History of The Inverness Burns Club
The Formation of the Inverness Burns Club
“Hope Springs Exulting on Triumphant Wing.”
― Robert Burns (Cotter’s Saturday Night)
Bailie William Gray presided at a meeting held in the Cummings Hotel, Church Street, Inverness, on Tuesday 18th January 1949, “to consider that a Burns Club be formed in the Burgh of Inverness”. He had been encouraged to convene the meeting by the “personal approaches made to him by the many admirers of the poetry of Robert Burns and suggesting that a Club be formed. Bailie Gray then went on to outline the form which he suggested the proposed Club should take, emphasising that it should not be regarded as purely a social club but as one made up of people interested in the works of Robert Burns and in Scottish literature.”
In the course of the evening over 40 people were enrolled as members of the new Inverness Burns Club and the following were appointed as office-bearers: President - Bailie William Gray; Vice-Presidents – Robert Wallace (Inverness-shire County Clerk) and T. E. M. Landsborough (Assistant Director of Education); Secretary - Col. Alex Cullen (County Architect); Treasurer – Hugh Macardle (Principal of Royal Academy Evening Institute). A committee of eight was also elected “and it was left to them and the other officials to draw up the constitution of rules for the club. It is hoped to hold a Burns’ supper sometime in March. Any intending members should contact the secretary, Col. Cullen, at the castle.”
The new committee quickly got down to work and held its first meeting two days later on 20th January with further meetings planned for 4th, 18th and 29th February to consider a constitution and rules, enrolment of members, application for affiliation to the Burns Federation (No. 691) and arrangements (toast list and musical programme) for their first Anniversary Dinner on Friday 4th March in the Cummings Hotel. This was clearly a Committee which did not intend to let the grass to grow under its feet! Bailie Gray proposed the ‘Immortal Memory’ at the inaugural Anniversary Dinner with the haggis piped in by Norman MacRae and the Address given by the Rev. G. H. Gilchrist.
Thereafter, Inverness Burns Club’s Anniversary Dinners have taken place on the Friday closest to the Bard’s birthdate and the Anniversary Dinner in 1950 was held, appropriately, on 25th January when the “Immortal Memory” was proposed by Mr T. E. M. Landsborough.
(Extracts from the Minute Book of Inverness Burns Club 18th January 1949 to 16th November 1951.)
Past Presidents and Previous Immortal Memory Speakers
“Wha does the utmost that he can Will whyles do mair.”
From “To Doctor Blackjack" View the Detail
The Current Committee
“Dare to be honest and fear no labour.”
From Burns letter No. LXXXVIII to R. Graham Esq. Of Fintry dated 9th Dec, 1789
Constitution of the Inverness Burns Club
“And there begins a lang digression About the lords o' the creation.”
From “The Twa Dogs."