See all stories
23 Mar 2020

Thatching Burns Cottage

A man stands on a scaffold platform and leans onto a yellow thatched roof. He is carrying a big bundle of straw and he smooths down a freshly laid section. He is wearing a yellow high-vis jacket.
Thatcher Dave Brooks at work on the roof of Burns Cottage, Alloway
We’ve replaced the roof at Burns Cottage and are carrying our vital repairs to the building, so that it stands for many more centuries.
The kitchen of Burns Cottage, showing the fireplace with two large wooden chairs either side. A spinning wheel stands in front of a dresser with plates displayed. The flagstone floor is largely bare apart from a small rug in front of the hearth.
The kitchen where Burns was born

At the start of 2020, we began the process of mending the roof at Burns Cottage, the place in Alloway, Ayrshire, where Burns was born in 1759. The humble clay and thatch house was built by his father, William Burnes, in 1757 and is where Robert lived until the age of seven.

We’ve been undertaking extensive conservation work to tackle the impact of Scottish winters. Specialist teams have been replacing the traditional thatched roof and repairing the walls and chimney too.

“Thanks to the generous donations we’ve received, we’ve been able to bring specialists from all over the country to conserve the cottage.”
Caroline Smith, Operations Manager at Robert Burns Birthplace Museum

Caroline continues: ‘The cottage is being repaired so that it’s there for future generations to enjoy. The money raised has helped pay for the thatching, fix the chimney and walls, and limewash the cottage. Everything being done is in keeping with the original construction of the cottage and if Burns were to visit today, he’d be familiar with many of the methods and skills that are being used here.’

The National Trust for Scotland works every day to protect Scotland’s national and natural treasures. From coastlines to castles, art to architecture, wildlife to wilderness, we protect all of this for the Love of Scotland.

This work would not be possible without the support of our members and donors. Our charity needs that support now more than ever.

Support us today

Your donation to help us protect everything that makes Scotland special and unique is more important than ever.

Donate now
Thatching Burns Cottage video