash books, letter books and visitors’ books.

Finding aid

National Burns Club Collection listing (PDF, 107KB)

Further reading

Rooney, Paul Raphael and Gasperini, Anna (eds.) (2016) Media and print culture consumption in nineteenth-century Britain: the Victorian reading experience. London: Palgrave Macmillan. [Contains article by Weiss, Lauren. 'The manuscript magazines of the Wellpark Free Church Young Men's Literary Society'.

Glasgow's Literary Bonds - National Burns Club

Weiss, Lauren Jenifer. (2017) The literary clubs and societies of Glasgow during the long nineteenth century: a city’s history of reading through its communal reading practices and productions. Stirling: University of Stirling.

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