The origins of Dumfries Burns Club,the first local Burns club can be
traced to an entry in the Mausoleum Committee minute book for 11th.
January 1817 when arrangements were made "for the proposed dinner
in celebration of Burns’ birthday." A punchbowl was purchased in 1819
and the club was formally instituted on 17th January 1820.
First minute book of Dumfries Burns Club
Dumfries, however, did not have the first Burns Club. Greenock
enthusiasts founded the earliest on 21st July 1801 and had their
first supper on 29th. January 1802 which at that time was mistakenly
thought to be the anniversary of his birth.
Following close on their heels were clubs at Paisley, Kilmarnock and
Dunfermline. Throughout the century more and more clubs sprang up
either in Scotland or wherever Scots met.
"Better a Wee Bush than Nae Bield"
One of the earliest in England was the Bristol Caledonian Society
founded in 1820.
By 1885 there were so many Burns’ Clubs in existence that an
international Federation of clubs was instituted. Many of the clubs
are purely social in their function, but the Burns Federation has
attempted to encourage Scottish literature and a knowledge of Burns
with annual competitions in schools.