Greenock Burns Club at Custom House
Above: The Greenock Burns Club was instituted in 1801 and is the Mother Club
A Georgian architectural masterpiece in one of the most dramatic locations in Scotland has been restored to its former glory. Riverside Inverclyde, the organisation behind the economic regeneration of Inverclyde, has just unveiled the beautifully and sympathetically renovated Custom House in Greenock and plans to attract a further national or global player to be its headline tenant.
The imposing building, which looks out across the Firth of Clyde to the Argyllshire hills, will be 200 years old next year. It has seen the tides of history wash past the eponymous quayside which it dominates. The classically-proportioned building, designed by architect William Burn, was home to the vigilant assize men who policed Scotland's burgeoning trade with the world. It witnessed the rise and fall of the tobacco, sugar and shipbuilding industries in the town.
Community use has also been designed into the refurbishment, with the Greenock Burns Club having a facility at the Northern Entrance Vestibule for a fabulous exhibition of Robert Burns artefacts. It is fitting that the Custom House be the new home to the oldest Burns Club in the world. Robert Burns had strong links with Greenock through his lover Mary Campbell and through his career as an exciseman, which was the original use of the building.
The Greenock Burns Club which was instituted in 1801 is commonly known as "The Mother Club" as it was the first of its kind. Margaret Dickson, secretary and a past president of the Club, said:
"We are thrilled. We've had great fun working on it and the move into this new space at Custom House is really helping to keep the history alive. We look forward to welcoming visitors and telling the 216 year old story of the Greenock Burns Club."
Opening hours for the general public to visit the exhibition are on Saturdays from 12-2pm. Please note that this will be the only section of the building open to the general public apart from advertised Doors Open days in September 2017.
There will be other days when the exhibition is open and will be publicised via the Greenock Burns Club Website - http://greenockburnsclub.com/.
Above - The wonderful Robert Burns Interpretation Room at Custom House in Greenock