RT Burns Club

*Federation No. 2085*


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Are you a Robert Burns enthusiast or do you just need a drink to keepout the cold? Either way, here's a pub that's well worth the journey

Establishedin 1610, The Globe Inn, Dumfries has long been associated with RobertBurns, Scotland's national poet. In 1796, Burns wrote: "... the GlobeTavern here, which these many years has been my Howff ...", and in1819, the first of what was to become the annual tradition of BurnsSuppers was held here at The Globe Inn in Dumfries, south west Scotland.


Athis howff (or haunt) his favourite seat still survives, and some of hispoetry may still be seen inscribed by Robert Burns with a diamond onhis bedroom windows.


The Globe Inn is an important historic pub,steeped in the history of Robert Burns and Dumfries. Every corner ispacked with fascinating memorabilia making The Globe a central part ofany visit to Dumfries.


In addition to present day visitinginformation, this site features a virtual tour and history about TheGlobe Inn, Robert Burns and Dumfries, which in 1752 was described asthe 'Scottish Liverpool' with more American tobacco trade than Glasgow.


Thevirtual tour should bring comfort to those who are stuck in the officeor at home, apart from the spooky bit about the ghost of a maid whoappears every now and then to move things around ...!

O lovely Polly Stewart

O Charming Polly Stewart

There's not a flower that blooms in May

That's half so fair as thou art"

Etched on a bedroom window at the Globe by Robert Burns using a diamond ring. The inscription survives to this day


Isn'tit odd how literary genius and licensed premises oft, like freedom andwhisky, gang t'gither? The Old Boars Head (Ben Johnson) and The Mermaid(Shakespeare) spring to mind. In Dumfries, the Globe Inn, in the HighStreet will always be associated with Robert Burns. It is one of thecountry's oldest hostelries, established in 1610. Robert Burnsfrequented the Globe firstly from Ellisland Farm, whilst he wasbuilding the farmhouse, and subsequently when he moved into the town ofDumfries.


Dumfries in Burns' time was economically, andsocially, more significant than it is today; in 1752 it was describedas the 'Scottish Liverpool' with more American tobacco trade thanGlasgow. Its importance as a west coast port was emphasized by the factthat an estimated 21,000 people from all over Scotland, more than thetown's own population, emigrated through Dumfries in 1851 to the UnitedStates, Australia and New Zealand. Like any important centre, the townattracted its share of craftsmen, literary and social, and those whowere politically aware; the French Revolution was at hand andnationalism was in the air. The Globe at that time was a town centreInn of some stature and it is no wonder that the bard was drawn to it.


RobertChambers wrote the most vivid description of the poets life in Dumfriesat this time. In the morning he would go about his duties as anexciseman, stamping leather or guaging malt-vats. At lunchtime he wouldperhaps call at a house where he knew music would be played, where hemight hear an old air, to which to put his verse or walk along theriver Nith at Lincluden to compose part of a new song. If not invitedelsewhere Jean prepares his tea at six. The post arrives at eight inthe evening and groups gather in the street eager to hear the news, tobe discussed later in the alehouses. Burns retires to the Globe, to hisfavourite fireside chair to greet his friends and the debate of thenews leads on to other chat, 'Burns becomes brilliant and his friendsgive him the applause of their laughter', one jug succeeds another andBurns returns home to his house just a stone's throw away, to riseearly to hear little Robert's Latin lesson. The poets verses (the twowhich remain), inscribed by diamond pen on the bedroom window, seem tobring this image to life. What he regarded as his best love song waspenned to Anna Park, her of the 'gowden locks', who was the niece ofthe landlord at that time.


Physically the Globe has changedlittle, although in 1829 it was described as a 'commodious dwellinghouse and garden with extensive stabling'


This would hardly berecognized today, the building now surrounded on all sides by shops andthe stable now formed into a lounge bar. However, the old rooms arestill there, his chair is still intact, the fireplace thereby but aboveall, the Globe is still alive and far removed from some inert museum;people still congregate to chat and laugh as before. The world issmaller so that world events are received over satellite in our homesrather than outside the Globe at eight in the evening. The decline ofits sea trade and its bypass by rail then by road meant that,geographically, Dumfries and Galloway became a haven for touristsrather than tradesmen. The fruit machine has not quite replaced thehuman desire for contact with your fellow men, yes and lassies too.


TheGlobe Inn, has seemingly flourished under the watchful eye of the guidwoman, and regrettably little is known of the landlords, or landladies,prior to the arrival of Robert Burns in Dumfries, when the Inn rose toprominence. He first wrote from the Globe in October 1791, but hadvisited earlier, and in August 1795, in a letter to James Johnson,requested the printer and publisher to produce " a job which I beg willfinish pretty soon. It is a bill, as you will see, for a tavern. Thetavern keeper Hyslop is a good honest fellow and as I lie underparticular obligations to him I request that you may do it for him onthe most reasonable terms. The tavern is at the sign of the Globe ...".William 'Jock' Hyslop and his wife Meg were subsequently immortalizedin a grace after meat which Burns was said to have been asked tocompose by his dining companions giving thanks to the Hyslops, who hadgiven up their own dinner - a sheep's heid no less:


"O Lord since we have feasted thus,

Which we so little merit

Let Meg now take away the flesh

and Jock bring in the spirit"


inApril 1796 just three months before his untimely death, Burns wrote toGeorge Thomson, a letter which "will be delivered to you by Mrs.Hyslop, a landlady of the Globe Tavern here which for these many yearshas been my Howff (haunt) and where our friend Clarke and I have hadmany a merry squeeze." It is a most poignant letter; worth visiting the'snug' bar to read it in full. The Hyslops were as famous in having aniece, Anna Park, with whom Robert had an affair



"The Kirk and State may join, an tell

to do sic things I manna (such, must not)

the Kirk and State may gae to hell

and I'll gae to my Anna."


Thedaughter of the affair was brought up by Jean Armour, Anna having diedshortly after the birth; a marvellous tribute to Jean's lovingforebearance. It would have been during Mrs. Hyslop's time that theMausoleum Committee met in the Globe on the 25th January 1819,effectively the first Burns Supper, when steps were taken to arrange anannual celebration which led to the formation, in 1820, of the DumfriesBurns Club.


More is known of the sixty years tenure of Mrs. JaneSmith, one of the only three families to have run the Globe sinceBurns' time. It was Mrs. Smith who perhaps more than any other wasresponsible for preserving the Inn's association with the NationalBard. The Burns Howff Club, instituted in 1889, held Mrs. Smith ingreat affection addressing her as the 'Mother'. Indeed she and herniece, Mrs. Grierson, were the only women honorary members of the HowffClub, until 1996 when Maureen McKerrow was made an honorary memberduring the bi-centenary celebrations.


The McKerrow family haveowned the Globe since 1937, both Matthew and George becoming BurnsFederation Presidents. Many still remember Jack and "Ma Broon" who hada long association with the Globe. In those days, like many other pubsof the day the back room of the Globe was very much a male workingclass drinking den, devoid of creature comforts but complete with apiano, of sorts, and a set of drums with every encouragement to theclientele to provide their own entertainment. Ma would rule her fiefdomand put up with no nonsense. If someone, to whom she did not take to,opened the sliding door of the snug he was politely told - "Nae laddie,your place is next door".


The present landlady, MaureenMcKerrow, George's daughter-in-law, has seen, over the last 29 yearsmuch of the High Street demolished, and rebuilt, around the Globe. Thebuilding was after all originally open to the High Street, the horsesbeing stabled in what is now the lounge bar. Some things never changefor in 1945, Matthew McKerrow noted that a sum had been set aside topay for the re-roofing of the property when such work was possible(there was a lack of building materials at the time) and one imaginesthat the roof will need constant repair to this day. Some things dochange ... He also put down that "the property should not be sold to aforeigner"! Nowadays overseas visitors are especially welcome,hopefully to receive the same warmth of hospitality experienced by theBard.


Here is link:




January 1, 2010 at 11:57 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Posts: 79

400th INNiversary this year.


What plans for a party???????


Cheers, Geoff





January 1, 2010 at 5:14 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Posts: 13

A friend of mine in Dumfries has a B&B where every year he puts on a wonderful Burns Supper. He also does regular pub crawls to The Globe.



It's coming yet for a' that, That Man to Man, the world o'er, Shall brothers be for a' that.

January 2, 2010 at 10:45 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Posts: 118

I hope to be at the Globe this year...


Please support this amazing Petition:


I shall forever support The Legend That is Robert Burns and The Hero That is Sir William Wallace - SCOTLAND THE BRAVE!!  FREEDOM!!!

January 2, 2010 at 10:52 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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