Club Outing, Thursday 20th June 2024

Our annual club outing took us to the West End- of Glasgow, where, after some free time over a coffee and cake in Byres Road, we had a guided tour of the University, principally the iconic Gilbert Scott building, once of Glasgow’s most prominent and iconic buildings, designed in the Gothic Revival style by renowned architect Sir George Gilbert Scott. We enjoyed a behind the scenes look at the Bute Hall, for a brief moment in between graduation ceremonies. The university was thronged with staff in academic dress, graduates and proud family members milling around the Quads. Passing Professors’ Square, we learned about the university chapel, completed in 1929, with its distinctive Lion and Unicorn staircase, dating to 1690, brought across from the original High Street campus.
Members enjoyed the view from the foot of the flagpole, looking across to the south of the city and beyond to the hills further east and west, after which we reassembled at the more modern Boyd Orr building, across the Avenue, for a talk by Professor Gerald Carruthers, Francis Hutcheson Chair of Scottish Literature at the University. This was a highlight of the day, for Gerry is a natural communicator, and took us on a fascinating exploration of recent research using textual analysis, handwriting and science to establish the authenticity- or otherwise- of Burns documents.
Following Gerry’s talk, we were back on the coach down to the Wellwood Burns Centre in Irvine, to be met by members of the Irvine Burns Club, who proudly showed us round the centre. Among the exhibits were precious manuscripts of the Kilmarnock Edition, comprising The Twa Dogs, Scotch Drink, The Author’s Earnest Cry and Prayer, The Holy Fair, The Address to the Deil, and The Cottar’s Saturday Night. We also enjoyed an AV presentation and a chance to inspect the many letters from distinguished honorary members, numbering politicians, sports and film personalities and other well known names from the world of entertainment.
We concluded our enjoyable day out with a convivial meal at the South Beach Hotel.

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