It was home to Robert Burns, as well as the location and inspiration of some of his most famous works – including Auld Lang Syne and Tam O’ Shanter.
Now, some of Scotland’s leading architects and heritage experts are gearing up to develop a masterplan for the only house ever built by the legendary bard.
A team of architects and heritage experts, including some who worked on the development of Edinburgh’s Old Town, have won the contract to revive Ellisland Farm and Museum, near Dumfries.
The project will explore how to grow audiences and deliver creative learning on the “romantic” site which was Burns’s first home with young wife Jean Armour.
The 170-a has been run as a heritage attraction since 1928.
The new plan aims to look at ways to restore the 1788 buildings, improve the area’s biodiversity and to develop better ways for people to access the site’s nature, including by bicycle, foot and public transport.
The £30,000 development was commissioned by the Robert Burns Ellisland Trust charity, which has run the site since 2020.
The works would be funded by The Architectural Heritage Fund/Historic Environment Scotland, South of Scotland Enterprise and The Holywood Trust.
Delfinity Limited won the contract to develop the site after a competitive tendering exercise.
The team includes Oliver Chapman Architects and HarrisonStevens Landscape Architects, who have worked on developing Edinburgh’s Old Town, and heritage expert Lyndsay Clark, whose experience includes projects with the V&A in Dundee and National Museums Scotland.
Joan McAlpine, business development manager of The Robert Burns Ellisland Trust, said: “We are so excited to work with such a talented team of experts.
“The home of Auld Lang Syne should be recognised around the world as a place to celebrate Burns, nature and Scottish culture.
“We want more people, especially young people, to be inspired by Ellisland the way Burns was inspired – and also to generate economic benefit and jobs for this part of south Scotland.
“We will of course reach out to the wider community to develop that vision.”
Hazel Allen, director of Delfinity and lead on the project, said: “The Delfinity team are thrilled to be working with the trust to develop a compelling masterplan for this unique site, so pivotal in the life of Burns.
“Delfinity have a strong track record in the creation of robust, sustainable business models in the third and private sectors and are excited by the breadth of opportunity that the Ellisland could offer.”
The trust said engagement with local community, cultural and youth organisations would be an essential part of working up the plan over the next six months before it was officially presented in March next year.
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