Show Navigation

Robert Burns


Robert Burns' house in Bank Street, Dumfries (detail)

Image Rights Holder:
Dumfries & Galloway Museums Service
:Future Museum
35mm colour transparency
Robert Burns
photograph, colour transparency
20th Century
Burns, Robert “The Complete Letters of Robert Burns”, Ed. James A Mackay. Ayr: Alloway Publishing Limited, 1987; Burns, Robert “The Letters of Robert Burns”, 2 vols., Ed. J de Lancey Ferguson and G Ross Roy. Oxford: Clarendon, 1985; Crawford, Robert “The Bard – Robert Burns, a Biography”. London: Jonathan Cape, 2009; Hogg, Patrick Scott “Robert Burns – The Patriot Bard”. Edinburgh: Mainstream, 2008; Lindsay, Maurice “Robert Burns – The Man, his Work, the Legend”. New York and London: Robert Hale and St Martin’s Press, 1979; Lindsay, Maurice “The Burns Encyclopaedia”, 3rd edition. London and New York: Robert Hale and St Martin’s Press, 1980; Lockwood, David “Celebrate the Legend – Discover Robert Burns in Dumfries and Galloway”. Dumfries: Dumfries and Galloway Council, 2009; Mackay, James A “Burns-Lore of Dumfries and Galloway”. Ayr: Alloway Publishing Limited, 1988; Mackay, James “Burnsiana”. Ayr: Alloway Publishing Limited, 1988; Mackay, James “A Biography of Robert Burns”. Edinburgh: Mainstream, 1992; McDowall, William “History of the Burgh of Dumfries, with Notices of Nithsdale, Annandale and the Western Border”, 4th edition. Dumfries: T C Farries and Company Limited, 1986; McIntyre, Ian “Dirt & Deity – A Life of Robert Burns”. London: HarperCollins, 1995; Smith, Graham “Robert Burns the Exciseman”. Ayr: Alloway Publishing, 1989

This photograph was part of the first group of images of locations associated with Robert Burns to be made specifically for website use. It was taken using a 'conventional' SLR camera (not digital) on 35mm colour transparency film. The film was then sent to a photolab for processing; on its return the frames to be used were selected and these were sent back to the photolab for digitisation. They were written to a Photo CD Portfolio II disk as .pcd files, which was then passed to the Scottish Cultural Resources Access Network for uploading to their website. In all the images moved through the postal system five times.  


This an image of  Robert Burns' house in Bank Street, Dumfries. By the end of 1791 Robert Burns' career in the Excise became established, he quit Ellisland Farm, selling off his farming stock by public roup, or auction, and moved with his family to this tenement flat in Bank Street, Dumfries overlooking the Whitesands and the River Nith. At that time Bank Street was also known as the Wee Vennel or the Stinking Vennel.


The street outside had an open sewer running down it from the market in the High Street to the river. Their small flat was on the second floor and had only two rooms and a bed closet, "the only place he has in which to seclude himself for study" according to Robert Chambers.


Below was the office of Burns' Excise superior and friend, John Syme. In February 1792 he was promoted to the Dumfries Port Division with an increase in salary to £70 a year. This also allowed him more free time and the days in Bank Street were a period of prolific song writing for him.