Robert Burns' favourite pub to be revived as visitor attraction

It was where  Robert Burns enjoyed late nights, the odd ‘pint of wine’ and ‘many a merry squeeze’ in the last years of his life

The Globe in Dumfries was Burns' favourite pub with new owners to revive the inn as a visitor attraction. PIC: TSPL/SWNS.

Now The Globe Inn, Dumfries, is to be revamped as a visitor attraction, as well as pub and restaurant, for those following in the footsteps of the bard in the south of Scotland.

David Thomson, owner of the Annandale Distillery in Annan, has bought over the early 17th Century inn and says he wants to preserve the past of Burn’s favourite howff which he frequented while farming at nearby Ellisland and then during his time as an excise man at the town port.

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With his job taking his away from his wife and growing young family at the farm, he spent prolonged spells staying at The Globe under the care of landlady Meg Hyslop.

New owner Dave Thomson and his wife Theresa Church are to preserve three Burns Rooms which the poet is known to have stayed in at the pub. PIC: Contributed.

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Three ‘Burns Rooms’ - a dining room, a bedroom and a kitchen - used by the poet during his stays are now being curated, preserved and opened to visitors to The Globe, who will pay a small fee to step into the bard’s old living quarters.

The money will be used to preserve the attraction.

The pub holds several items said to be linked to Burns, including his chair, table, razor, copies of letters, a punchbowl and the bed in which he is said to have slept.

Mr Thomson said: “There is a huge emotional connection between Burns and this place. It is a place that he liked to be.

“I think you can really feel his presence here. Close-by you have Burns House, where he latterly lived and the farm at Ellisland, but here you can be in a place where he really enjoyed spending his time.”

Burns gave up his poorly productive farm at Ellisland and moved into a townhouse, in what is now Burns Street, with Jean Armour and his young family in November 1791.

Just a five minute walk from the pub, The Globe remained his home from home.

A copy of a letter written by Burns to his publisher George Thomson in 1796, the last year of his life, hangs in the pub and notes his failing health as well as his fondness for the tavern.

“The Globe...for many years has been my howff and where our friend Clarke and I have had many a merry squeeze,” it said.

It was at The Globe that he found himself in the bosom of barmaid Anna Park, the 19-year-old niece of the landlady, with the affair inspiring one of his great love poems, The Gowden Locks of Anna, which has the opening line ‘Yestreen I had a pint o’ wine’.

Burns later fathered a daughter to Anna, who was from Edinburgh, with the baby then brought back to Dumfries and raised by the poet’s wife, Jean Armour, as her own.

Burns’ chair has long been an attraction at the pub, with the poet commandeering the seat to entertain his fellow

drinkers. It is said anyone who sits in it but can’t recite a Burns’ verse has to stand the bar a drink.

Mr Thomson, who is originally from Dumfries, said: “This is the chair where Burns sat in the 1790s. It is said he used to go an buy a newspaper of the stagecoach, come back to the pub and sit here and read out the stories to the customers.

He added: “I get a funny feeling around these things. I don’t even like sitting in his chair. It gives me the willies. We have his bed upstairs but to be honest, we haven’t let anyone sleep in it. To be honest, I think that might be disrespectful.”

At the Globe, Burns, using possibly a diamond, etched three verses of a poem into a pane of glass in his upstairs bedroom. The pane of glass was sold by the pub’s landlord in the 19th Century to raise some money. Later attempts to buy back the pane of glass failed, but a replica of the piece was made in 2011 and returned to the pub.

The pub was latterly owned by the McKerrow family. In the 1940s, it was purchased by M H McKerrow who was President of the Burns Federation and a life long Burns enthusiast. It remained in the same family until its recent sale.

The pub is due to open on September 4 with the Burns Rooms to be restored over the next month or so.