The red sandstone memorial sits at the intersection of the roads heading towards Tarbolton and Kilmarnock. It was opened on May 7th 1898 by J.G.A. Baird MP. The funding for the memorial interestingly enough was not borne through a local Ayrshire appeal, but rather a worldwide effort. In fact such was the degree of fervent support for oor Rabbie Burns that they ended up with too much money. Scots with too much money - something doesn't sound right here! The memorial cost about 1500 pounds sterling and the fund gathered considerable more than that. This leads me to the next story, the Cottage Homes behind the monument.
To be honest when I visited the site in May 2005 I was not aware that the houses behind the memorial were very much a part of it's history. Subsequent to this I never took any pictures, and now I am kicking myself. I was too busy fending off wasps after jumping into the bushes to get the shot you see at the top of the page. TCP anyone?
The Cottage Homes were a direct result of the financial success of the memorial fund. The extra money left over after construction of the tower went towards building half a dozen houses. This was to further remind folk that the poet Robert Burns, despite his present day fame, was a very poor man. The cottages were originally offered for free to the elderly, infirm and the poor of the area.
I never counted the number of houses at the site in 2005, but another 10 units were built in 1911. This a generous donation from the estate of James Dick, a Glasgow businessman. More have been added since primarily through donations and this really is an indication of the love and respect folk have around the World for Ayrshire's own Robert Burns. So if you live in Ayrshire - don't take Rabbie for granted.