13/10/2015
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Twenty rare Burns books donated to the Solway Centre

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The owners of the Globe Inn in Dumfries, the pub which Robert Burns nicknamed his 'howff', have donated a set of twenty rare books to the Solway Centre. For more on Robert Burns, visit the dedicated section of our website.

Dumfries couple Gordon and Maureen McKerrow, who own the Globe Inn, officially handed over the books this weekend, to the University of Glasgow's Solway Centre for Environment and Culture. The McKerrow family’s passion for Burns dates back to Gordon’s great grandfather, a Southwick farmer who used to read Burns’s poetry to his young family. One of his sons, Matthew H McKerrow, bought The Globe Inn in 1937 when its then owner got into financial difficulties during the Depression.

He had already bought various items of Burns memorabilia from the pub’s owner to prevent them from being sold elsewhere. As a lawyer, he also had the foresight to leave a written note to ensure that The Globe would be kept in the McKerrow family’s ownership or that it should only be sold on to another Burns lover.

BURNS'S HOWFF

Burns referred to The Globe as his ‘howff’ – a place where he spent many a good time. He initially lived about six miles away at Ellisland Farm. The post would arrive by stagecoach in town in the afternoon and as this was around the time of the French Revolution, Burns was very interested in what was going on. He would go into town to get the latest news and at that time, the Globe was a central inn where people gathered and he would often stay overnight.

Dr Valentina Bold, Director of the Solway Centre for Environment and Culture and a Reader in Literature and Ethnology in the University’s School of Interdisciplinary Studies, talked about how the books will be used by an appreciative community of scholars: 'They will also be used by students on campus and potential postgraduates. They will also complement material we have already been given in the Urquhart Collection.

'I can’t help feeling that Burns would have been delighted to know that books from the pub he loved so well are being passed to students. The donation also sustains the connection between Burns, the pub and the Dumfries area.'

For more on the University of Glasgow's Solway Centre, visit the website.


(Globe Inn image copyright Colin Smith)

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