On the 10th of August the long*talked of monument of Burns was unveiled at Kilmarnock in the Kay Park, which was thrown open to the publican- the same day. About 50,000 persons were present, and it is stated that such a demonstration has not been witnessed in Ayrshire since the Burns Festival in 1844, when the monument on the banks of the Doon was inaugurated. In spite of the running of special trains the pressure on the jail way was so great that it was -ultimately found necessary to refuse to issue tickets to any one save those who could prove that they were going to walk in the procession. Every hamlet in Ayrshire was represented, and thousands came not only from the counties of Renfrew, Lanark, and Dumfries, but even from Edinburgh and other parts of the east coast. The procession met in the Recreation grounds, road, and was of a most interesting and amusing character, the various trades being represented by working models, &c., of their crafts. One hundred and eleven carters, mounted on powerful Clydesdales, led the way, and forced a passage, for the procession through the denselycrowded streets, the horses being gaily decorated with ribbons and flowers. Music was provided by about 20 different bands. The park in which the monument stands is about 41 acres in extent, but only half of that area has been laid out in the meantime. The land was bought for £9OOO from the Duke of Portland,, the money being bequeathed for the purpose bv Mr. Alexander Kay, a native of Kilmarnock who made a fortune in Glasgow as an insurance broker, and died in 1866. The monument consists of a building 80 feet high, in the Scottish baronial style, containing a large room for a museum of Burns y s relics, and accommodation for the keeper. In an alcove is placed the statue of the poet, by Mr. W. G. Stevenson, of Edinburgh. It is cut from a block of Sicilian marble, and with its base is about 9 feet high: The poet is represented holding a note-book in which he is about to indite some verses, the book resting On a broken stump, at the foot of which a daisy nestles. In the head and costume., the well known portrait by Nasmyth has been closely followed. The ceremony of unveiling the statue was peformed by Colonel Alexander, M.P., whose speech was received with great enthusiasm, notwithstanding that not a twentieth part of the assemblage could hear it, and that the bands on the outskirts of the crowds kept bursting in with music at inopportune points. In the evening a public dinner was held in the George Hotel, Provost Sturrock occupying the chair, in the unavoidable absence of Colonel Alexander. The total amount of the subscriptions received for the monument is £2488, but about £250 is still required to defray all expenses in connection with the matter.
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Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 26, 25 November 1879
Burns’s Monument. Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 26, 25 November 1879
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