Plans to develop home of Robert Burns being drawn up by architects and heritage experts

A new plan to develop Robert Burns’s first home is being pieced together by some of Scotland’s leading architects and heritage experts.

Ellisland Farm and Museum, near Dumfries, was the only home built by the Scottish poet and is where he lived with his wife Jean Armour.

The site is known for being the place where Burns wrote some of his most celebrated works, including Auld Lang Syne and Tam O’ Shanter.

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A team of architects and heritage experts, including some who worked on the development of Edinburgh’s Old Town, won the contract to revive the site, which has been run as a heritage attraction since 1928.

Ellisland Farm, where Burns built a house for his family after moving to the area in 1788. Picture: geograph.org/Rosser1954

The new plan aims to look at ways to restore the 1788 buildings, improve the area’s biodiversity and to develop better ways for people to access the site’s nature, including by bicycle, foot and public transport.

The £30,000 development was commissioned by the Robert Burns Ellisland Trust charity, which has run the site since 2020.

The trust said the plan would also look at boosting visitors to the site, create new learning opportunities for people who visited and improve income levels, as it received no regular public subsidy.

The works would be funded by The Architectural Heritage Fund/Historic Environment Scotland, South of Scotland Enterprise and The Holywood Trust.

Delfinity Limited won the contract to develop the site after a competitive tendering exercise.

The team includes Oliver Chapman Architects and HarrisonStevens Landscape Architects, who have worked on developing Edinburgh’s Old Town, and heritage expert Lyndsay Clark, whose experience includes projects with the V&A in Dundee and National Museums Scotland.

Joan McAlpine, of the trust, said: “We are so excited to work with such a talented team of experts.

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“The home of Auld Lang Syne should be recognised around the world as a place to celebrate Burns, nature and Scottish culture.

“We want more people, especially young people, to be inspired by Ellisland the way Burns was inspired – and also to generate economic benefit and jobs for this part of south Scotland.

“We will, of course, reach out to the wider community to develop that vision.”

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