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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'?
  • What other poets do you know who use the Scots language?


Storyboard one of Burns famous poems. Discuss how to show the mood of the poem using film shots, sound and colour.

Find out more about Robert Burns' life. What were his values and beliefs? Did his actions contradict his words? You may also want to discuss why he became an international poet, whether he was a 'good man', and how much his personal experiences were relevant to his poetry.

Research and discuss how important the following were on the work of Robert Burns and his desire to collect songs and poems of Scotland: Culloden, the Dress Act, the Act of Proscription.

Discuss whether Burns portrait by Naismith is a romanticisation. What evidence is there for this in the artistic technique?

Updated October 2022

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