a narrow wynd typical of 18th Century Edinburgh lies the
Writers Museum. This building on Mary Stairs Close pays homage to the city's
most famous literary lights; notably Sir Walter Scott, Robert Louis
Stevenson and Robert Burns. In fact, the Writer's Museum is situated
just yards from the now demolished Baxter's Close tenement, where
Robert Burns lodged on arrival here in 1786.
Museum is split largely into three sections one for each of the
three principle writers and although Stevenson and Scott are native
sons' of Edinburgh, the building houses more than its fair share
of Burns memorabilia and manuscripts.
the first thing that catches the eye is a fabulous model statue
of Burns by the sculptor George Flaxman. It was presented to George
Thompson (songwriter and publisher) and by him, in turn, to the
poets son Col. William Burns. On a nearby wall hang three Burns
quotes and a Burns sketch by C M Hardie, RSA, made in preparation
for his work "Burns in Edinburgh."
claimed that Burns' associations with Edinburgh induced too much
work in English, made him far less original and way too self-conscious
and when you consider that the poet's homespun wisdom derived from
Alloway and Ayrshire it's hardly surprising.
enough, the museum doesn't just relate to Burns time in Edinburgh.
Several glass cabinets are displayed and each contains a treasure-trove
of Burns' memorabilia including a lock of Jean Armour's hair (Bonnie
Jean), a knife, fork and sugar tongs from Nanse Tinnock's Inn and
four elm chairs and several of Burns' snuff boxes.
his time in Edinburgh you'll find a Cordial glass believed to have
been used by the poet and a silver mounted snuff box given by Burns
to John Richmond (a close friend of his early years), bearing the
Frae the oak that bare the riggin and This frae the thron aboon
the well where Mungo's mither hanged hersel."
In a glass cabinet near a window sits a beautiful writing desk used
by Burns until his death in 1796 and in glass display case sits
a surprisingly well-kept copy of the London Herald from Wednesday
July 27th 1796, announcing his death.
the whole, there's an array of odd and interesting items on display
at the Writers Museum and it's not just Burns either, there's more
than enough to see concerning some of Scotlands other literary
favourites. And with free entry all year round the Writer's Museum
is well worth a visit.