The Barred Bard

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The Fire

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Burns Monument Destroyed by fire

The Burns Monument, in the Kay Park Kilmarnock, was destroyed by fire in the early hours of 19th November 2004. The monument, has been regularly vandalised, despite the building having been fully restored as recently as the early 1990s.

Burns Monument, after Fire, Photograph: Nov 21 2004

see recent photos, after fire and stabilisation

Project to save Robert Burns' cottage and museum and turn them into a world-class tourist attraction has collapsed.

The Burns Monument is clearly not the only Burns related building under threat. A story appeared in Scotland on Sunday, on 19th December, 2004 with the headline Burns visitor centre plans gang aft agley. It told of the collapse of a prestigious £7m project to save Robert Burns' cottage and museum and turn them into a world-class tourist attraction. The article commented that this '.. will be a bitter blow for the Scottish Executive, which wants Burns' cottage to become an internationally acclaimed visitor attraction in the run-up to the 250th anniversary of the Bard's birth in 2009. The Executive feels the crisis is so serious it has asked the National Trust for Scotland to consider taking over the management of the park next year."

The fact that the Executive is taking a wider view of what the local authorities are viewing as local issues, bodes well for the Burns Monument.

read the full story

Politicians agree over cultural issues

Local and national politicians have cast aside party differences and are united in their determination to find a solution to the problem of the Burns Monument in Kilmarnock. "The loss of the Burns Monument is of national significance and we are determined to find a solution. We will work together." At the moment this story is only a figment of the writer's imagination. Party politics, based on national issues, is increasingly played out on local platforms and on issues that barely divide us. How local politicians of all parties deal with the issue of the Burns Monument will be a measure of their commitment to their local electorate.

The monument: a National problem and National opportunity

The monument is a National problem and a National opportunity. Had it been Anne Hathaway's cottage or some other Shakespearian relic that had burned down, it would have made the National News. Some weeks after the Burns monument fire, many leading cultural and political figures are still unaware what has happened. In the short-term, publicising the plight of the monument will inevitably bring some bad press. In this instance it will be a case of 'there is no such thing as bad publicity' and the greater prize will far outweigh the short-term pain.