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Immortal Memory of Robert Burns (clip)

A tour of Burns' country illustrated with poems and songs

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A film that narrates the story of one man's pilgrimage to Burns Cottage in Alloway. The film features shots of people arriving by train, air and the paddle steamer "Talisman" before boarding a bus from Ayr Station to the cottage. Once at the cottage they are introduced to the curator Tom McMinn, "75 years young" and happy to flirt with a young Canadian visitor. We are then treated to a recital of Tam o'Shanter read by Douglas Robin.

Questions & Activities


  • Why do so many people make a pilgrimage to Burns birthplace?
  • What is 'rough cast'?
  • What is meant by Burns 'deep piercing eyes' and what does this symbolise?
  • How much of a stereotypical poet was Burns and how much did he perpetuate the poetic stereotype?


English / Graphic Communication: Storyboard one of Burns famous poems and discuss how to match the mood of the poems in the style of the pictures.

English: There many myths about Burns. Research who Burns really was, how he spoke, what he believed in, his contradictions, his ideas as opposed to his actions. The different types of songs and poems he collected and wrote. The different voices he wrote in. You may also want to discuss why he became an international poet, whether he was a good man, or whether he was an irresponsible philandering fool as some feminists have suggested.

History / English: Research, write about and debate or discuss how important the influences Culloden, the Dress Act and the Act of Proscription were on the work of Robert Burns and his desire to collect songs and poems of the Scotland that were already dying out in the 1780s.

Graphic Communication: The Discuss whether Burns portrait by Naismith a romanticisation. What evidence is there for this in the artistic technique? Discuss how a painter can bring out the best in the subject and their responsibilities in this respect.

History: Burns is one of the most revered Free Masons. Research who the Free Masons are, where they come from, who can join, what they do, what value system they hold to, and what influence they have wielded in the development of the modern world.

Clip Details

Record Id 007-000-002-145-C
Resource Rights Holder National Library of Scotland
Project Ref 0889
Date 1946
Genre Documentary
School Subject English, Graphic Communication, History
Who Jack House (script), James McKechnie (narrator), Robert Burns (poet), Stanley L. Russell (director), Thames and Clyde (production company), Tom McMinn (reader)
Where Alloway, Ayr, Glasgow, Prestwick
Event Leisure
Attributes Black and White, Sound
Clip Length 7:57
Film Length 22:10